However, an 80th-minute goal by Christian Eriksen breathed life into Tottenham Hotspur as their claimed a 1-0 win over the Nerazzurri at Wembley Stadium Wednesday.
“I’m disappointed about the result because we didn’t give much up and we could have taken a few more risks at times,” said Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti, in his post-match news conference. “Sometimes, we give away simple balls because we’re too timid and that allows our opponents to get up the pitch.”
It means the last group stage matches will determine who will join Barcelona out of Group B in the knockout rounds.
Tottenham will have to travel to Barcelona and at minimum match the result Inter gets at home against PSV Eindhoven. It will make the last matchday very interesting as Tottenham will have to lose coupled with a tie or win by Inter for the Nerazzurri to see their way through.
Wednesday, much like their first meeting, Tottenham came out firing and put Inter on the back heel, especially thanks to the midfield dominance of Moussa Sissoko.
It was Sissoko who created the best early chances for Tottenham as the Frenchman set up Lucas Moura for a shot that was saved by Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.
“Overall, we did well, showed spirit and willingness to make sacrifices but on the goal, we dealt with the run from Sissoko poorly,” Spalletti said.
Henry Winks also had an early opportunity, but his delivery banged off the crossbar.
For their part, Inter’s offense proved to be somewhat lackluster, especially coming off a 3-0 Serie A thrashing of Frosinone last weekend.
Inter managed just two shots in the first half with none of them being on target.
That said, the Nerazzurri managed to keep Tottenham off-balance for most of the night by clamping down on passing lanes.
In the latter stages of the first half, Borja Valero came in for a sluggish Radja Nainggolan and immediately had an opportunity to put Inter on top, but failed to connect on a the potential goal.
Erik Lamela could have been sent off toward the end of the half after a rough tackle on Marcelo Brozovic, but Lamela was only shown a yellow card.
In the second half, Inter stepped up the pressure on Tottenham, but it was Spurs that came up with opportunities. Dele Alli sent a delivery that went wide of the net and Jan Vertonghen’s close attempt went wide.
Ivan Perisic nearly caught Tottenham off-balance on a breakaway, but Spurs’ goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was able to save the attempt. Ironically, Perisic did score on Lloris in the World Cup final over the summer.
But, it was the 80th minute when Tottenham converted.
Serge Aurier found Sissoko streaking into area. Sissoko pinpointed Eriksen who blasted home the game-winner.
⚽️ FT: TOTTENHAM 1-0 INTER | It's all over at Wembley and Spurs clinch three crucial points. Christian Eriksen's goal was enough for a win over Inter. pic.twitter.com/otNQzf4yin— D9INE NEXUS (@D9INE_LEGACY) November 28, 2018
Now things get a little dicey for Inter. They essentially have to hope Barcelona defeats Tottenham at Camp Nou and the Nerazzurri need a result over PSV Eindhoven in order to secure the second spot out of Group B.
“I don’t know how Barcelona will play against the English outfit,” Spalletti said. “They have a good run going at Camp Nou but this is not even worth discussing at this level, I have no doubts about the professionalism of players such as Messi, Suarez or Piquè.”
Inter will come into a very interesting stretch of their season as they will travel to AS Roma on Dec. 2, followed by a Dec. 7 venture to Turin to take on Serie A-leading Juventus. They will return home for the final Champions League group match against PSV Eindhoven on Dec. 11.
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