Mission accomplished for Inter as they move on in the Uefa Champions league with a superb 3-1 win over F.C. Porto. Much has been said about Adriano and his lack of form and run of bad performances, but tonight he silenced the critics as "THE EMPEROR" scored a hatrick to give Inter passage to the next round.
Mancini decides to play a new look defence with both Favalli and Cordoba supsended for the match. It was a talking point before the game but with Burdisso out for family reasons il Mancio had no choice but to play Mijhalovic and Materazzi in the center. Ze Maria comes in on the right side with J. Zanetti taking the left.
Mancini goes with his normal formation for the midfield bringing on Cambiasso and C. Zanetti in the center with Veron and Stankovic wide but up front Cruz is confirmed along side Adriano as both Vieri and Martins were not at 100%.
It took only 6 minutes to take the lead in the match as Adriano beats Jorge Costa on the run and sends a hard left footer towards goal. Pedro Emanuel gets back in time but all he could do was deflect the shot as it went past the goalkeeper to make it 1-0 Inter!
The early goal had the desired effect and settled Inter down into the match. They played a controlled game with good pressing. Inter left much of the possesion to Porto in the first half and was more concerned with not getting caught out rather than going for the second. Porto is not the same team as last year and without players like Deco they were all too predictable to trouble Inter in the first half.
The second half starts with a bit more spunk from Porto as they tried to get back into the match. Quaresma comes in for Claudio up front but again were not able to create much. Inter looked to keep possesion and attack on the counter when given the chance. Adriano sees a great shot saved by Vitor Baia but at the 63rd minute take a two goal lead as Adriano takes a through ball from Cruz and scores an amazing goal as he shoots with the outside of his left foot to put the ball past the keeper and make it 2-0.
Porto have nothing to lose at this point and decide to change formation with 3 strikers up front as Postiga comes in for Ricardo Costa. The move pays off in minutes as Jorge Costa finds a goal from a corner kick that ends in a scramble infront of Toldo and converted to make it 2-1.
Its classic Inter, one that after controlling the game and going ahead now are shocked and have there backs against the wall with the knowledge that in one more goal could put them out of the Champions League. No team like Inter to complicate things :-)
Mancini decides after the goal not to give the run of play to Porto as it was too risky and any bad bounce could lead to a goal. Instead of defending, Mancini decides to put Porto on the back foot and brings on Martins for Cruz. With his pace up front Porto would surely not push all men forward knowing that Martins would run onto any ball into space.
The move works and Inter do not settle and go foward to put the game out of reach. J. Zanetti almost gave Inter the third goal as he goes onto a trademark run and beats defenders along the way. With Martins free in the box, Zanetti decides to continue on but ends up to angled as he avoids the keeper. Zanetti goes for goal but this time Emanuel cleared the ball off the line to keep the game tight. Martins was wide open and a pass from the captain might have been the better option.
Still it was Adriano's night and the Emperor puts all at ease as he scores his 3rd goal with only 3 minutes left to play. Adriano takes a pass from Veron, dribbles a defender in the box and shoots to the far corner to make it 3-1 and put it INter through to the next round.