Inter in Cruz control
By Richard Scott. Last Updated: 01/11/05 8:14pm
Internazionale moved four points clear at the top of Group H after two goals in the last 15 minutes from second-half substitute Julio Cruz gave them a 2-1 victory over Porto.
This was an uninspiring clash that was played out to an empty Giuseppe Meazza as Inter continue to play behind closed doors.
Inter had previously never won a UEFA Champions League tie after going behind but Cruz put an end to that statistic thanks to a penalty on 75 minutes and a well directed header on 82 minutes.
Porto had taken the lead in an error-strewn first half after Miguel Almeida produced the one moment of real quality.
Almeida, who was on loan at city rivals Boavista last season, hit an absolutely unstoppable free-kick from 35 yards that gave Julio Cesar, in the Inter goal, absolutely no chance as the ball nestled in the top left-hand corner of the net. This was the 21-year-old's first ever goal in Europe and one that he will never forget.
Inter produced a lifeless display and they could not get any fluidity into their game as they continued to give the ball away with Juan Sebastian Veron and Pierre Wome being the main culprits.
Inter's first half was summed up by Adriano's free kick on 23 minutes. The Brazilian forward blasted the ball high and wide from a similar position that Almeida had scored from.
Inter tried to up the tempo after the goal but struggled to keep hold of the ball for any length of time.
Their best chance of the first half came in injury time after Juan Sebastian Veron played a superb slide-rule pass to Pierre Wome only for the Cameroon international to overhit his cross with Adriano and Obafemi Martins waiting in the middle.
Inter, who surprisingly made no substitutes at half time, did not start the second half much better and it was not until the 58th minute that they threatened the Porto goal.
Martins was put through by Luis Figo but Vitor Baia anticipated it well and showed tremendous bravery as he dived at his feet.
Inter had most of the possession again in the second half as Porto offered little in attack but Veron was anonymous.
The Italians were gifted the penalty in the 75th minute when Pedro Emanuel fouled David Pizarro with the midfielder going nowhere and Cruz dispatched the spot-kick with aplomb.
Inter looked to press for the winner and Sinisa Mihajlovic produced a superb free kick from 30 yards that Vitor Baia did extremely well to tip over but from the resulting corner, Cruz nodded home.
Jose Meireles should have cleared the ball at the back post but he missed it, as he threw his body at it, and Inter saw out the last few minutes to secure the victory.
Click here for player ratings.
|Inter||Team Statistics||FC Porto|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|4||Shots on Target||1|
|4||Shots off Target||7|
UEFA Champions League
Tue 1st Nov - Group H
Artmedia Bratis2 - 2Rangers
Inter2 - 1FC Porto
Tue 1st Nov - Group F
Olympiakos1 - 4Lyon
Rosenborg0 - 2R Madrid
Tue 1st Nov - Group E
Schalke2 - 0Fenerbahce
PSV1 - 0AC Milan
Tue 1st Nov - Group G
Liverpool3 - 0Anderlecht
Real Betis1 - 0Chelsea
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|3||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||7|
UEFA Champions League Group D
UEFA Champions League Group E
UEFA Champions League Group F
|2||Paris St Germain||6||13|
UEFA Champions League Group G
UEFA Champions League Group H