Inter progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, as Jose Mourinho had the last laugh against his former Chelsea side. With a comfortable 2-1 lead from the first leg at the San Siro, it was up to the home side to overcome the man who led them to victory in previous seasons.
This tie was nothing less than a training ground session for the Special One. He faced a side which he built over a period of three years leading them to victory in all domestic cups. The only changes to the team included Ivanovic, Nicolas Anelka and goalkeeper Ross Turnbull, it was hardly a challenge for the Inter Coach giving him the opportunity to turn the crucial match into an event- in typical Mourinho fashion.
Nicolas Anelka, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard all had chances to score, but they struggled to break down the defensive barrier of Lucio and Walter Samuel. The home side dominated the first half as Florent Malouda and Drogba both met their matches in this strong Inter side. Not only were all eyes on the dugout where the Blues’ former manager returned as their dreaded opponent, but the tugging and bickering between Lucio and Drogba was closely observed, taking it in turns to drag each other to the ground, escaping several penalty shouts which Inter were lucky to aviod. Eventually it was Drogba who drew the short straw and was sent off for a challenge on Thiago Motta with only five minutes left on the clock.
Chelsea expected to approach half time with at least a goal having tested Julio Cesar with numerous shots on target. Branislav Ivanovic and Lampard posed as threats to the visitors, but the strength of Walter Samuel should not be underestimated. It was clear to see by the second half that Mourinho knew exactly what he was doing and there was no chance that he would leave the Bridge with anything less than a ticket to the quarter finals. Luckily for the Portuguese, Chelsea had possible penalty shouts ignored by Ivanovic and when Drogba was dragged to the ground by Samuel. Carlo Ancelotti and Ray Wilkins looked on in astonishment – for once it seemed that the decisions were going Mourinho’s way.
There was no way back for the home side after Samuel Eto’o smashed in his goal, two goals in stoppage time seemed impossible after they failed to score at least one in 90 minutes. Mourinho had previously promised to keep his celebrations under control should his side score, he achieved this at the home tie in Milan but at Stamford Bridge his excitement got the better of him. After jumping out the dugout, he refrained himself and eventually found his seat.
As usual it worked in his favour, which means it is one step closer to Champions League glory for his Inter team and back to the drawing board for what used to be, his Chelsea.