Sneijder puts Inter into semis

Dutchman scores early free kick as Italian champions stroll past CSKA into last four.

    The net bulges as Sneijder smacks his free kick below the wall in Moscow [AFP]

    Inter Milan had no trouble in reaching the European Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2003 as they beat CSKA Moscow 1-0.

    Wesley Sneijder scored a sixth minute free kick at the Luzhniki Stadium to give Jose Mourinho's side a 2-0 aggregate lead.

    With the away goal meaning the Russians needed to score three goals to go through, Inter had a comfortable ride for the rest of the quarter-final second leg.

    And it was made easier when Nigerian Chidi Odiah was sent off in the 49th minute.

    The Italian champions will now face the winners of Tuesday's other second leg, when Barcelona host Arsenal.

    Mourinho first

    Inter's Portuguese coach became the first man to guide three different clubs to the Champions League semi-finals.

    Mourinho, who has previously taken Porto and then Chelsea to the last four with the former winning the trophy under him in 2004, could be joined as a coach to have taken three different sides to the last four of the Champions League by Dutchman Louis van Gaal if Bayern Munich beat Manchester United on Wednesday.

    Results & fixtures

    Tuesday April 6

     Barcelona v Arsenal (2-2)
     CSKA 0-1 Inter Milan (0-2)

    Wednesday April 7

    Bordeaux v Lyon (1-3)
     Man Utd v Bayern Munich (1-2)

    Aggregate score in brackets

    Sneijder's free kick was aided on its path to keeper Igor Akinfeev's goal when Japanese international Keisuke Honda jumped with the wall, allowing the shot to go under him.

    CSKA – who missed their most creative player Milos Krasic as he was suspended – rarely threatened to get back on level terms during the first-half with just a neat move which saw Tomas Necid go agonisingly close in the 23rd minute with Inter 'keeper Julio Cesar well beaten.

    They put together another dazzling passing move with 10 minutes remaining of the first period turning the Inter midfield and defence inside out only for Pavel Mamaev to make a complete mess of his shot.

    Any hope of CSKA becoming the first Russian side to reach the Champions League last four ended as Odiah was red-carded by French referee Stephane Lannoy for a second bookable offence after the Nigerian clattered into Samuel Eto'o.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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