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Torres is Liverpool’s hero

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TAKE AIM…FIRE: Fernando Torres gave Liverpool the winner in its away match against Inter Milan, and the Reds went through to the quarterfinals on a 3-0 aggregate.
TAKE AIM…FIRE: Fernando Torres gave Liverpool the winner in its away match against Inter Milan, and the Reds went through to the quarterfinals on a 3-0 aggregate.

The former champion enters last eight

MILAN: Fernando Torres scored a second-half goal to give Liverpool a 1-0 victory over 10-man Inter Milan on Tuesday and send the Reds to the European Champions League quarterfinals.

Liverpool, which won the tournament in 2005 and lost in the final last year, advanced with a 3-0 aggregate after winning 2-0 at Anfield in the first leg three weeks ago.

Mancini to step down

Later, Inter coach Roberto Mancini later announced he will step down at the end of the season.

“I think for me the next two and a half months will be my last on the Inter bench,” Mancini said.

Torres controlled a cross inside the area and beat Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar with a low shot in the 64th minute. Inter played the last 40 minutes a man down after defender Nicolas Burdisso was sent off with his second yellow card.

Liverpool joins three other English Premier League teams — Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal — in the quarterfinals, making this the first time four teams from the same country have made it to the final eight.

Inter and Liverpool played a week after the other Champions League games to avoid games with English teams played on consecutive days at Milan’s San Siro stadium, the home of both Inter and AC Milan. Arsenal defeated Milan last week 2-0 at San Siro.

Early pressure

Both teams pushed for an early goal: Inter seeking to quickly reduce the first-leg deficit and Liverpool trying to all but decide the issue.

Inter created the best chances in the first half with Julio Cruz coming close on two occasions.

In the 30th, he shot just wide from the side of the box with teammate Dejan Stankovic unmarked in front of the goal, and in the 43rd when he attempted a no-look, behind-the-back shot that Arsenal goalkeeper Pepe Reina was well positioned to save.

But Inter’s offensive forays left it vulnerable to counters and Liverpool twice exploited the openings but failed to convert.

Cesar needed to come outside his area in the 25th to cut off a long pass intended for Ryan Babel, and three minutes later blocked a close-range shot from Torres. — Agencies

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