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Inter Milan inches closer to Champions League knockout

Mauro Icardi snags late goal as Nerazzurri draw with Barcelona.

FC Internazionale v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group B
Mauro Emanuel Icardi (C) of FC Internazionale celebrates his goal during the Group B match of the UEFA Champions League between FC Internazionale and FC Barcelona at San Siro Stadium on November 6, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

An 87th minute equalizer by Mauro Icardi helped the Nerazzurri come away from Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Barcelona with a 1-1 draw at the Giuseppe Meazza.

Icardi’s goal came four minutes after Malcom came on in reserve and netted what appeared to be the game winner.

“We played against the best team in the world, the Catalans know how to play with the ball and they press well all over the pitch,” Icardi said, according to the club website. “With how they move the ball, they make you chase a lot but we never gave up and but fortunately, my goal came at the end.”

Despite the draw, Barcelona have already qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League. Inter take a step closer, but following Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 winner in injury time over PSV Eindhoven, have not secured their spot. Eindhoven, on the other hand, is officially out of the tournament with the loss.

Barcelona leads Group B with 10 points while Inter stand second with seven. The win gives Tottenham an outside shot of qualification on four points while PSV Eindhoven have just one point.

Barcelona had an early chance at goal midway through the first half, but after controlling the ball with his chest, Luis Suarez placed his delivery wide of the goal.

Malcom — who was rumored with a move to Inter over the summer, but came to Barcelona from Bordeaux, notched his goal just two minutes after coming on as a substitute for Ousmane Dembele.

But it was Icardi who had the final word in the match. His goal kept Barcelona winless in Italy since they defeated AC Milan in November 2011.

“It seemed as though the match was going to finish 0-0,” said Inter boss Luciano Spalletti, following the match. “Their goal came in an unexpected fashion but our reaction was vital. The boys didn’t let up and the fact that Icardi went straight to get the ball after scoring the equalizer shows the character and mentality of this team.”

Barcelona will clinch the top spot in the group and a home match in the first knockout round with a win at PSV. If Inter wins at Wembley they will secure passage to the knockout round.

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