It was Togolese international Emmanuel Adebayor who cropped up in the sixth minute of extra time to score a priceless away goal for the visitors who had looked to be crashing out of the competition with the Italian club leading 4-3 on aggregate.
It was a particularly sweet goal for Adebayor, who had had to endure racist chants throughout the game from the Inter faithful.
Of the unsavoury home supports chants, Spurs manager Andre Villas Boas said; “It was very, very easy to hear the chanting so I’m sure UEFA will act on it.”
“It’s very difficult for Inter Milan, because it’s happened before. It doesn’t mar the game but it’s something that should not have happened.”
Such racial incidences have haunted Spurs and their supporters throughout their European adventures this season, with fans being attacked by Lazio ultras in Rome and extremists in Lyon.
Spurs had been indomitable in the first leg of the tie at White Hart Lane and were carrying a three goal aggregate advantage into the San Siro, but from the first whistle they never looked comfortable.
Goals from Antonio Cassano, Rodrigo Palacio, substitute Ricky Alvarez and an own goal from veteran French centre-half, William Gallas saw the Italian side destroy Spurs’ first leg lead.
But the extremely late strike from Adebayor was enough to squeeze Spurs passed Inter where they will join fellow English Premier League sides Chelsea and Newcastle United, who defeated Steaua Bucharest and Anzhi Makhachkala respectively.
“Every goal was a boost of motivation for them and knife in the back for us.” said Spurs’ Portguese manager after the game.
“Did I feel fear? I always believed in my players, so I can’t really indicate a particular moment.
“We had a couple of great chances but, in the end, we got that key away goal in extra-time.”
Much maligned Chelsea striker, Fernando Torres was the hero at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea ran out 3-1 winners against Romanian champions Bucharest, while Ghanaian Papiss Cisse scored a late winner to see Newcastle through against Russian side Anzhi.