Champions League

Inter defence cracks

2008-11-05 06:50
Julio Cruz

Nicosia - Striker Julio Cruz headed in 10 minutes from time to spare defender Nicolas Burdisso's blushes and give Inter Milan a 3-3 draw at Anorthosis Famagusta in Champions League Group B on Tuesday.

A win would have put the Serie A champions through to the last 16 but instead the group leaders gifted Anorthosis three goals.

Mario Balotelli and Marco Materazzi twice put Inter ahead in the first half but poor headers from Burdisso and Esteban Cambiasso allowed Cedric Bardon and Georgios Panagi to twice equalise.

Argentina defender Burdisso then got in another muddle with a header and Nikolaos Frousos fired home five minutes after the break before substitute Cruz nodded in Balotelli's free kick.

"There were incredible individual errors. They really were gifts even if Christmas is still a way off," Inter coach Jose Mourinho told reporters.

Inter, who beat the Cypriots 1-0 at home two weeks ago, took the lead on 13 minutes when Zlatan Ibrahimovic's swerving free kick was parried by goalkeeper Arian Beqaj and Balotelli slotted home despite protests that he was offside.

The Cypriots hit back on the half hour when Burdisso tried to head a long ball back to Julio Cesar only to find his goalkeeper standing next him, leaving Bardon with an empty net.

Defender Materazzi put the visitors back in front on 44 minutes when he headed in Balotelli's corner with the home defence appealing for a push.

Moments later the hosts were level again when Inter failed to deal with a corner and Cambiasso headed the ball against the back of Panagi's head and it flew in.

Mourinho's side had a number of chances to snatch victory, with Cambiasso feeling he had an effort which crossed the line.

"We scored seven goals. Four in their net because Cambiasso's was a goal, and three in our net," the coach joked.

"But given the state of the group it's a good point."

The Italians, who had drawn two of their last three league games and only beat Reggina 3-2 on Saturday with a stoppage time goal, have eight points with Anorthosis, now eight matches unbeaten at home in Europe, on five with two games left.

"The next match against (Werder) Bremen at home is crucial," Anorthosis coach Temuri Ketsbaia said. "Match after match we are chasing a higher position in the group. My players have the quality and determination to achieve better results."

Inter's next opponents Panathinaikos have four points after triumphing 3-0 at Bremen, who remain on three.

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