MILAN (AFP) - Inter Milan will take a slender lead to the Luzhniki Stadium next Tuesday after beating CSKA Moscow 1-0 at the San Siro here on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
'Il Principe' Diego Milito scored the only goal of the game during an Inter siege in the second half after a forgettable first 45 minutes.
Jose Mourinho's team, listless in the first period, were unrecognisable after the break and will be disappointed to have managed only the one goal.
That it stayed 1-0 was thanks largely to goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, a reported target for Manchester United who will have bolstered his burgeoning reputation with this performance.
Mourinho claimed he would have been happy with the result had it been offered to him before kick-off but lamented the fact they did not turn their domination into a more convincing victory.
"If before the game someone offered me this result I'd have taken it straight away because it's a good result in the Champions League. It's a win and we'll go ahead with that," he said.
"But we played in a way where we should be able to be already thinking about the semi-finals but unfortunately we are not and we have a difficult game in Moscow to come."
CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky admitted he was quite happy to have kept the score to 1-0.
"Of course 1-0 is a good result but we should have been able to do better," he said.
"We hoped to get a 0-0 but given how many chances they had it could have been a lot worse than this.
"It didn't go the way we hoped it would, especially in attack. We were under a lot of pressure in defence and it was a difficult game.
"I hope that in Moscow in the return leg we'll be able to better organise our play."
In the first quarter of an hour there was little to get excited about although Wesley Sneijder made sure Akinfeev was awake from a free-kick and then Sergei Ignashevich returned the compliment for Julio Cesar.
The first real opportunity came on 22 minutes as Goran Pandev hit a rising shot from almost 25 yards that sailed just over the bar.
Moments later Japan star Keisuke Honda teed up Milos Krasic in a great shooting position inside the box but the Serbian midfielder shanked his effort miles off target.
Nine minutes before the break Samuel Eto'o jinked into the CSKA area but his shot hit Esteban Cambiasso, who was in an offside position.
Mourinho must have said something to his players at half-time because Inter finally got going an hour in after a dreadful clearance from CSKA fell straight to Cambiasso 25 yards out and he fed the marauding Dejan Stankovic - but the Serbian got the ball caught between his feet and his poked finish was straight at Akinfeev.
The hosts were playing with more urgency and intensity and Pandev brought a flying one-handed save out of Akinfeev with a curling shot while the goalkeeper then plunged low to his right to hold onto an Eto'o effort.
The sudden surge of pressure told on 65 minutes as Sneijder passed to Milito, who found the bottom right hand corner from the edge of the area.
Next up it was the turn of veteran centre-half Marco Materazzi to head over from a free-kick.
Inter were now rampant and Pandev played a one-two with Milito before rounding Akinfeev but Aleksei Berezutski got back to hack his shot off the line on 71 minutes.
Sneijder had a golden opportunity to double the lead on 84 minutes as Eto'o found him free on the left hand side of the area but instead of shooting left footed he pulled the ball back onto his right and then fired it wide of the near post.
Two minutes later and Akinfeev was a double hero punching away a rifled effort from Cambiasso and then deflecting a rocket from Stankovic over the bar.
