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Mancini praises Inter subs

November 02, 2005 11:34 IST

Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini praised the performance of his substitutes Julio Ricardo Cruz and Sinisa Mihajlovic after they proved decisive in the 2-1 win over Porto in Champions League Group H on Tuesday.

Inter's comeback victory, with both goals coming from Argentine Cruz who was a replacement for the out-of-sorts Brazilian Adriano, gave them a four-point lead at the top of the group with two matches remaining.

"Cruz was important for us tonight with his goals even though Adriano did his job," said Mancini who said he had brought on Serbian Mihajlovic for his ability at set-pieces.

The switch worked perfectly. After causing trouble with a free kick and then a corner, Mihajlovic created the winning goal with a corner headed in by Cruz who had earlier equalised from the penalty spot.

"I brought on Sinisa because we weren't causing them trouble with free kicks and corners, we weren't dangerous enough. Sinisa is simply extraordinary in dead-ball situations," said Mancini, who played with Mihajlovic at Sampdoria and Lazio.

Mancini also had praise for his other sub, Argentine Esteban Cambiasso, who started on the bench due to fitness problems

but brought some much needed order to the midfield in the second half.

"Cambiasso is a key player for us and he did very well bringing his qualities to the side, although (Juan Sebastian) Veron and (David) Pizarro had done well," he said.

Porto took the lead in the 16th minute with a superbly struck free kick from over 30 metres out by Hugo Almeida and Mancini said his side had struggled after that setback.

"The goal was the only real shot they had but then they closed up and it became hard work for us. When we got the equaliser it became easier though," he said.

Porto's Dutch coach Co Adriaanse said he had no complaints about the result.

"In our defeats against Artmedia and Rangers we lost despite being the better side but tonight that wasn't the case -- Inter were better than us and deserved the win," he said.

"It was a pity to suffer the penalty but then we should have held on to a 1-1 which would have been a positive result," he said.

Porto are bottom of the group with three points but Adriaanse said there was still hope for qualification: "If we get two victories we can be there and that is what we have to aim for."
Simon Evans
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