Chelsea stumbled out of the Champions League – to Jose Mourinho of all people – after a 78th-minute goal from Samuel Eto’o earned Internazionale a deserved 1-0 win in their second round second leg duel at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho had promised to restrain any celebrations at the final whistle but this must have been one of the most special nights of even the Special One’s highly eventual and successful career.
As Chelsea disintegrated so Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba maintained his record of getting himself sent off on the biggest European occasions after being shown a straight red following an off-the-ball skirmish with Motta. By then Inter already held a decisive advantage in the tie since they had already won the inital duel 2-1 in the Stadio Meazza in San Siro.
Mourinho’s return to west London, where he guided Chelsea to two Premier League titles before falling out with owner Roman Abramovich, had been one of the most eagerly-awaited events of the football year thus far.
He did not disappoint. Mourinho sent out Inter in an unusually attack-balanced formation – featuring Milito, Pandev and Eto’o – and duly held the initiative for most of the first half.