Porto 0-0 Inter (agg: 0-1): Nerazzurri hold firm to reach Champions League last eight
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Inter, inspired by some André Onana heroics, reached their first UEFA Champions League quarter-final since 2011 thanks to a determined defensive showing against Porto.
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Inter clinched a UEFA Champions League quarter-final spot for the first time in 12 years after a resolute showing to draw 0-0 in the second leg of their round of 16 tie against Porto.
3': Onana tips Uribe strike wide
90+5': Marcano shot cleared off line
90+5': Onana pushes Taremi effort onto post
90+5': Grujić header hits crossbar
90+7': Pepê dismissed for second yellow
Match in brief: Onana helps Inter into last eight
Porto, without the suspended Otávio and missing inspirational skipper Pepe through injury, started with great intensity and almost took a spectacular lead with barely two minutes gone via Matheus Uribe's swerving, long-range effort, which André Onana somehow tipped around the post.
The Inter goalkeeper was then pressed into action again, diving to his right to hold Stephen Eustaquio's low effort.
Inter were happy to protect their slender first-leg advantage and play on the counter, which almost paid dividends midway through the first half but Diogo Costa was equal to Edin Džeko's fierce strike.
Mehdi Taremi, Porto's leading scorer this season, rarely found room before the break due to some stout defending by Simone Inzaghi's side. When he did create some space, cutting into the box from the left flank, he hit a powerful, right-footed curling strike wide.
The hosts were mostly restricted to shots from distance and Uribe went close shortly after the restart, but his dipping volley was too high. Sérgio Conceição's men were rarely afforded time in the Inter box and when Marko Grujić looked to capitalise on some rare space, his attempt to find the far corner was held by Onana.
Clear-cut opportunities for the Nerazzurri were rare as Porto threw everything at their opponents in the hope of forcing extra time. Deep into added time, stand-in captain Iván Marcano had an effort cleared off the line by Denzel Dumfries before Onana pushed Taremi's header onto the post and Grujić struck the crossbar.
With Porto hopes fading fast, Pepê was dismissed for a second bookable offence shortly before the final whistle brought Inter relief.
PlayStation® Player of the Match: Hakan Çalhanoğlu (Inter)
"He was a stable presence in a defensive display by Inter. He remained disciplined in midfield, a calm figure who put in a reliable passing display and came up with timely interceptions."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Nuno Tavares, Porto reporter
Football can be cruel at times. Porto were the better team for the most part of the tie but they go out after failing to convert their chances, just as in the first leg. Otávio's absence was always going to have a huge impact on the hosts and Pepe's inspirational leadership was also missed, but the Portuguese champions can still feel proud of their efforts. Conceição has done wonders with this team.
Paolo Menicucci, Inter reporter
Inter reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2011 after an extremely tight tie against Porto. The Nerazzurri failed to create many chances in the 180 minutes but were rewarded for two consecutive clean sheets against the dangerous Portuguese side, who were denied by a solid collective defensive performance and some great Onana saves. Inzaghi knows that his team must improve, especially in attack, but can certainly be satisfied by his players' commitment, especially in the most difficult and tense moments of the game.
Marko Grujic, Porto midfielder: "It was very difficult and I am very disappointed. In the second half we were better, had more possession and more opportunities. I still can't believe the ball didn't go in. The fans were amazing and it was good to see that they understood that we gave everything. We really wanted to win the game. The atmosphere in the stadium was spectacular and now we are very disappointed."
Sérgio Conceição, Porto coach: "We were very competent and superior in both matches, but we didn't do the most important thing: score goals. The players should be congratulated, they played an excellent game and Inter were only superior for ten minutes across the tie."
Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Inter midfielder and Player of the Match to Sky Italia: "There are so many emotions right now; after so many years we are proud of this achievement. We made some mistakes but we did a great job, it was very difficult but I congratulate the team for their great effort."
André Onana, Inter goalkeeper, talking to Inter TV: "We worked very well as a team and we held on in the final minutes against a good side. We knew it would be difficult, but we did what I hoped we could do and qualified. They have a strong team, but we were better."
Simone Inzaghi, Inter coach: "We played an excellent game, the group was compact and played a great match. We had an excellent first half and in the last part of the match we all suffered together. I want to pay tribute to this group."
Peter Crouch, BT Sport
"Tonight I thought Inter were fantastic, Onana was in inspirational form. They put their bodies on the line and defended really well."
- Porto have now gone out in seven of their last eight two-legged ties in this competition when losing the first match.
- Inter have kept five clean sheets in their last seven UEFA Champions League matches.
- The Nerazzurri are on their best run without conceding in UEFA Champions League knockout stage games (three) since their victorious 2009/10 campaign.
- Both Milan sides have made it into the last eight of the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2006.
Fantasy star performers
Iván Marcano – 8
Hakan Çalhanoğlu – 8
Fábio Cardoso – 8
Porto: Diogo Costa; Pepê, Fábio Cardoso, Marcano, Zaidu (Wendell 85); Eustáquio (André Franco 70), Uribe (Namaso 85), Grujić, Galeno; Evanilson (Toni Martínez 70), Taremi
Inter: Onana; Darmian (Škriniar 80), Acerbi, Bastoni (De Vrij 74); Dumfries, Barella (Brozović 80), Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco (D'Ambrosio 70); Martínez, Džeko (Lukaku 70)