Valencia hold Inter to 2-2 draw

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Valencia rallied to a 2-2 draw with Inter Milan in the first leg of the second round of the Champions League.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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David Silva scored an 86th-minute equaliser on Wednesday to help Valencia rally to a 2-2 draw with Inter Milan in the first leg of the second round of the Champions League. Silva scored with a shot from 30 meters, 12 minutes after Inter defender Maicon tapped in the host team's second goal. David Villa got Valencia's first goal in the 64th with a free kick, after Esteban Cambiasso put Inter ahead with a 28th-minute header. "It wasn't the result we wanted," Inter coach Roberto Mancini said. "I'm not beaten but I'm disappointed because it was a game we should have won." It was Valencia's fourth draw with Inter in seven meetings. The second leg is scheduled for March 6. "It's a good result but we mustn't get carried away," Valencia coach Quique Sanchez Flores said. "The battle is only half done." Silva scored the crucial away goal after Inter failed to clear a corner properly. Cambiasso, who looked about two meters offsides, gave Inter the lead by heading into an empty net as the hosts controlled much of the first half. Conceding fouls The visitors got more physical after the break and conceded a number of fouls, but the tactic still helped Villa equalise in the 64th. Maicon restored Inter's lead in the 76th, side-footing Julio Ricardo Cruz's pass beyond Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares. "When we went back in front, I thought that we would go on (to win) 3-1," Mancini said. "Then, Silva scored a great goal. We were distracted. We should do better at set pieces." Following Patrick Vieira's late withdrawal due to a thigh injury, Cambiasso anchored a four-man midfield for Inter, with Luis Figo coming in as a playmaker behind strikers Hernan Crespo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Cambiasso made his mark on the game in the opening exchanges, helping Inter keep Valencia forwards Fernando Morientes, Silva and Villa off the ball. The midfielder then set up Crespo with a 10th-minute chip, which the striker was unable to collect cleanly and the ball trickled wide of Canizares. Canizares almost gifted Inter a goal a minute later with a poor clearance which rebounded off Ibrahimovic, but the ball was cleared off the line by a Valencia defender Raul Albiol. On the following play, Cambiasso curled in a cross, which Ibrahimovic headed onto the post. Figo won a free kick in the 27th when he was fouled by Valencia defender David Albelda, who received a yellow card. Canizares did well to save Ibrahimovic's volley off Figo's free kick a minute later, but Cambiasso put back the rebound. Cambiasso left the field with an apparent injury in the 31st and was replaced by Olivier Dacourt. Figo was involved again in the 42nd, whipping in a cross which a diving Crespo headed wide. Valencia's best chance of the first half fell to Villa just before halftime but the striker was off target from just inside the area. Valencia was missing six international players, including defender Asier del Horno and midfielders Ruben Baraja and Vicente Rodriguez. The game was played in front of a reduced capacity at San Siro after Italian soccer officials imposed strict security measures in the wake of the February 2 killing of a policeman in rioting by fans at a Serie A game in Sicily. About 23,000 spectators, including 1,800 Valencia fans, were allowed into the 83,600-seat stadium.

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