Eto'o strike takes Inter past Chelsea

Eto'o strike takes Inter past Chelsea

Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o was the Inter Milan hero on Tuesday as the Italian champions beat Chelsea 1-0 in London in their return leg of the Champions League round of 16 to qualify for the quarter-finals, dpa reported.

Having already won the first leg 2-1, Inter go into Friday's draw for the quarter-finals with a 3-1 aggregate victory.

Inter coach Jose Mourinho, who returned to his former place of employment, played three upfront with Eto'o, Diego Milito and Goran Pandev - and that although it was Chelsea that needed to win.

Both sides started playing attacking football from the first whistle and the home side had a penalty appeal turned down by German referee Wolfgang Stark in the sixth minute when Florent Malouda ran into Brazilian defender Lucio.

Shortly afterwards Germany captain Michael Ballack tried a long range effort for the home side, but it went just wide without Inter's Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar needing to intervene.

Ivorian forward Didier Drogba then came close for Chelsea but this time it was defender Maicon who seemed to come out of nowhere to block the effort.

Eto'o had Inter's best chance in the first half when Chelsea captain John Terry misjudged a cross from Maicon, but Eto'o failed to connect properly.

Shortly before the break Chelsea again came close, but Walter Samuel managed to block Malouda's shot.

Inter broke Chelsea hearts in the 78th minute when a defence- splitting pass from Wesley Sneijder sent Eto'o through and the Cameroon striker slotted past Chelsea's third choice goalkeeper Ross Turnbull, who could do nothing to stop the shot.

Any hope Chelsea had of coming back into the game were killed off five minutes from the end when Drogba was shown a straight red card for stomping on Thiago Motta.

Eto'o came close to making it two for his side when he was again sent through in injury time, but Turnbull managed to pull off a good save to deny the striker.

Mourinho will be without defenders Motta and Lucio for their first leg quarter-final after both of them received their second booking of the campaign.

For Chelsea it is only the second time in seven seasons that they have failed to advance at least to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

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