By Ollie Irish
Gotta hand it to Jose. The Special One talked the talk, as he likes to do, and then his team walked the walk. Inter outplayed and outthought a strangely subdued Chelsea side. Wesley Sneijder ran things in midfield, with a lot of help from the remarkably disciplined Esteban Cambiasso, whilst their back four, especially centre-backs Lucio and Samuel (both masters of the dark art of defending), did not give Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka a sniff; Drogba got so tired of life in Lucio’s pocket that he went for an early bath, not for the first time in a big Champions League match.
So the visitors fully deserved their win and they will be tough quarter-final opposition for any side left in the competition – though I’d fancy Man Utd and Barcelona to take them out. For Roman Abramovich, a man utterly obsessed with the Champions League, another season passes without reaching the summit in Europe.
This generation of Chelsea players must live with the fact that their best shot at winning the Champions League has gone. They came close on many occasions but never had much luck – not at winning penalties (they might have had three in this tie), nor at taking them – and now it’s time for Carlo Ancelotti (if he survives long enough) to inject new life at the Bridge. They could do a lot worse than poaching Sneijder this summer. Franck Ribery must also be high on the shopping list.
The best photos from the Bridge: