Internazionale Milano vs. Tottenham Hotspur
The Italian side had one of their worst games at White Hart Lane in the first leg of this fixture, and were determined to right their wrongs in the second leg as they hosted the Spurs. They had created a 3-goal mountain to climb, and were just lucky they hadn’t been away goals, or life would’ve been even harder. Andrea Stramaccioni knew this very well and and wasn’t going to let anything that had happened the first time happen again. Andre Villas-Boas, although his squad were one foot into the quarter-finals, didn’t rule out an Inter comeback, and was aware of the danger before him.
This game, which ended up going into extra time, started very well for the hosts who knew they had to score early to stay alive. 20 minutes after the first whistle, step 1 of 3 was completed for the home side, thanks to a Cassano header, facilitated by a Palacio cross. The home side were even more uncomfortable, but continued to threaten as well.
2 minutes later, they had their own attempt, but Handanovic was there to save for the home side. The home side were on a roll after their first goal, and just 6 minutes later, Palacio almost made it 2-0, but was just prevented by the woodwork to a relieved Brad Friedel. The home side continued to dominate, knowing very well that they had to be the better team.
6 minutes into the second half, Palacio did what he had tried to do a few minutes earlier and, this time, succeeded. 2-0 up and a comeback looked even more possible for Internazionale. Andre Villas-Boas knew an away goal would be needed and wasted no time putting on some fresh legs to intensify his attack; Lewis Holtby in for Jermaine Defoe. The home side had taken full control of the game, and were hungry to get their third, with attempts coming in every other second.
Cambiasso and Zanetti tried to get another one for their team, but failed. A third one did come, however, and it came, unfortunately for the visitors, from one of their own, their captain even. William Gallas, failing to clear, slotted the ball into his own net, and things looked to be going the home side’s way with only just 15 minutes to go. As expected, these last 15 minutes were intense for both sides, and it was going to be a long night with both of them failing to score the winning goal.
Extra time came, and the high-tempo game continued. 6 minutes into extra time, Emmanuel Adebayor scored what was to be his side’s only goal of the game, putting his side through to the quarter-finals on away goals, having only survived by a whisker. Ricardo Alvarez got one more for his side in the 110th minute, but Spurs managed to hold on and that was that.
Statistic-wise, Internazionale had a total of 20 attempts with only 45% possession, while the Spurs only had 8 attempts with 55% possession. Brad Friedel was busier than his Slovenian counterpart Samir Handanovic in the Inter goal, having had to make 6 more saves than him. Brad had to make 9 saves on the night, while Samir had to make 3. A total of 5 yellow cards were issued between the two teams; 1 going to the home side and the rest to the away side. No players were sent off during this match.
Andrea Stramaccioni and Andre Villas-Boas lined up the following squads:
Inter Milan Starting XI
Handanovic, Zanetti (c), Chivu, Juan, Jonathan, Cambiasso, Gargano, Guarin, Kovacic, Palacio, Cassano
Subs: Belec, Pasa, Belloni, Colombi, Avarez, Benassi, and Ranocchia
Tottenham Starting XI
Friedel, Vertonghen, Gallas (c), Walker, Naughton, Parker, Dembele, Sigurdsson, Livermore, Defoe, Adebayor
Subs: Lloris, Assou-Ekotto, Carroll, Holtby, Lennon, and Caulker
Final Score: Internazionale Milano 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur* (Agg: 4-4 AET)
Cassano 20′, Palacio 56′, Gallas 75′ (o.g), Avarez 110′ | Adebayor 96′
Having eliminated Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur are through to the quarter-finals of the competition and will face SC Basel of Switzerland as their opponents, as announced in the draw on March 15th. They will play the first leg of this game at home and the second leg away.
SS Lazio vs. VfB Stuttgart
Lazio, although ‘sentenced’ to play in an empty stadium, were very pumped for the second leg of this game, shining from a comfortable victory in the first leg. They were to start this game unbeaten in 11 European games, with 7 victories and 4 draws, and with a very good home record as well. They more than had the upper hand.
It took the home side just 6 minutes to put their first one in, having threatened since the first whistle, making life even harder for their visitors. Kozak had his first of the night; a strong shot into the back of the net from a Radu cross. Ulreich’s night got even worse when he conceded another one just 120 seconds later. Kozak was the man again; a brace in just 8 minutes, making it 9 goals in the competition for him.
Lazio caught their guests sleeping and countered perfectly, with Hernanes managing to get the ball to Kozak, who made no mistakes. It was Lazio’s game after this as they’d managed to demoralize a strong Stuttgart side. At the edge of the break, Lazio suffered a blow as Marchetti had to come off with an injury caused by Ibisevic to make way for Bizzarri. Lazio stayed strong, however, and their good play continued.
The same story continued in the second half, although Stuttgart corrected many of their mistakes and were playing a better game despite the scoreline and the aggregate. Just under 20 minutes into the second half, Stuttgart finally managed to get the ball into the net, when Hajnal got past Bizzarri and motivate his side.
Stuttgart made some decent changes and were in the driver’s seat for a short time, but Lazio were the stronger team overall and nothing could be done for the visitors with such little time remaining. Kozak continued to look for a perfect hat-trick and got it when his third goal (header) came on the 87th minute, assisted by Candreva. It was, indeed, a perfect hat-trick; one left-footed strike, another a right-footed shot, and the third one a strong header. Lazio had gone through to the quarter-finals and had done so with class.
Stuttgart had 55% possession on the night, while their hosts had 45%, despite this not showing in results. They had more attempts (16) than Lazio (11), as well as better chances. Stuttgart also picked up more yellow cards (2) than Lazio (1). No players were sent off during this match.
Vladimir Petkovic and Bruno Labbadia lined up the following squads:
Lazio Starting XI
Marchetti, Ciani, Pereirinha, Lulic, Biava, Radu, Onazi, Candreva, Hernanes, Mauri (c), Kozak
Subs: Bizzari, Crecco, Gonzalez, Cataldi, Floccari, Ederson, and Ledesma.
Stuttgart Starting XI
lreich, Sakai, Tasci (c), Niedermeier, Molinaro, Gentner, Holzhauser, Okazaki, Macheda, Ibisevic, Hajnal
Subs: Ziegler, Felipe Lopes, Hoogland, Rudiger, Kvist, Harnik, and Traore
Final Score: SS Lazio* 3-1 VfB Stuttgart (Agg: 5-1)
Kozak 6′, 8′, 87′ | Hajnal 62′
Having eliminated VfB Stuttgart, SS Lazio are through to the quarter-finals of the competition and will face Fenerbahce SK of Turkey as their opponents according to the draw on March 15th. They will play the first leg of this game away and the second leg at home.
Written by Ange Marline