Inter, Manchester United Reach Champions League Quarterfinals

Inter Milan scored with two minutes to play to keep alive the defense of its Champions League soccer title, while Manchester United withstood a late rally by Marseille to advance to the quarterfinals.

Facing a 3-2 defeat to Bayern over the two-game series, Inter advanced on the away goals rule after Goran Pandev scored in the 88th minute at the Allianz Arena in Munich to make it 3-2 to Milan on the night and 3-3 on aggregate.

“It’s a great moment, a fantastic joy,” Inter coach Leonardo told reporters. “It’s a sign that these players have great faith in the team. We never give up. The European champions are still standing.”

At Old Trafford, Javier Hernandez scored twice for Manchester United, which held on to beat Marseille 2-1 after Wes Brown scored an own goal in the 83rd minute. The first game in the tie was scoreless.

“It was nervy,” United coach Alex Ferguson told reporters. “Players kept coming off with injuries. It shifted the balance of the team.”

In a rematch of last year’s final, Inter scored in the third minute through Samuel Eto’o. Bayern took a 2-1 halftime lead, and 3-1 advantage on aggregate, following goals by Mario Gomez and Thomas Muller.

Wesley Sneijder and Pandev then scored in the second half as Inter became the second team to advance in the Champions League after losing the first leg at home.

Eto’o opened the scoring when he beat the Bayern defense to take a pass from Pandev and slide a shot under goalkeeper Thomas Kraft.

Gomez Scores

Gomez, who scored the goal in Bayern’s opening 1-0 win, tied the game in the 21st minute after Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar failed to hold a long shot from Arjen Robben. It was Gomez’s eighth goal in the tournament this season, tying Eto’o and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi for the competition lead.

Muller made it 3-1 overall 10 minutes later when he collected Robben’s deflected pass in the area and lifted a shot over Cesar.

Inter pulled a goal back in the 63rd minute as Sneijder put a low shot from 20 yards (18 meters) inside the far post. Eto’o then sent a ball across the area to Pandev, who fired a shot into the top corner to complete the comeback.

“It’s unbelievable; I don’t know how it came to this,” Robben told reporters. “It doesn’t seem possible that we could concede three goals against a side like that.”

Ajax is the only other team to advance in the Champions League after losing the first game at home. The Amsterdam club beat Panathinaikos 3-0 in Athens after a 1-0 home defeat to reach the 1996 final.

Hernandez’s goals sent United into the quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive season.

Opening Goal

The home team took the lead in the fifth minute. United striker Wayne Rooney found Ryan Giggs on the left wing before collecting the return pass in the area and playing a low cross for Hernandez to tap the ball into the net at the far post.

Marseille had two chances to draw even. Andre-Pierre Gignac sent his shot over the goal after being sent through and Souleymane Diawara headed wide from six yards out. Benoit Cheyrou also had a long shot that United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar palmed away.

Former United defender Gabriel Heinze missed another chance to tie it for Marseille in the 60th minute when he headed wide and Van der Sar went down to stop a shot from Cheyrou 14 minutes later.

Second Goal

United made it 2-0 less than a minute later as Antonio Valencia sent a pass into the area for Giggs, whose low cross found Hernandez for his second goal of the game.

Marseille closed to 2-1 as Brown headed a corner into his own net with eight minutes remaining.

“We missed an opportunity because we had the chances,” Marseille manager Didier Deschamps told reporters. “They were nervous. Unfortunately we failed to score the second goal. In such games you need to approach them quite relaxed and I felt the players were a bit tense. We tried, but it was not to be.”

Barcelona, Schalke, Shakhtar Donetsk and Tottenham qualified for the quarterfinals last week. The final two spots will be determined tonight. Chelsea takes a 2-0 into its home match with Copenhagen and Real Madrid hosts Lyon tied 1-1.

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