|Coach: José Mourinho|
for G. Pandev 90+4'
|UEFA rule out CSKA punishment|
|J.League Review: Urawa extend lead despite draw, Tokushima relegated|
|UEFA investigating Luiz Adriano allegations|
|Bentaleb out of Asteras Tripolis clash|
|Rafael: Chelsea are beatable|
|Cannavaro assets seized in tax fraud probe|
|Leverkusen ordered to repay over €16m to former sponsor|
|Remy hopeful of facing United|
|Gerrard: I may regret Real snubs|
|FA investigating Jerome racism allegation|
|Alcaraz takes over at Levante|
|Wenger backs Martinez to take his chance|
|Benatia: Media judged me too soon|
|CAF hits out at Platini|
|Mourinho calm over striker shortage|
|Kompany fumes at presence of CSKA fans|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Timbers eliminated|
|Jerome complains of racial abuse|
|Lanus 1 Cerro Porteno 1: Paraguayans reach quarters|
|A-League Preview: Another blow for Melbourne City ahead of derby|
|Luiz Adriano alleges racism|
|Yermakovich laments lack of quality, errors|
|Lopetegui pleased with important win|
|Luiz Adriano overjoyed with record-equalling haul|
|Blanc hails PSG´s fighting spirit|
|Melbourne City confirm Villa departure|
|Mixed feelings for Donis|
|Chelsea are ´serious contenders´ - Simundza|
|Valverde remaining positive|
|Silva slams penalty decision after Sporting loss|
|De Boer unhappy with early Ajax caution|
|League Two Review: Wycombe lose at Exeter, Burton win thriller|
|Championship Review: Derby go top, Birmingham struggles continue|
|Guardiola plays down dominant Bayern win|
|Schalke grateful for controversial penalty win|
|Rakitic takes heart from Barca performance|
|League One Review: Crewe run continues as Preston win again|
|Garcia accepts blame for Bayern mauling|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Sevilla, Napoli hit the road|
|Drogba delight as Maribor pay the penalty|
|Schalke 4 Sporting Lisbon 3: Choupo-Moting heroics earn Di Matteo incredible win|
|BATE 0 Shakhtar Donetsk 7: Luiz Adriano the five-goal hero|
|APOEL 0 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Late Cavani strike seals victory|
|Barcelona 3 Ajax 1: Messi and Neymar help sink Dutch champions|
|Chelsea 6 Maribor 0: Drogba on target in comfortable success|
|Porto 2 Athletic Bilbao 1: Quaresma leaves it late to ensure maximum points|
|Roma 1 Bayern Munich 7: Guardiola´s men run riot in Rome|
|Slutsky delighted with CSKA spirit|
|Sloppy City frustrate Pellegrini|
|Lille v Everton: Martinez´s men look to continue recovery|
|Tottenham v Asteras Tripolis: Spurs begin big week with group leaders|
|Bale out of Clasico, confirms Ancelotti|
|Galatasaray the perfect test for Dortmund, says Klopp|
|CSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Visitors remain winless after spurning two-goal lead|
|Rodgers plays down Bale absence|
|Allegri urges Juventus to keep calm|
|Subotic wants confidence-boosting victory|
|Fernandes apologises for Taarabt-Redknapp spat|
|Lopes hopeful of return after mini-stroke|
|Gabi to miss out for Atletico|
|Inter v Saint-Etienne: Mazzarri´s men eye next step to last 32|
|Hasi warns of Arsenal threat|
|Verona hit with fine and partial stadium closure|
|Sunderland players offer fans refund after Southampton mauling|
|Schmidt wants Leverkusen reaction|
|Redknapp: Taarabt the worst professional I have ever come across|
|´I haven´t been up to my full potential´, admits Shaw|
|Flamini: Injuries no excuse for Arsenal form|
|Busquets to miss Ajax clash|
|Bale out of Anfield clash|
|Levante sack Mendilibar|
|Platini talks down Ronaldo´s Ballon d´Or chances|
|Messi and Ronaldo out of this world in UEFA Champions League space race|
|Bring on Bilbao - Lopetegui|
|J.League Preview: Petrovic positive despite Urawa form|
|Argentine Primera Division Review: Calleri inspires Boca|
