An early away goal was just what the doctor ordered for Inter, as the Italian club cruised from that point on defeating CSKA Moscow 1-0 (2-0 on aggregate) to advance to the Champions League semifinals.
Wesley Sneijder did the damage in the sixth minute, tunneling the wall on a free kick from about 25 yards out and skipping it past the keepers attempted foot save. Inter took the 1-0 lead and never looked back from that point on.
This away goal put Moscow in a near impossible situation, as they now needed to outscore a strong Inter side by three goals from that point on.
Inter was keen to comfortably, and rather routinely, play out the match with this clearly in their minds.
Jose Mourinho’s men were extremely organized in the defense, as all attacking efforts from CSKA Moscow were barely even threats. Moscow was forced to long-ranged efforts that would have taken a display of absolute brilliance to beat a top quality keeper like Julio Cesar.
The Nerazzurri did a spectacular job to slow down all Moscow attacks prior to reaching the Inter penalty area. The defense also did well to contain and intervene on the passing lanes, making it extremely difficult for the Russian club to string together passes up front.
Inter showed patience by inducing a counterattacking style to what was left of this quarterfinal matchup.
Inter kept their shape in the back behind a powerful complete team display.
Even the attackers did well to backtrack well into their own defensive end to frustrate their opponents.
As if the deficit itself wasn’t enough of an obstacle for Moscow to overcome, a 49th minute expulsion of Moscow midfielder Odiah ended any minor hopes for the few optimistic Moscow supporters that remained.
Inter put on a training display, as they were the far superior club in this quarterfinal fixture.
The mismatch didn’t provide much excitement, as the Moscow side refused to send out a wild attack when they were cornered. Instead, they sat back and died slowly.
It is a shame the Russian side were eliminated from the tournament in this fashion, but the fact that they reached the quarterfinal alone is a great positive for the club and Russian football in general.
Inter will face the defending Champions League winners in the semifinals when they meet up with Barcelona. This matchup will in no way resemble the stroll in the park Moscow was, and is sure to be filled with top class football with a place in the final at stake.