Nerazzurri is in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in 12 years

Inter reached their first Champions League quarter-finals in over a decade after beating Porto 1-0 on aggregate.

Simone Inzaghi’s side, who won the first leg 1-0 at San Siro three weeks ago, progressed to a hard-fought goalless draw at the Estadio do Dragao.

The Nerazzurri then secured their first place in the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition since the 2010/11 season.

Despite a barrage of late chances, Porto – who sent off Pepe in stoppage time for a second yellow card – failed to convert them into the goals they needed to reach their third quarter-finals in five years.

After trailing 1-0 in the first leg, Porto almost equalized in a spectacular three-minute strike, Andre Onana cutting his way across and throwing away Mateus Uribe’s 30-metre shot.

At the other end, Diogo Costa showed an intelligent reflex to slow down Edin Dzeko after a quick Inter counterattack.

Towards the end of the half Porto increased the pressure. Federico Dimarco’s well-timed final attack denied Evanilson a clear view of the goal, while Stephen Eustaquio was inches away from finding Pepe’s inviting cross.

Uribe and Barella went wide with long-range shots early in the second half, leaving few clear chances at either end.

Porto, who had won each of their previous four home games against Italian opponents, controlled possession as they desperately tried to level the tie.

The hosts made a last-minute start in added time and Denzel Dumfries blocked Ivan Marcano’s shot on the line, while Mehdi Taremi and Grujic both hit the woodwork before Pepe was sent off while a remarkably stubborn Inter held on.

What does that mean? Defensive exploits bring Inter through

Despite only having 32 percent possession and scoring four shots on their opponents’ 21, Inter kept their nerve and secured a place in the last eight.

The Nerazzurri have prevailed in five of six round of 16 in the Champions League by winning the first leg.

As for Porto, they are now eliminated in seven of the eight times they have lost the first leg.

Onana and co keep Porto away

They must return to the 2009/10 quarter-finals against CSKA Moscow for the last time, when Inter progressed from a Champions League knockout game without conceding in both games. Ironically, they lifted the trophy that year.

It was an effort by the Nerazzurri to repeat the feat almost 13 years later. Onana made his contribution between the sticks as he made six saves, while Alessandro Bastoni and Francesco Acerbi both came in with five clearances each with a game high.

The Dzeko drought continues

The veteran striker has now gone 10 games without a goal for Inter since netting in their Supercoppa Italiana win over rivals Milan on January 18.

Despite his side defending their lead throughout the second leg, he managed just a single shot on target before being substituted for Romelu Lukaku with 20 minutes left after registering the second-least touches (32) and passes (19) of any starter for the visitors .

Key Opta facts

– Porto are now eliminated from seven of their eight two-legged side in the Champions League knockout stages after losing the first leg and only progressed from that position against Roma in 2018/19.

– Inter are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the seventh time and for the first time since 2010/11, when they were eliminated by Schalke in the last eight.

– Porto have won just two of their last seven Champions League knockout games on home soil, drawing one and losing four.

– Inter have kept three straight clean sheets in Champions League knockout games for the first time since April 2010.

What’s next?

The big games are progressing for Inter. Only the trifle of the Derby d’Italia against Juventus awaits them on Sunday, while Porto will try to respond on the same day when they travel to Sporting Braga.

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