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Disappointing Inter held by dogged Bremen

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Oct 2008

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Inter Milan suffered a Champions League setback as they were held to a 1-1 home draw in Group B on Wednesday by Werder Bremen.

It was a hugely positive result for the Germans who had failed to beat Cypriot minnows Anorthosis Famagusta at home in their opening match two weeks ago.

But Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho will not have been happy after watching his side fail to win for the second match in a row, following Sunday’s derby loss to AC Milan.

Inter are still joint top of the group on four points with Anorthosis – who walloped Greek side Panathinaikos 3-1 – while Bremen are third with two points.

Mourinho sprung a surprise at kick-off, picking three central strikers with Adriano and teenager Mario Balotelli flanking Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

It took Inter just 20 seconds to signal their intent as Ibrahimovic broke down the left and crossed for Adriano, who controlled the ball on his chest and then swivelled to send an acrobatic volley over the bar.

Adriano then returned the favour on eight minutes with a deep cross from the left that Ibrahimovic took down on his chest before his volley was blocked away for a corner.

But it was some sloppy defending on 13 minutes that allowed the Italian champions to go in front as two defenders tackled Adriano only to see the ball bobble free to overlapping right-back Maicon who galloped forward and chipped goalkeeper Tim Wiese.

Bremen soon responded as their Brazilian playmaker Diego stung his compatriot Julio Cesar’s hands with a shot from distance.

The Germans should have been level on 39 minutes as full-back Sebastian Proedl crossed from the right and Peru striker Claudio Pizarro, who played under Mourinho at Chelsea, got ahead of his man but saw his close range shot come back off the near post.

For a team that had scored 10 goals in their previous two matches, Werder had offered little up front in the first 45 minutes.

But they came out with more ambition after the break and were deservedly level on 62 minutes.

Left midfielder Mesut Ozil switched over to the right flank and sent over a deep inswinging cross that Pizarro poked over the line with an outstretched leg at the back post.

Werder were starting to take control of the match and Mourinho responded by throwing on Portugual winger Ricardo Quaresma in place of the ineffectual Serbia midfielder Dejan Stankovic.

Quaresma immediately gave Inter the width they had been missing and the hosts started to look more dangerous.

Mourinho also sent on Julio Cruz who five minutes from time came within inches of turning home an Ibrahimovic cross.

Maicon then strode forward onto a crossfield ball from Quaresma before cutting inside and almost grabbed his second goal of the evening but his shot with the outside of his right foot clipped the post.

Bremen then came within a whisker of snatching victory in injury time as Julio Cesar saved a free-kick from countryman Naldo before Pizarro lashed the rebound into the side netting.

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