Chelsea 0 – 1 Inter (Agg: 1 – 3)

by Neil Sherwin

Jose Mourinho enjoyed a succesful return to Stamford Bridge as his Inter Milan side got the better of Chelsea to seal a place in the Champions League quarter finals.

A late strike from Samuel Eto’o gave the Italian side a 1-0 win on the night to go through 3-1 on aggregate as Blues striker Didier Drogba saw red for lashing out at Thiago Motta.

The game was a scrappy affair throughout yet remained captivating viewing.

The home side created the better chances in an entertaining first half with Michael Ballack firing just wide, while Thiago Motta had to clear a Nicolas Anelka effort off the line.

Chelsea also felt they should have had a penalty when Walter Samuel wrestled Didier Drogba to the ground in the area, but referee Wolfgang Stark waved away the protests.

Mourinho had stated his intent by deploying a very attacking side, including a front three of Eto’o, Diego Milito and Goran Pandev, and they finally got going in the second half.

Twice Chelsea full back Yuri Zhirkov made excellent covering tackles to deny both Eto’o and Pandev, while Motta headed over having been left unmarked from a corner.

Milito wasted a golden opportunity to put his team ahead when he dragged a left foot shot wide having been played through by Wesley Sneijder.

As the game entered its final stages, Inter finally made the breakthrough when a ball over the top from the excellent Sneijder was controlled by Eto’o and he finished low to Turnbull’s right.

The Inter fans behind the goal celebrated in jubilant fashion, though Mourinho was more reserved in his reaction.

With little or no hope of getting back into the tie, frustration began to sink in for the hosts with yellow cards for Alex and John Terry and a red for Didier Drogba.

The Ivorian tangled with Thiago Motta in the area before appearing to stamp on the Brazilian and his Champions League campaign ended shamefully for the second year running.

“We were the best team by far,” said Mourinho afterwards.

“Chelsea is a great team, we know that and my team came here knowing very well how they play. We knew if we did not control the game by having the ball we would have no chance.

“We had the ball and we created the best chances and we should have scored before the goal. When we did score, Chelsea were completely out of the game. I thought everything was superior, not just our tactics but our attitude on the pitch.”

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