Inter were expected to emerge from this tie with relative ease yet the first-leg in Milan showed the Russian team will not give up without a fight. The Nerazzurri were able to record a 1-0 victory and will play in Moscow having secured only a slender lead.
The Italian champions will probably focus on scoring a goal early on in order kill off the resistance of CSKA and play the rest of the match with a more comfortable cushion considering an Inter goal would require the Russians to respond with three goals if they wanted to qualify. It is highly unlikely to see the Nerazzurri conceded three goals against CSKA Moscow.
With Portuguese Coach Jose Mourinho in charge the players will be highly motivated and focused on achieving qualification in order to turn attention to the two upcoming clashes against Fiorentina in Serie A and then Coppa Italia. Mourinho will have almost a full-squad to choose from after recalling controversial forward Mario Balotelli who has been excluded from the Inter team in recent games due to his confrontations with the Portuguese Coach.
Inter will rely on Diego Milito and Mario Balotelli for scoring goals while Esteban Cambiasso will be looked upon to dominate the middle of the pitch in order to dictate the pace and direction of the match. The main concern for Mourinho is whether Wesley Sneijder can play while the hosts will miss their star player and top scorer in the Champions League Milos Krasic.
The host club did look resolute and coped well with Inter’s attacks except for the winning goal. Despite being the home team it would not be a surprise if they opted for a defensive strategy and waited on Inter to tire or get frustrated before striking back and pressuring the Nerazzurri to concede at least a goal to force over-time. From that stage on anything is possible whether in the extra-time or if there’s a need for the penalty-kicks to decide the tie. Overall the Nerazzurri will be favourites and should be able to go through with Mourinho having the additional incentive of wanting to prove himself, to show critics he can with the Champions League with Inter and to get closer to facing Barcelona.