Simone Inzaghi intends to ‘enjoy every moment’ of taking Inter to the Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of FC Porto, shrugging off criticism. ‘The fans should be proud of what this team has done.’



The first leg lead proved decisive in this Round of 16 tie, a late Romelu Lukaku goal giving them the advantage that was defended at the Estadio do Dragao, reaching the Champions League quarter-final for the first time in 12 years.

Andre Onana was largely undisturbed until the seven minutes of stoppages, when Denzel Dumfries made up for what had been a poor overall performance by clearing Marcano’s effort off the line, then Onana fingertipped a Mehdi Taremi header onto the post.

“I am very, very happy. All credit to the group, who managed to draw on energy I didn’t even know they had. We had problems before and during the game, they remained solid and aside from the rather excessive seven minutes of stoppages, we ran very few risks.

“I had faith, as the team was always in the game, in a passionate atmosphere like this. We know the last four Italians who played at the Dragao lost, so I congratulated the lads, we wrote a little bit of history.”

All of the last four Serie A sides who had visited FC Porto emerged defeated, so Inter ended that run.

“I am very happy with what we are doing and the credit goes to these players, who in these 18 months together have given us trophies and quarter-finals that had been absent from a club like Inter for far too long.

“We dedicate it to the fans, who I am told many of them couldn’t get into the stadium.”

There was chaos when hundreds of Inter supporters who had purchased tickets for sectors outside the away end were refused entry at the gates, despite being assured beforehand that they would be allowed in.

Inzaghi has faced a great deal of criticism since replacing Antonio Conte and there were suggestions his future would depend entirely on whether Inter got through this round.

“I don’t want controversy, I am enjoying every minute of this experience. I know this is football, I know why and how I came to this club two years ago, and I am enjoying every trophy and place in the quarter-final.

“Now we will focus on Serie A, the Coppa Italia semi-final, there are many games to be played. We have to recover mental and physical energy.”

Inter are still second in Serie A, albeit 18 points adrift of runaway leaders Napoli, and will face Juventus in the Coppa Italia semi-final, having already won the Supercoppa Italiana.

“The fans should be proud of what this team has done, we had already reached the Round of 16 last season, which hadn’t happened for many years. We improved this time around and we’ll see what happens. Every team in the draw will be tough, but we go into this with great enthusiasm.”

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