Inter have taken a first step in their quest to qualify for the Champions League Quarter Finals, as they beat Porto 1-0 at the Meazza.
The fact that the score was still 0-0 at halftime was mainly down to Porto’s Diogo Costa. Hakan Calhanoglu tried to surprise the Portuguese goalkeeper after combining with Federico Dimarco after a corner. He fired on goal from far away, but Costa was alert and pushed it away. Not much later, Andre Onana had to come into action. He blocked Marko Grujic’ shot from close by, while Galeno missed the rebound before an open goal.
Just before half-time, it seemed as if Alessandro Bastoni was going to put Inter ahead with a header off a Dimarco free-kick, but Costa made a ridiculous save to keep both teams level. What Costa did in the first half, Onana did after the break. First, he denied Mehdi Taremi in a one-on-one, and then he miraculously kept the ball out of his net after multiple Portuguese attempts.
Lautaro Martinez came close to scoring, but he just missed Romelu Lukaku’s cross. Otavio received a second yellow for a foul on Hakan Calhanoglu, making sure that Inter could push for the winner. Lukaku’s header hit the post, but he didn’t fail on the rebound and put Inter ahead after 86 minutes. It was a massive moment for the Belgian, who has been struggling in Milan and was called out on his weight by CEO Beppe Marotta before the match. Lukaku’s late goal gives the Nerazzurri a pretty good position for the return in Porto on the fourteenth of March.
Onana (8); Acerbi (6.5), Bastoni (7), Skriniar (6.5); Darmian (7), Barella (6), Calhanoglu (7.5), Mkhitaryan (5.5), Dimarco (6.5); Dzeko (5), Lautaro (5.5).
Substitutes: Lukaku (7), Gosens (6.5), Dumfries (-).
Jurre van Wanrooij | GIFN