Spurs took a three-goal advantage into the San Siro leg courtesy of their brilliant performance at home last week but they only managed to progress to the next phase on away goals after the two-legged tie ended 4-4 after extra-time.
Antonio Cassano gave Inter the lead on the night in the 20th minute when he headed home Rodrigo Palacio’s cross from six yards before the provider turned scorer seven minutes into the second half by producing a curling shit past Brad Friedel.
The Nerazzurri fans erupted when they hit level terms in the 75th minute thanks to William Gallas’ own-goal which came after Cassano’s free-kick had made its way through the wall.
Extra-time was required with the scoreline at 3-3 but just six minutes in, Emmanuel Adebayor edged Spurs ahead by slotting home from close range after Inter keeper Samir Handanovic spilled Mousa Dembele’s initial effort.
There was one more twist to the epic contest, however, with substitute Ricardo Alvarez giving Inter further hope by nodding home Cassano’s cross but in the end time ran out as Tottenham gained a final eight berth without star winger Gareth Bale.
2012/13 Europa League – Round of 16 second leg
San Siro, Milan – 18,241