Eto'o shines as Inter go through

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Reigning champions Inter Milan are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a dramatic away-goals victory over Bayern Munich.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Inter levelled the tie in the third minute when Samuel Eto'o slotted home.

However, away keeper Julio Cesar spilt to gift Mario Gomez an equaliser before Thomas Muller put Bayern in control.

Wesley Sneijder's curling finish gave the Italians hope before Goran Pandev struck late on to send them through.

It was an amazing finish to a game that could have yielded far more than the five goals scored, partly as a result of some incisive attacking play, but primarily because of the ineptitude of both defences.

This ensured it was a very different encounter from the one these two played out in last season's Champions League final in the Madrid, where Jose Mourinho's well-organised Inter ran out 2-0 victors.

The Germans felt they were unlucky to lose that match, but on this occasion they only had themselves to blame as the defensive frailties that have undermined their entire season ensured Inter were never out of the tie, then allowed Leonardo's side to snatch it.

Bayern's soft core was first exposed in the third minute when Pandev found space easily and fed in Eto'o to slot underneath home keeper Thomas Kraft to level the tie overall after Bayern's 1-0 first-leg win in Italy.

It was the perfect start for the visitors, but one on which they could not build, largely because they have obvious defensive problems of their own, which Bayern's talented attack exposed.

The German's first-leg victory was gifted to them by a mistake from Inter keeper Cesar, and he once again demonstrated an unintentional charity to gift Bayern an equaliser and the advantage in the tie.

In an almost carbon copy of that goal from nearly three weeks ago, the spritely Arjen Robben unleashed a long-range shot that Cesar failed to grasp, giving Gomez space to flick the ball over his head and into the goal.

Another defensive error strengthened Bayern's grip on the half hour when Robben cut in from the left and attempted to feed Gomez, only for Lucio to deflect the ball to Muller, who flicked over Cesar and in.

Bayern should have gone into the break further ahead, but Cesar redeemed himself somewhat with a fine save from Franck Ribery after the Frenchman had scampered clear of the defence.

Minutes later, an effort from Gomez at the far post trickled invitingly along the goal-line before both Inter defender Andrea Raoncchia and Muller slid in, the former's flick knocking the ball onto the latter, then the post, and clear of goal.

Gomez stung the hands of Cesar with a powerful volley early in the second half, but soon after Inter got themselves back into the game.

Sneijder steered a low, curling shot from 20 yards inside Kraft's far post to give the away side belief and set Bayern's nerves jangling.

The Dutchman was an ever-increasing threat to Bayern's slender lead and he almost won the tie with a shot which went past the far post.

In contrast, Bayern were unable to make an impression and struggled to construct attacks..

With two minutes to go, Inter made them pay when Breno allowed Eto'o space to tee up Pandev in the box and his rising shot from 12 yards beat Kraft to break Bayern hearts.


Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal:

"When we lose such a game it's very disappointing because it's our own fault.

"It's not the first time this season but we haven't learned from our mistakes. We created so many chances and didn't use them and we didn't defend well in the second half.

"That's how the opponent remains in the game. We can't say that Inter was better but we are the ones who are out."

Inter Milan coach Leonardo:

"It's difficult to explain this game. It couldn't have started better for us, but then we gave them more room and that's when they are dangerous.

"It was tough, after losing in the last minute at home, to turn this game around.

"I always believed, however, and when we equalized at 2-2, I knew everything was possible. It was a really incredible game."



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