Inter Milan 1 - Valencia 1
Simic, Córdoba, Materazzi; Zanetti, Sergio Conceiçao (Recoba
79'), Di Baggio, Seedorf, Guly (Dalmat 72'); Kallon, Ventola. 3-5-2.
Ten man Valencia battled back from a goal down to earn a priceless 1-1 draw in the quarter final first leg tie at Inter Milan. Returning to the San Siro stadium where they lost last year's Champions League final against Bayern Munich, and with their manager in that match Héctor Cúper now in charge of their opponents, the league leaders put up a good performance to lay the ghost of last May. Rafa Benítez brought in Carew up front, and the big Norwegian striker caused early problems for Fontana in the Inter goal. Both he and Aimar went close in a first half hour which the Spanish side controlled, and the poor Italian crowd started to fear the worse as the game wore on. Gradually though Inter fought back inspired by ex Real Madrid midfielder Seedorf, and only good saves by Cañizares early in the second half kept the scores level.
Five minutes after the break Materazzi gave the home side the lead, finishing off close up after Córdoba had touched on Seedorf's corner. Then disaster struck when Kily González was sent off for retaliating after a hard tackle by Kallon just three minutes after Materazzi's strike. Benítez decided to take off Aimar and Carew to bring on the more energetic Vicente and Angulo, and their high work rate covered for the numerical disadvantage. Within two minutes of Angulo coming on he found Rufete for him to run on and score an equalising goal, a vital away strike which enables them to go through with a scoreless draw in the second leg. Ayala could have even given them a win if Fontana had not produced a spectacular late save, but Benítez must be more than happy with this result which makes them favourites to qualify for the semi-finals in Mestalla next Thursday.