This match began like any other Champions League match for me. I went in with a rather optimistic outlook on it all. As the game started I wondered if by some grace of god maybe we'd score and early goal. Thought it would be nice but highly unlikely.
The first goal came as an absolute shock to me. Eto'o miss controlled a pass and before I could begin using my first bit of obscenities for the match he shuffled the ball to sneijder. Sneijder decided to leave it for Milito who was being closely marked by John Terry. Upon receiving, Milito proceeded to cut inside leaving JT left for dead. If anyone knows Diego like I do, they know once he's in the box he makes no mistakes. True to form, Milito released a powerful shot at the near post and beat Petr Cech all ends up. Cech should have done better with the shot as he was in a perfect position to deal with it. I wasn't complaining. Actually, I proceeded to do quite the opposite and scream my head off like a crazy man.
The game restarted and Chelsea took control. Their midfield began to dominate ours and we started to soak up lots and lots of pressure. A freekick 32 meters out on the quarter hour mark handed Chelsea their first real opportunity. Drogba almost made it 1-1 with a sweetly struck shot which cannoned off the crossbar. Kalou's follow up was easily saved by JC, who I might add, looked like if he came out of a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.
33 minutes in it should have been 2-0. After some great build up play, Sneijder squared the ball to Eto'o who was in a position where it looked easier to score than miss. Not to my surprise, Eto'o scoffed the shot with his left foot and this prompted the Inter faithful to jeer him a bit.
The end of the half came with some controversy. An uncharacteristic mistake by Zanetti allowed Kalou the opportunity of a lifetime. Samuel desperately chased down the winger and it looked like he brought him down in the box. I braced myself for the decision that thank Jesus, went our way. Upon review of the replay I noticed contact between the players, but not enough contact to take a man Kalou's size down. The theatrical way he threw up his hands probably didn't help his cause.
End of First-Half.
Chelsea came out of the break the exact way they left it by continuing to put us to the sword. And to the Sword the put us. Within the first 5 minutes of the second half Chelsea were level. Kalou (who seems to be the only dangerman the Londoners had) placed a shot into the bottom-left corner of Cesar's goal after some good approach play by Ivanovic. For someone of JC's quality, a goal like that should never be allowed to pass him. Pass it did and all squared it was.
Our response was instantaneous. Esterben Cambiasso found himself latching on to a headed Chelsea clearance. The resulting shot cannoned into a defender and fortuitously fell back to the feet of Cuchu whose second shot thundered into bottom-left corner. It was a perfect response to the Chelsea goal. Oh how I love to see the Wesley Sneijder Effect in action.
A few minutes later Petr Cech went down with what looked to be a serious injury. Apparently, the injury wasn't as bad as first feared.
On the 65th minute mark, Lampard should have equalized. 9 times out of 10 you would back Lampard to score from 9 yards out. Julio Cesar did wonderfully well to get down low and save the shot. Luckily, the rebound didn't fall to the on rushing Chelsea player and Zanetti cleared. Anelka should be applauded for his work in the build up. He left Mario Balotelli looking rather silly on the ground with a nice piece of skill.
The rest of the Half was more Chelsea than Inter, but Inter were able to hold on for the Win.
End of Second-Half
Julio Cesar - 8
Did really well with everything besides for the soft goal he let in. Position was perfect for the most of the match.
Maicon - 7.5
Defensively he was on the ball so to speak. On attack, he should have done better. He should have ate their makeshift leftback Malouda alive.
Lucio - 9.5 and Man of the Match
Was an absolute rock at the back today. He cut out may passes and started many attacks with his power and skill. Made Drogba look like an average striker throughout the entire match.
Walter Samuel - 8.5
Hardly let anything past him for the entire match. The Lucio-Wall partnership was the perfect anti-venom with regard to the Chelsea attack.
Javier Zanetti - 8
This evergreen utility player showed exactly why he's a modern day legend. Seamlessly slotted into the Leftback position.
Stankovic - 6.5
On defense he was great. Helped Maicon cover players well. On attack, he was invisible.
Cambiasso - 8.5
Scored and absolute cracker of a shot off his own rebound. Along with his goal he showed why he's one of the best pivot players in the world. Grande Cuchu!
Motta - 7.5
My pick of the midfield in the first half. Passed and covered well. My only issue with his performance was the yellow he received.
Sneijder - 8
Ran and ran and then, ran some more. you can't ask for more from your attacking midfielder.
Milito - 8
Scored a wonderful goal and cause the Chelsea back line problems all night. Disappeared in the second half I would believe from tiredness due to the Sampa match.
Eto'o - 7
Ran his sock off and defended well, but we don't pay him the big bucks to defend. Should have made it 2-0 with his scoffed shot.
Balotelli - 7
Came on and did exactly what Maicon should have been doing all game (i.e. pressure the makeshift left back).
Pandev - 6.5
Average run out as a sub for Goran.
Muntari - n/a
Wasn't on long enough for me to pass judgement.
All in all, we won and will be going to London with the slightest of advantages. In 3 weeks time I hope to see that London Bridge fall!!!