Inter Milan reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in more than a decade after surviving a late barrage of pressure at Porto to escape with a 0-0 draw which took them through 1-0 on aggregate.
It was a disappointing night for the home fans at a sold-out Dragao stadium as the Portuguese champions tried in vain to wipe out the narrow deficit from the first leg in Italy.
A disciplined Inter side seemed content to hold onto their lead and did not face a serious threat until added time.
Porto struck the woodwork twice within 30 seconds before Pepe was sent off for a second yellow card as Inter joined city rivals AC Milan in the quarter-final draw.
How Inter edged past Porto…
In the end, Romelu Lukaku’s goal four minutes from the end of the first leg was enough to see Inter through to their first Champions League quarter-final since 2011.
Mehdi Taremi came within inches of forcing the tie to extra time when he rattled the crossbar in the closing stages.
The Portuguese side were reduced to 10 men in the seventh minute of injury-time when winger Pepe was shown a second yellow card.
On-loan Chelsea striker Lukaku came on for Inter 20 minutes from time, replacing Edin Dzeko who had come closest to scoring for Simone Inzaghi’s side with a low effort that was saved by Diogo Costa.
Napoli could make it three Serie A clubs in the last eight on Wednesday, holding a 2-0 lead over Eintracht Frankfurt from the first leg.
Opta stats: Inter reach quarter-finals for seventh time…
- Inter Milan have booked their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the seventh time overall and for the first time since 2010-11 when they were knocked out in the last eight by Schalke.
- Inter have kept three consecutive clean sheets in UEFA Champions League knockout games for the first time since April 2010.
- Porto have now been eliminated from seven of their eight two-legged UEFA Champions League knockout ties after losing the first leg, only progressing from this position in 2018-19 against Roma.
- Porto have won just two of their last seven UEFA Champions League knockout games on home soil, drawing one and losing four.
- Porto mustered 21 shots against Inter tonight, the joint-most without scoring by a team in a UEFA Champions League game this season, along with Atletico Madrid vs Club Brugge on October 12 and Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund on February 15.
- No side has picked up more red cards in this season’s UEFA Champions League than Porto (3, level with Sporting Lisbon).
- Inter midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan made his 50th appearance in the Champions League, the first Armenian player to reach that milestone in the competition.
When is the draw?
The draws for the quarter-finals and semi-finals take place at 11am UK time on Friday, March 17 in Nyon, Switzerland at UEFA’s headquarters.
The eight last-16 winners are involved in an open quarter-final and semi-final draw.
There are no seedings and no country protection, so clubs can face opposition from the same country. They can also draw teams they previously played in the group stage.
A final draw will also take place to determine the ‘home’ side for administrative reasons for the showpiece event in Istanbul, Turkey on June 10.
You can follow the draw with Sky Sports’ live blog, so you can keep across everything right here.