Milan: Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder propelled Inter Milan to their first Champions League semi-final since 2003 with an early goal that secured a 1-0 victory over CSKA Moscow in their last eight second leg clash.
Sneijder, who will play a key role for the Netherlands at the World Cup finals in South Africa, fired the Italians ahead less than six minutes into the game when his low 20-metre free kick skidded under CSKA`s defensive wall and evaded goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev.
With Inter holding a 1-0 lead from the first leg, Sneijder`s goal all but killed the home team`s chances as the Italian champions held firm for a comfortable 2-0 win on aggregate.
CSKA`s Nigerian defender Chidi Odiah was sent off in the 49th minute after he picked up his second yellow card after a foul on Samuel Eto`o.
Asked by reporters if the game plan was to strike early, Inter coach Jose Mourinho said: "The plan was to score before them.”
"In the first leg we had 10 shots before scoring, today we scored on our first shot and the tie is in the pocket. After that, the game was easy to control," he added.
"You could see emotionally the CSKA players were down after giving up that goal and we just had to control the tempo."
CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky conceded the early goal effectively settled the tie.
"We prepared a whole system how to play them," Slutsky, dubbed the "Russian Mourinho" by local media for his tactical approach, told a news conference. "But it was all out the window when they scored after just six minutes."