Inter stamp knockout ticket
© AFP

Inter Milan handed under-pressure boss Rafael Benitez some respite as they edged out FC Twente to reach the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.

Esteban Cambiasso scored the only goal of the game at the San Siro after 55 minutes to secure a victory which was deserved but far from simple for the Italian champions, who were without a win in five in all competitions and have slipped to sixth in Serie A.

"In the changing room we never had any doubts we'd bounce back," said Cambiasso. "We knew we were in a difficult moment but we hope this result can give us tranquility and once we're back to full strength, things can go much better."

Inter had a great chance in just the third minute when Dejan Stankovic won the ball and found Jonathan Biabiany, who played the ball into the box, but Wesley Sneijder could not make good contact from close range and the shot went wide. Goran Pandev's strike was comfortably held by Nikolay Mihaylov a minute later, while at the other end Bryan Ruiz went close with a header.

We knew we were in a difficult moment but we hope this result can give us tranquility and once we're back to full strength, things can go much better. 
Esteban Cambiasso, Internazionale

After 16 minutes, Inter were presented with a great opportunity when Peter Wisgerhof brought Sneijder down on the edge of the area after neat play with Pandev. The Dutchman took the free-kick himself and came agonisingly close, sending his shot against the bar.


With Inter pressing, Mihaylov kept his side level by saving from Pandev, who was played in by Cambiasso, and Samuel Eto'o after good work by Biabiany. And Inter keeper Luca Castellazzi pulled off a great stop of his own on the half-hour mark, holding onto a powerful strike from Theo Janssen.

Twente pressed with Nacer Chadli chipping wide and Castellazzi clearing up after a mistake by Lucio. In a frenetic end to the half, Lucio cleared an effort from Marc Janko before Thilo Leugers got his head in the way of Cambiasso's strike.

As the second period got under way, Eto'o seemed determined to make up for his red card at the weekend - he shot from distance then had an effort saved by Mihaylov. But is was Cambiasso who broke the deadlock. When Janko fouled Sneijder, the Dutchman's free-kick bounced around in the area before reaching Cambiasso, who left Mihaylov with no chance.

Javier Zanetti's solo run and strike brought a good save from the Bulgaria goalkeeper, then Sneijder sent an effort narrowly wide and Stankovic fired over as Inter sought a second.

Twente still posed a threat, as they proved when Denny Landzaat's curling effort hit the bar with 15 minutes remaining. But the Dutch side could not find a leveller and Inter held on to book their place in the last 16.