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  Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 23:03 GMT
Inter end Valencia run
Nicola Ventola celebrates his goal with Mohammed Kallon (left)
Ventola scored the decisive goal for Inter
Valencia 0-1 Inter Milan (1-2 on aggregate)

Inter Milan inflicted Valencia's first home defeat in Europe since 1992 to go through to the semi-finals of the Uefa Cup.

A second-minute goal from Nicola Ventola proved enough for the Italian side.

Inter's victory marked a happy return to the Mestalla stadium for their coach, Hector Cuper, who guided Valencia to two successive Champions League finals before leaving for Italy last summer.

Valencia's defeat ended their 33-match unbeaten home record in European competition.

Inter Milan's Gugli shields the ball from Valencia's Curro Torres
Milan's Gugli shields the ball from Curro Torres
Valencia dominated the game but failed to make a breakthrough.

Inter had their goalkeeper Francesco Toldo sent off in the 88th minute but managed to hold on.

They went into the game without injured stars Christian Vieri and Ronaldo, but stunned Valencia with the early match-winning goal.

Sierra Leone striker Mohammed Kallon was gifted the ball by Valencia left back Fabio Aurelio and set Ventola free.

Toldo dismissed

The striker made no mistake, stroking the ball over goalkeeper Santiago Canizares.

Valencia suffered a second blow in the 16th minute when their Argentine central defender Roberto Ayala had to go off after colliding with Ventola.

Valencia were initially thrown off their stride but battled back to take control of the rest of the first half.

Norwegian striker John Carew spurned two good opportunities and rightback Curro Torres should have done better with a shot in the 22nd minute.

The second half continued in the same fashion with the Spanish side surging forward.

With Inter clinging on grimly, Toldo was Inter's saviour in the 75th minute as he pulled off a reflex save from a Miguel Angel Ferrer volley.

Toldo was dismissed with two minutes left after receiving a second yellow card for timewasting.

As Cuper had used all his substitutes, midfielder Francisco Javier Farinos, a former Valencia player, was forced to take the keeper's jersey.

He survived five minutes of injury time to give Inter a hard-fought victory.

Valencia: Canizares, Aurelio, Pellegrino, Ayala, Curro Torres, Vicente, de los Santos, Albelda, Rufete, Aimar, Carew. Subs: Palop, Djukic, Marchena, Baraja, Mista, Sanchez, Angulo.

Inter Milan: Toldo, Javier Zanetti, Materazzi, Cordoba, Sergio Conceicao, Farinos, Di Biagio, Guglielminpietro, Gresko, Ventola, Kallon. Subs: Fontana, Cristiano Zanetti, Seedorf, Emre, Recoba, Dalmat, Simic.

Referee: C Colombo (France).

Links to more Uefa Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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