UCL RO16: Lukaku scores as Inter Milan pip 10-man FC Porto
Zaidu Sanusi shines for Porto in clash
Romelu Lukaku came off the bench and scored the winner for Inter Milan as they claimed a narrow 1-0 win over FC Porto in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg clash. The Italian giants take a slender advantage into next month’s second leg.
Inter Milan came up against the Portuguese outfit at San Siro after falling behind in the Serie A title race. Super Eagles defender Zaidu Sanusi started the match at left-back for Porto weeks after helping the side win the Portuguese League Cup.
Both sides were evenly matched in the opening exchanges, with neither of them really testing the goalkeepers. FC Porto got the first clear chance of the half when a lovely passing move ended with Marko Grujic firing straight at Inter Milan goalkeeper Andre Onana, and Galeno heading the rebound wide from close range.
Inter Milan called Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa into action with the last action of the half as Alessandro Bastoni glanced a header which was kept out by a stunning reflex save from the keeper.
Porto were reduced to ten men in the 78th minute when Otavio received a second yellow card for a foul he committed. Within minutes, Inter Milan made their advantage count.
A cross from Nicolo Barella was headed goal wards by Lukaku, who had been introduced in place of Edin Dzeko, but his header came back off the woodwork. The Belgian striker reacted quickest to volley home the rebound from close range and score his second Champions League goal of the season after 86 minutes.
Down to ten, Porto rarely threatened as they looked to get away with the one-goal deficit. Inter Milan held on for a vital win ahead of the second leg of their meeting with the Portuguese giants.
Sanusi featured for the entirety of the match, helping FC Porto hold off the Italian giants for the most part of the game.