Theo Janssen starred for FC Twente on their Champions League debut as they held holders Inter Milan to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday.
Wesley Sneijder gave the visitors the lead on his return to his homeland but Janssen smacked in a stunning free-kick before Diego Milito’s own goal gave the hosts the lead, only for Samuel Eto’o to earn the Italians a point.
All four goals came in a pulsating first half before both teams seemed to settle for their first Group A point.
Inter coach Rafael Benitez was a satisfied man and defended his striker Milito, who has yet to find the net at the right end this season.
“The first half was very difficult but we did very well in the second, we controlled the game and I’m satisfied with the second half against a difficult team,” he said.
“They’re a tough team because they play three up front and they’re not easy to control. They play long balls and it’s not easy to pick up the second ball. We struggled.
“In the first half they had one or two dangerous crosses. We’d talked about the intensity of them playing at home.
“I’m very happy with what Milito did, he did very well. We told him to push up, he worked for the team when we didn’t have possession.
“We’re trying to pressure the ball, but we had difficulties against their counter-attacks. We’re trying to do this but I keep saying the same things, we’ve not had much time, we’ll try to do more and keep going in this way.
“We knew they were fiery, it’s not easy. They had intensity, we had the ball, but these are things we’re working on.”
The champions got off to a great start after Milito faked to shoot and dragged the ball past Roberto Rosales — a carbon copy of the move he pulled on Bayern Munich’s Daniel Van Buyten when scoring in the final in May.
Although Nikolai Mihajlov pushed out his left-footed 14th-minute shot, Sneijder arrived to drill home the rebound.
However, the hosts were level six minutes later as Janssen curled home a peach of a free-kick into the top corner from 22 yards that gave Julio Cesar no chance.
Twente were buoyed and Dwight Tiendalli had a crack from distance that Cesar had to push behind for a corner.
On 29 minutes Janssen had another free-kick opportunity and went for the other side this time, but Cesar bounded across his line to tip it away for a corner.
However, Janssen curled his sumptuous left foot around the ball from the flag to dump it into the danger zone, where Milito inadvertently headed it past a helpless Cesar.
Inter went close to levelling on 36 minutes following a flowing move that saw Esteban Cambiasso feed Milito, who spread the ball wide to Eto’o to cross for Cambiasso, who had continued his run, but the Argentine hooked the ball onto the bar.
The Italians were level on 41 minutes, though, as Eto’o played a one-two with Goran Pandev and hit a crisp shot from distance that skimmed off the drenched surface and crept inside the right-hand post.
Back came Twente in first-half injury time and Austrian Marc Janko headed narrowly over from Venezuelan Rosales’s pin-point cross.
The second half was low-key by comparison.
The first piece of action came halfway through the period after teenage Brazilian Coutinho had replaced the injured Pandev, but his shot from 12 yards hit countryman Douglas and flew away to safety.
That was the only chance of note but the home fans were delighted with their point and gave their team a rousing reception on the whistle.
However, the game ended in controversy as TV replays showed Kenya midfielder McDonald Mariga head-butting Janssen just before the final whistle; an action that sparked a brawl between Janssen and Eto’o.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!