Francesco Toldo was the hero as Inter progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League after beating Valencia on away goals.
Valencia won 2-1 on the night after gong 1-0 down early on to a Christian Vieri goal. Aimar and Baraja replied which led to a nervy last forty minutes, but Inter managed to hold on despite a barrage of attacks from the home side.
Valencia coach Rafa Benitez was extremely disappointed at his side’s elimination, believing his side deserved to go through on the basis of their two performances over the two legs.
“Over the two games there has been one team that has deserved to win so much more than the other,” he said.
“If everything in football was fair then the teams that deserve to win do actually win and those that do not deserve to end up losing.
Benitez also gave a parting shot to opposite number Hector Cuper, saying that Inter played boring football that would bore the public.
“If all teams began to play like Inter then I don’t know if football would die as a sport, but fans would stop going to watch games,” he warned.
Cuper admitted that his side was not at it’sbest on the night, but did what was required to progress.
“We didn’t play a good match but we’re in the semi-finals – this was our objective. It’s true that we were lucky, but the important thing was to qualify and we’ve achieved that,” he told Inter’s website.
He admitted that his goalkeeper had a “fantastic game”, but also said it would be wrong to single out individuals. Toldo himself admitted that he felt he had a lot of work to do in the second half, but refused to say his team was getting nervous.
“When a goalkeeper is bombarded in this way it’s a clear sign of a bad performance in terms of play,” he admitted.
“It was a one-way match in the second half. Let’s not confuse nervousness with fighting spirit. We had to wait for a chance on the counter-attack.”
Toldo was also involved in a bust up with DiBiagio during the game, but Di Bagio claims it was “a demonstration of the indomitable character of the Inter players” rather than two individuals falling out.
Skipper Javier Zanetti believed his side was good enough to progress.
“After lots of suffering we showed character and we deserved to go through to the semi-final”, he said afterwards.
“In this match I did the work of a soldier but I had to for the good of the team.”
Inter will go on to play either Ajax or rivals Milan in the semis and Stephane Dalmat knows which side he would rather play.
“I’d prefer to face Ajax because we’ve already beaten them,” he said.
Inter have lost against Milan in both games between the two sides this season.