Saturday 17 March 2018

Deschamps hails Marseille resolve as Inter crash out

SUBSTITUTE Brandao's stoppage-time goal sent Marseille through to the Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of Inter Milan despite a 2-1 loss at San Siro to increase the pressure on Inter coach Claudio Ranieri.

Inter Milan striker Diego Milito cancelled out Marseille's 1-0 lead from the first leg in the 75th minute and the match looked set to go into extra time before Brandao scored in the second minute of injury time.

Inter still had time to score again through a penalty by substitute Giampaolo Pazzini, but it wasn't enough and Marseille advanced on away goals after a 2-2 scoreline over the two games.

The French side have made it through to the quarter-finals for the first time since winning the competition in 1993, but they will have to do without Steve Mandanda for the first leg.

The goalkeeper was outstanding against Inter but was sent off in the incident for the penalty. "We went through so many emotions," said Marseille coach Didier Deschamps. "We were playing a good team. Mandanda kept us in it especially in the first half.

"Our aim was to get through to the last 16, we've now gone beyond that. It's obvious we're ambitious but we have to see. You never know how far you can go."

Inter, Champions League winners in 2010, are now all but certain to end the season trophyless and there is sure to be more speculation about Ranieri's future.

"Who coaches in Italy is used to this," he said. "If (president Massimo) Moratti decides to change the coach, I'll thank him for the opportunity he's given me."

Inter's exit continues a poor run. Ranieri's team won 2-0 against Chievo at the weekend but that ended a run of nine matches without a win in all competitions.

"It's upsetting," Ranieri said. "Because when you see a team that tries to do everything it can and goes even beyond that, that creates more chances than the opposing team and then loses, it leaves you with (a) bitter taste."

In a lively first half, Inter should have taken the lead in the eighth minute when Wesley Sneijder's shot, brilliantly stopped by Mandanda at point-blank range, rebounded straight to Diego Milito, but his effort was kept out by several Marseille men on the line.


That seemed to give Inter confidence and, moments later, Mandanda again pulled off a brilliant save to deny the Argentine.

At the other end, Marseille's best chance came in the 18th minute when Loic Remy's header flashed just wide of the left post.

The French went close to going ahead in the 68th minute but Julio Cesar did well to tip Alou Diarra's effort around his left post.

Inter levelled the tie shortly afterwards: Esteban Cambiasso's rebounded shot fell straight to Milito to score.

Inter were to regret their wasted opportunities as, in stoppage time, Brandao latched onto a long ball and evaded Walter Samuel's challenge to lash the ball past Cesar between the Inter sticks.

The match ended on a bitter note for both sides as, first, the otherwise excellent Mandanda was sent off for a foul on Pazzini inside the box, and then the striker picked himself up to score a penalty that was all for nothing.

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