Internazionale win over Porto thanks to late goal Lukaku and saves Onana
Internazionale won the first game in the Champions League eighth finals from FC Porto (1-0). In Milan, substitute Romelu Lukaku broke the spell after FC Porto found themselves with a man down.
At Internazionale, both Dutchmen, Stefan de Vrij and Denzel Dumfries, were on the bench. Former Ajax goalkeeper André Onana did start in the starting lineup. At FC Porto, veteran Pepe started at center back. He turns 40 on Sunday.
FC Porto, last winner of Europe’s highest tournament in 2004, finished this season as leaders in a group with Club Brugge, Bayer Leverkusen and Atlético Madrid. Inter finished second in their group, below Bayern Munich but above FC Barcelona and Viktoria Pilsen.
Porto coach Sérgio Conceição, whose son Francisco plays at Ajax, played at Inter between 2001 and 2003. He saw Hakan Calhanoglu fire a rock-hard shot at the Porto goal in the eighteenth minute, but goalkeeper Diogo Costa paid close attention.
It took a while for the Portuguese to become dangerous, but they almost took the lead in the 37th minute. Onana saved a shot by Marko Grujic, in the rebound Wenderson Galeno headed just wide.
Catty Onana saves Inter
Before halftime, a riot led to two yellow cards, and for a moment it looked like scoring. Porto midfielder Mateus Uribe almost headed the ball into his own goal after a free kick, Diogo Costa had a clever reflex to prevent an Italian lead. It was immediately the last action of the first half.
Seven minutes after halftime, Inter had the first chance of the second half. Midfielder Nicolò Barella took a long pass all at once on the volley but his effort went a meter wide. A minute later, Iranian Porto striker Mehdi Taremi tested Onana, who narrowly avoided a goal.
Moments later, Onana again showed his class with two saves, with the last one in particular receiving high praise from his teammates. The rebound from close range was turned away with a brilliant reflex.
Red and late goal
Thirteen minutes before time, FC Porto found themselves down a man after midfielder Otavio picked up his second yellow card – and thus red – after a minor foul. Moments later, Dutch national Dumfries was allowed to make his appearance.
It was another substitute, Belgium’s all-time top scorer Lukaku, who broke the tie five minutes before time. On a cross from Barella, he headed at the post, then took advantage of the rebound himself. Porto tried after that but with a man down they failed to create any chances of their own.
In three weeks the return is in Porto.