Inter ease past Fenerbahce
Internazionale sealed their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with a convincing 3-0 win over Fenerbache.
By Kate Burlaga
Last Updated: 27/11/07 10:05pm
Internazionale sealed their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with a convincing 3-0 win over Fenerbache at the San Siro.
Two goals within 11 minutes effectively wrapped up qualification for the Italian champions, who now top Group G on 12 points, before Luis Jiminez added an injury-time third.
After a nervy first half display by both teams, Inter took the lead on 56 minutes, when Esteban Cambiasso's cross met the chest of in-form striker Julio Cruz and ricocheted into the net.
A point would have been enough for the Nerazzurri, who always looked like they could step up a gear, but they extended their lead through Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Swede, making his 50th Champions League appearance, showed a deft touch to escape the attention of former Inter defender Roberto Carlos, before lifting the ball above a stranded Volkan Demirel.
And Chilean Jiminez struck two minutes into injury-time to compound the Turks' agony and send Inter into the knockout stages.
It had been a stuttering start in Milan, with both teams lacking in composure and guilty of a string of misplaced passes.
Maicon was the architect of most of Inter's early attacking moves, but his side's reluctance to close down their opponents encouraged the Turkish champions, who were inspired by a series of surging runs from Gokhan.
Ibrahimovic almost broke the deadlock for the hesitant home side, when Maxwell's cross fizzed past the Fener goal, but Roberto Carlos made the crucial block.
Fener grew in confidence as the home fans grew increasingly restless. Cesar was forced to make an acrobatic save from visiting striker Semih, but referee Konrad Plautz ruled offside.
All eyes were on Plautz when Chivu led the home side's appeal for a penalty, but it was a hopeful one by the frustrated Romanian, who appeared to overrun the ball.
Volkan might have hoped for a change of luck when he changed his gloves, and the visitors started brightly after the break, with Deivid, who had been largely anonymous in the first period, drilling his shot wide.
But it was Inter who took the lead, just ten minutes into the second half, after good work from Cambiasso.
The Argentine's low cross was met by Cruz, who forced himself in front of the defender, and saw the ball ricochet off his chest past Volkan.
In an attempt to fuel his team's creative engine, Fenerbahce coach Arthur Zico sent on Ghanaian international Stephan Appiah in place of Mehmet Aurelio. But seconds later, the Canaries' chief was forced to make his second substitution, when former Sheffield United player Colin Kazim-Richard replaced the injured Semih.
Semih's departure changed the whole complexion of the game, and Inter struck swiftly to exploit the disarray in their opponents' camp. Ibrahimovic showed a deft touch to get away from Roberto Carlos, before lifting his shot above a helpless Volkan.
The goals proved a killer blow for Fenerbache, who struggled to recover any momentum, and were unable to keep hold of the ball.
Kazim-Richards had a weak effort saved by Cesar, but the fate of the away side, previously unbeaten in their last nine European games, was finally sealed in stoppage time.
Neat interplay set Jiminez, who had replaced Maxwell, free on the left, and the Chilean fired a low shot past Volkan to send Robert Mancini's men into the next round with a game to spare.
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||3|
|8||Shots off Target||7|