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23 July 2024

Inter Milan out of Champions League

Photo: AFP


Inter Milan crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday after being held 1-1 by PSV Eindhoven at the San Siro as Group B rivals Tottenham Hotspur gained a point against Barcelona.

The Serie A side needed to better Spurs' result at the Camp Nou in order to overtake the Premier League outfit and snatch a place in the knockout rounds.

Luciano Spalletti's side thought they had done enough in the 73rd minute when captain Mauro Icardi marked his 200th game for the club by equalising Hirving Lozano's 13th-minute opener, with Spurs a goal down in Catalonia.

However Lucas Moura levelled at 1-1 for Tottenham, enabling his team to advance to the last 16 thanks to the away goal they scored in their 2-1 defeat at the San Siro.

Inter lost 1-0 at Tottenham last time out, meaning Spurs go through in second place with a superior head-to-head record.

"We got nervous, lost too many balls, created disorder at the tactical level and tension set in," said Inter coach Luciano Spalletti of the former three-time winners.

"We had the match we needed but didn't capitalise on the chances we had.

"As the anxiety grows, you lose sight of how to control the game."

"We could have remained more balanced and instead we let ourselves be carried away by tensions, by the public mood," he added, as the goals from the Tottenham v Barcelona game were broadcast in the stadium.

"How do you hide the result of your opponents? The public cheer."

- Painful end to Inter return -

The hosts, who lifted the title in 2010 with Jose Mourinho and were returning to the competition for the first time since 2012, got off to a good start against already-eliminated PSV, coached by former AC Milan midfielder Mark van Bommel.

Icardi sent in a long ball five minutes into the game which Ivan Persic got his head to but the Croatia winger's effort clipped the post.

After the initial scare PSV regrouped their defence and proved increasingly dangerous on the counter-attack.

The Dutch broke through following a monstrous blunder by Inter midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah.

The Ghanaian was caught in possession by Steven Bergwijn, with the ball flying across the face of goal and Lozano nodding in at the back post.

Asamoah struggled throughout the first half and almost conceded a second with an accidental assist for Luuk De Jong, but Samir Handanovic rushed off his line to parry.

Icardi fired wide before the break before Handanovic tipped a Bergwijn effort over the bar.

PSV could thank goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet after the break when he denied Icardi, Stefan de Vrij and Keita Balde.

But Icardi blasted in the equaliser midway through the second half, meeting a perfect cross from Matteo Politano to leave Zoet no chance.

The Italians piled forward in search of the winner but could not break through, with substitute Lautaro Martinez sending a header over the bar late on.

The Dutch club, who won the European Cup in 1988, achieved just their second point of the competition as they finished bottom of the group behind Inter who go through to the Europa League.