After 13 years Inter get a win in UEFA Champions League knock out phase at San Siro: Inter 1- Porto 0. Yes, the last time Inter won at home in this part of the tournament was against Barcelona on that magical semifinal leg when we beat the blaugrana 3-1.
Porto prove to be a challenge
Porto showed yesterday why they are unbeaten since october 2022, with 13 wins and 2 draws in all competitions. At the first half, they were very compact in defense and press very high at the midfield letting little space for Inter to attack and find good chances to score. However, Inter did have three clear cut opportunities to score: a Lautaro header miss and two amazing saves by Diogo Costa, a Hakan shot to the angle and a header by Bastoni in the last minute of the first 45.
Porto also had some chances on the counter like Taremi’s wide shot at minute 26. Another very good one at the 36th with a Taremi back heel pass to Grujic and the first great save by Onana. There would be more.
Inzaghi subs changed the game for Inter
The second half started very similar to the first one but with Porto being even more agressive at the pressure. At the 54th minute after a great counter Onana once again saved Inter from a Taremi shot. Two minutes later another counter ended in a Skriniar block and two consecutives wonder goaline stops by the Cameroonian goalkeeper. At this point there was the sensation that Porto was closer to win it than Inter.
However, at minute 58th Inzaghi made two crucial changes: Lukaku and Gosens for Dzeko and Dimarco. Dzeko had his worst performance in an UCL night since his arrival at Inter and Dimarco looked very tired and he couldn’t defend anymore against Porto right winger Joao Mario. Also at the 71st minute, Inzaghi put Brozovic for Mkhitaryan who struggled to keep up with the intensity of the match.
These three subs absolutely changed the game dynamics. Inter took control of the ball and started to look more dangerous going forward.
Lukaku is back!
At minute 68, after a long pass to Lukaku, the Belgian contains the ball and allows Barella to shoot but it went wide. Three minutes later, a very good team play with Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu and Lukaku put the ball half a meter from Lautaro’s boot to score but he couldn’t reach it.
Then at minute 78 after a very bad foul against Hakan, Otávio gets the second yellow card and was sent off (he earned the first yellow after a altercation with Dimarco in the first half for not respecting the fairplay).
After this, it was a matter of time. Finally Lukaku at the 86th minute received a volley from Barella and hit the post with a header. The ball bounced back to him and then he put it to the back of the net. A hard-fought but well deserved win after all!
Players ratings and MOTM
Skriniar: 6.5, Acerbi: 7, Bastoni: 7
Darmian: 7, Barella: 6.5, Hakan: 8*, Mkhitaryan: 5.5, Dimarco: 6
Dzeko: 5, Lautaro: 6
Team performance: 7
Hakan was named Man of the Match by the UEFA. However we think that both Calha and Onana are worthy of the price.
Where to Next?
In Serie A we have three consecutive winnable, but not necessarily easy, games against Bologna (A), Lecce (H) and Spezia (A). After that we face Porto again at the Do Dragao for the second leg on March 14th. It won’t be easy to get through but we should and we can get at least a draw.
Predictions: Bologna 1 – Inter 2
Porto 1 – Inter 1
As always Forza Inter!