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Early goal dooms Inter Milan to Europa League

Tie with PSV Eindhoven coupled with Tottenham-Barcelona tie drop Nerazzurri down.

FC Internazionale v PSV - UEFA Champions League Group B
FC Internazionale coach Luciano Spalletti reacts at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group B match between FC Internazionale and PSV at San Siro Stadium on December 11, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

A goal in the 13th minute by Hirving Lozano sent Inter Milan to the Europa League draw following a 1-1 draw with PSV Eindhoven at the Giuseppe Meazza Tuesday.

Inter has not qualified for the Champions League round of 16 since 2012.

Inter needed to win or better Tottenham’s result at Barcelona, but Spurs were able to get a late goal from Lucas Moura to salvage a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou. Because the results were equal, Tottenham Hotspur advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League because of the one goal scored in Milan during Inter’s first meeting in the group stage with the North London club.

Luciano Spalletti elected to bring in Antonio Candreva to start as Radja Nainggolan was ruled out of the match just prior to kickoff.

Despite the changes in the lineup, Inter came out firing, peppering PSV early with shots from Ivan Perisic and Danilo D’Ambrosio in the first eight minutes of the match.

But, in the 13th minute, Lozano struck the bottom corner of the net after a smart cross from Steven Bergwijn with PSV’s first real offensive threat of the first half. Bergwijn was able to steal the ball away from Kwadwo Asamoah and get space to find Lozano in front of an empty net.

It meant that every Champions League match this season for Inter found the Nerazzurri behind.

From there, the Nerazzurri turned up the pressure as Matteo Politano tried his luck from outside the area in the 18th minute and Mauro Icardi just missed high with a header in the 21st minute.

Perisic and Icardi both fired off shots from distance midway through the first half, but neither delivery found goal.

Defensively, Inter held its ground as Bergwijn tried his luck from just outside the box, but Samir Handanovic was able to push the ball out of play.

In the second half, Inter went back to work as Icardi nearly delivered with a left-footed strike, but the ball was pushed away by PSV goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet. Despite that, Inter continued to pour people up front as Borja Valero, Politano and even Asamoah attempted shots in the early stages of the half.

Finally, in the 73rd minute, Icardi hit paydirt after a cross from Politano was nicely placed for the Argentinian to head the ball home into the bottom left corner of goal to tie the match.

But, just a few minutes after Inter equalized, Moura tied the match for Tottenham, putting the pressure back on the Nerazzurri to find one more goal to advance.

Despite attempts from Lautaro Martinez and Keita Balde, the Nerazzurri were unable to find the winning goal.

Now, Inter will be placed in the draw for the knockout stages of the Europa League where they will be seeded high.

The Nerazzurri will be in action next as they return to Serie A play to host Udinese at 12 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Dec. 15.

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