Thursday, September 24

A ‘Special One’ indeed


Mourinho becomes first man to guide three different clubs to semi-finals

MOSCOW: Colourful Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho became the first man to guide three different clubs to the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday as Italian champions Inter Milan defeated CSKA Moscow 1-0, 2-0 on aggregate.

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho

An early goal by Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder – who had been an injury doubt on the eve of the match – set them on their way for their first appearance in the last four in seven years.

“The plan was to score before them,” Mourinho said.

“In Milan we scored after 10 shots. Today after the first one. And the tie was in the pocket.

“CSKA were under pressure today and failed to play at their best. We also didn’t play at our top in attack. I believe we should have scored at least one more goal.”

Their task was made easier when Nigerian Chidi Odiah was sent-off early in the second-half for a second bookable offence.

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 by Dutchman Louis van Gaal if Bayern Munich beat Manchester United yesterday.

CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky admitted that Sneijder’s early goal had taken the wind out of his side’s sails.

“We came into the match looking for a win. But the early goal, along with Vasily Berezutsky’s injury made our task a great deal tougher,” he said.

“The exclusion of Chidi Odiah virtually dashed our hopes completely. But I can’t hold anything against my men today. They did all they could.”

He added: “I consider nevertheless that we looked good in both of our matches with Inter and deservedly had a place in the last eight.” — AFP