Inter Milan 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Juan and co unable to prevent away goal defeat
Inter Milan were knocked out of the Europa League despite a 4-1 win at the San Siro as Tottenham Hotspur grabbed a vital away goal in extra-time.
The Nerazzurri faced an enormous challenge to overturn a 3-0 deficit this evening, following Spurs’ dominant win at White Hart Lane last Thursday.
Brazilian duo Juan Jesus and Jonathan lined up at centre-back and right-back respectively for the hosts, who went ahead in the 20th-minute.
Inter quickly broke down the right and Jonathan fed the ball to Rodrigo Palacio, whose pinpoint cross picked out an unmarked Antonio Cassano to head home at the far post.
Cassano almost returned the favour minutes later when he picked out Palacio running in behind the visitors’ defence, however, the striker’s looping volley hit the top of the bar and went over.
Emmanuel Adebayor had a great chance to kill the tie off with a goal for Spurs just before half-time, after Juan got himself in a tangle, but his dinked shot went over goalkeeper Handanovic and the crossbar.
Inter were the happier side at the break, having kept Spurs on the back-foot throughout the first-half, and their dominance paid off with a second goal just five minutes after the restart.
Cambiasso slipped the ball through to Palacio, who once again beat the offside trap to run clear on goal, and the Italian calmly slotted the ball past Brad Friedel.
The incredible comeback was complete with 15 minutes remaining when Cassano's free-kick took a deflection off Dembele in the wall and then another off William Gallas before reaching the corner of the net.
Spurs attempted to hit back through Dembele, Lewis Holtby and Adebayor, but Inter’s centre-pairing of Juan and Chivu held strong, while Aaron Lennon caused problems for veteran Javier Zanetti.
Cambiasso had a glorious opportunity to score the winner in injury-time, after Gallas’ sliding clearance went wrong, but the defensive midfielder dragged his shot inches wide of the far post.
The game went to extra-time and surprisingly it was the visitors who dominated proceedings, as Jan Vertonghen forced a good save from the Inter ‘keeper and Gallas missed a sitter following a corner.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side finally regained the lead on aggregate with an all-important away goal in the 96th-minute.
Handanovic could only parry Dembele’s powerful strike, which allowed Adebayor to slide the ball into an empty net and make it 3-1 on the night.
With Inter now needing another two goals to win, Brazilian right-back Jonathan was replaced by Ranocchia.
The substitute defender narrowly missed a cross in front of goal, which instead allowed Ricky Alvarez to score at the back post with ten minutes left.
Seleção international Juan received a yellow card for a foul on Adebayor as he desperately tried to win the ball back and get it forward.
The Nerazzurri threw everything they had at Tottenham in the final few minutes of action, but the visitors managed to hang on to reach the quarter-finals, despite a gruelling 4-1 defeat on the night.