Inter have reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in over a decade, thanks to a 0-0 draw at Porto on Tuesday that gave them an aggregate advantage of 1-0. That advantage will be crucial as Simone Inzaghi's side seeks a quarter-final spot against Napoli next week.
Inter's defensive strategy against Porto proved to be their most successful one. They kept Porto at bay for much of the game, even without Robin Gosens and Dalbert in attendance. Despite having to deal with several late errors, Inter looked comfortable in possession and weren't intimidated by Porto's intensity.
Porto were the better team for much of the game but failed to take their chances, as evidenced by Matheus Uribe's swerving shot that flew just wide and Stephen Eustaquio's effort that forced an impressive save from Andre Onana. Porto put everything they had into Inter in the closing minutes as Pepe was sent off for his second yellow card; however Dimarco's goalkeeping heroics ensured they came out with a point instead of a loss.
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Inter had the best chance to secure victory with Edin Dzeko's shot saved by Diogo Costa after 22 minutes. The Italian striker could have scored with a volley from Mehdi Taremi's close-range delivery, but Matteo Darmian tripped him before he could score.
The Italians held off Porto's attacks well, but were ultimately undone when Pepe was sent off in injury time for a second bookable offence - allowing Dimarco to run through on goal and score his first Champions League goal. Dzeko's shot was the only real chance of note during an intensely tight match, suggesting Inzaghi must improve in attack in order to reach the last eight.
Porto have lost five of their last eight two-legged matches when trailing the first leg, so they will be determined to salvage something from this game. But they must remain mindful not to become complacent in the face of Inter's defensive resilience. Denzel Dumfries prevented Barella's header on the line and Onana saved Mehdi Taremi's near-post volley from the left with ease.
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After a slow start to the season, Inter have shown signs of improvement under Inzaghi and will be looking for another big win on Tuesday. They boast an impressive record against Portuguese sides and should feel confident after their 1-0 victory in Milan on aggregate.
Sergio Conceicao's Porto will be without influential midfielder Otavio due to suspension, but they remain in excellent form and have the home crowd behind them as they try to put an end to Inter's European quarter-final aspirations. After heroically stopping a late Romelu Lukaku volley in the first leg, Porto are relishing this chance for another tight tie in this Portuguese champions' competition.