Bayern Munich 2-3 Inter, 3-3 Agg. The comeback kings do it again to secure quarter final place
Inter are through to the Champions league quarter finals on away goals after a 3-3 Agg win against Bayern Munich. All I can say about this match that ended 2-3 on the night, is what a game!!! Eto’o opened the scoring for Inter but by half time we were 2-1 down and it was looking like our title defense was in tatters, but Inter being Inter they picked themselves up and came out fighting, Sneijder scoring a low long range effort the Pandev secured the win with a late goal assisted by Eto’o. Inter thus qualify for the quarter-finals after completing a European comeback for the first time since 1993 – an impossible comeback, they said. But with Inter anything is possible.With this win we are one step closer to repeating the back to back European titles of the 60’s and maybe even an unprecidented back to back treble!
FIRST HALF –
Both sides took to the field with a black armband as a sign of respect towards the earthquake victims in Japan, and a huge banner was displayed (“We’re with you Japan”) during the minute’s silence at the beginning of the game.
Bayern’s response came in the form of a Ribery cross finding Gomez yards from goal on 10 minutes, but Ranocchia slid in to make the crucial block just as Gomez pulled the trigger. Inter were still blazing and launching attacks through Eto’o and Sneijder, as in the first leg, a mistake by Julio Cesar brought the Nerazzurri crashing back down to earth: Robben’s long-range blast was fumbled by the Inter keeper and up popped Mario Gomez – again! – to score by lobbing Julio Cesar with his back to goal and make it 1-1. The goal sparked Van Gaal’s side into life and just ten minutes later they had turned the score around: Robben played in a pass looking for Gomez, Thiago Motta got a touch on the ball on the edge of the box but it slipped away from him allowing Muller to run onto it and deftly chip over Julio Cesar: 2-1. In the 35th minute, Julio Cesar came to Inter’s rescue with a superb save from Ribery, pushing the ball just over the bar. On 39 minutes, following Thiago Motta’s freekick, Stankovic was presented with a great chance to equalise but he delayed a fraction too long and Kraft was onto it. A minute later and a quite miraculous goal-line clearance by Ranocchia kept Inter in the game: Ribery’s ball into the box was for Gomez, who slid in and beat Julio Cesar, but the ball bounced along the line for what seemed like an eternity before Ranocchia hacked clear – via Muller’s foot and then the post – into Julio Cesar’s hands. To an almighty sigh of relief from all Inter fans. They were holding their breaths again minutes later when Lucio got himself into a fix trying to clear under pressure from two opponents but the danger was eventually cleared and after one minute of stoppage time the two sides went in for the break.
Then, with more decisiveness, the “Lion King” fed Sneijder, whose magnificent right-footed shot beat Kraft to bring the score to 2-2. Hopes were further reignited when Pandev nearly put Inter ahead in the 67th minute as he chest-trapped Sneijder’s long pass, but the ensuing shot on the turn sailed just over the crossbar. Sneijder came close on 80 minutes after a pass from Eto’o, but his powerful right-footer from outside the box was saved.
Hope never died and in the 88th minute Pandev sent the Nerazzurri fans around the world into rapture by connecting with a pass from Eto’o and blasting the ball into the top corner with a left-footed strike. The Macedonian triggered a Nerazzurri explosion of joy inside the Allianz Arena with his goal that sent Inter to the quarter-finals and closed the game with a 2-3 score line. Only once in the history of the Champions League had a team overcome a first-leg loss at home.
“Explaining this match tonight is going to be very difficult,” continued the Nerazzurri coach. “We won and it was a victory with all of our hearts. A very well-organized match: we found the back of the net after three minutes, but various incidents led to a lot of problems in which everything went Bayern’s way. We lost our equilibrium, we tried to take control of the game again, then we let in another goal. We settled down and then, as I said, it was all heart. And Pandev, what can I say? I’m thrilled for him because he’s been going through a difficult period.”
“It was a strange game. It had moments that were completely different from one to the next, first manageable, then dangerous. In the second half we controlled the game well once again and then, when the team felt sure of themselves again, they sealed the win. Julio Cesar? When a goalkeeper makes an error like that it’s an accident. You can’t ever judge him because he then goes on to make incredible saves, just as he did tonight. Pandev wasn’t in the game tonight, but the god of football is strange… Good for him, though, because otherwise it would have been a disaster [smiling]. The team has personality, character and is very united; even when things go wrong this team knows how to turn it around. In the quarters we’ll get Barcelona – again [smiling]. Does Leonardo deserve a ten for this game? I think so, also because during the game it was truly tough from a psychological standpoint and he was fantastic.”
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Julio Cesar analysed the game and his mistake on Bayern’s first goal: “That was a terrible moment. When I let that in I just wanted to disappear immediately, go back to Milan – on foot, on horseback, whatever – but then I pulled myself together. The goal was like a cold shower, but thanks to my team-mates we got back into it. I really must congratulate them. Still, you learn from your mistakes. I messed up tonight, more than in the first leg for sure, but fortunately we’re here now talking about our victory. Afterwards I rolled my sleeves up and got on with it. Which save was the most difficult? Maybe the one from Ribery. What did I do when Pandev scored? I started to cry, I thanked God and my team-mates. I would have been in a really bad way if we’d lost, but these are things that help you become more mature. Let’s hope that’s the end of the mistakes now.”
“We knew that it would be a tough match, but we believed it was possible and we did it. We believe in our game because we have strength and determination inside us. The teams in the quarter-finals? All of the teams that make it there are strong. Now we’re thinking of the Serie A. And I’ll say one thing: Italians should be happy tonight, because an Italian team in the quarter-finals is important for Italian football as a whole.”
Tonight’s game against Bayern Munich also included a protagonist’s role for Cristian Chivu, who gave his comments to Inter Channel on the victory that won the team a place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League: “It was a good game, we suffered a bit, but we played as Inter should. We were aware of what we were going to face and how we could do it. We did it in the best possible way and now we can be happy and celebrate because this was the only thing we wanted.”
“It turned out all right in the end and I’m happy I was able to save that goal. I felt some incredible emotions out there tonight: to come here and turn the tie around, especially after going behind on the night as well, wasn’t easy. But we put a lot of heart into it and managed to pull it off. If we keep working like this, we have a great chance of doing well, in every competition.”