|Guardiola: Garcia´s Roma reign ´wonderful´|
|Chilean Primera Division Review: Colo Colo claim key win|
|Mata had ´no relationship´ with Mourinho|
|Paraguayan Division Profesional Review: Libertad gain ground, Cerro Porteno held|
|Lovren demands better display|
|´Arrogant´ Van Gaal insists United can catch Chelsea|
|Sociedad loss a ´hammer blow´ - Arrasate|
|Genoa deserved a penalty - Gasperini|
|Passion kept me at Roma - De Rossi|
|Irvine ´bitterly disappointed´, questions Fellaini´s goal|
|Taarabt hits back at Redknapp claims|
|Genoa 1 Empoli 1: Tonelli hands visitors a point|
|Van Gaal blames United errors for draw|
|Real Sociedad 1 Getafe 2: Yoda brace stuns San Sebastian|
|West Brom 2 Manchester United 2: Blind rescues point for Van Gaal´s men|
|Russian Premier League Review: CSKA, Rubin claim easy victories|
|De Boer calls for confident Ajax|
|Robben hails Roma ahead of Champions League showdown|
|Turkish Super Lig Review: Besiktas win again, Sneijder settles derby|
|Monaco v Benfica: Jardim to face off with former rivals|
|Cordoba turn to Djukic|
|Anderlecht v Arsenal: Wenger on the defensive after domestic struggles|
|Ferrer fired by Cordoba|
|Olympiacos v Juventus: Allegri´s men face stern Greek test|
|PSG will not hide behind injuries, says Blanc|
|Podolski rubbishes Spurs rumours|
|Galatasaray among teams fined by UEFA|
|Stoke loan out Butland and Wilkinson|
|Atletico Madrid v Malmo: Turan warns Spanish champions|
|Di Matteo: Sporting clashes crucial|
|Donbass Arena heavily damaged by shelling|
|Toure getting back to his best - Pellegrini|
|Liverpool v Real Madrid: Rodgers marvels at Real quality|
|Starke injury adds to Bayern´s goalkeeper troubles|
|Bayer Leverkusen v Zenit: Bellarabi wants consistent focus|
|Birmingham part company with Clark|
|Roma not afraid of Bayern, insists Garcia|
|Ludogorets v Basel: Sousa after more of the same|
|Galatasaray v Borussia Dortmund: Reus calls for unity|
|Luis Enrique coy on Messi sub snub|
|Indian Super League Preview: Chennaiyin with chance to go top|
|Costa to miss Maribor clash|
|League Two Preview: Wilcox promises York improvement, Tranmere seek to end losing streak|
|League One Preview: Grayson excited by Preston form|
|Championship Preview: Birmingham begin life without Clark, Fulham out to continue revival|
|Ronaldo will retire at Real insists Ancelotti|
|Musa: City are weak at the back|
|El Shaarawy: I could have played better|
|Allardyce targets City scalp|
|Bale suffers hip injury|
|Atleti cannot rely on set-pieces, says Suarez|
|Martinez: Baines at another level|
|Juan: Inter must maintain hunger|
|Van Gaal: Three month comment was stupid|
|Bielsa proud to equal Marseille record|
|Redknapp: No one could do better than me|
|Manolas: I rejected Juve and Arsenal for Roma|
|Winning without Costa delights Mourinho|
|Mannone vows to repay fans|
|Balotelli ´doing his best´, insists Rodgers|
|Marseille feeling streak fatigue|
|Fournier hails substitutes´ influence|
|Copa Sudamericana Preview: River wary of Libertad|
|Colombian Primera A Review: Santa Fe stay top, Medellin lose|
|Valencia must bounce back - Nuno|
|Ecuadorian Primera A Review: Blanco inspires Barcelona|
|Liga del Futbol Profesional Boliviano Review: Wilstermann go top, Blooming slip up|
|MLS Review: Sounders deny Galaxy, Donovan|
|Venezuelan Primera Division Review: Caracas continue rise, Tachira stumble|
|Uruguayan Primera Division Review: Alonso´s brace inspires rampaging Nacional|
|Inter behind Mazzarri - Ausilio|
|Peruvian Primera Division Review: Alianza Lima leapfrog Union Comercio|
|Benitez happy with second half|
|Costa Rican Primera Division Review: Alajuelense jump clear, Saprissa win fifth straight|
|Liga MX Review: Leon continue resurgence|
|Brazilian Serie A Review: Cruzeiro, Sao Paulo bounce back|
|Hart: Aguero ´useless´ in training|