MILAN - Inter’s Europa League adventure came to an end in the last 16 on Thursday in front of a crowd of 50,000 – 13,000 of which were Eintracht fans. Just one goal proved decisive over the two-legged affair, with Jovic’s sixth-minute strike in the second leg ensuring that the Germans triumphed 1-0 on aggregate. Struggling with a number of absentees, the Nerazzurri played with heart at the Meazza, although it ultimately wasn’t enough to advance. As for the game itself, it certainly wasn’t the best of starts for the Nerazzurri. They suffered an early scare in the third minute as Haller hit the crossbar before the visitors then broke the deadlock three minutes later. Their goal stemmed from a mistake from De Vrij, while Jovic then placed a precise lob past Handanovic.
Eintracht continued pressing after their opener, with Willems firing a left-footed strike that went just wide of the post in the 13th minute. Inter’s first real chance came in the 15th minute, although Perisic volleyed the ball off-target from a good position. Just a few minutes later Handanovic very nearly played in a long ball for Keita, although the latter’s first touch let him down. Eintracht thought they’d doubled their lead come the 27th minute, yet Haller’s effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Still on the front foot, Eintracht forced Handanovic into a superb double save come the 39th minute, who just halted Haller from scoring a tap-in. The 40th minute saw Jovic try his luck from long-range although his strike narrowly missed the target. Prior to the interval, a deflected effort from Perisic forced a save from Trapp, although the half-time whistle was blown with the away side 1-0 in front.
After coming out after the break, Inter looked to play on the front foot and find an equaliser. In the 54th minute, Keita narrowly failed to get his head on a teasing Candreva cross. The match was end-to-end at this point. In the 55th minute, Handanovic used his feet to save a left-footed Haller effort. At the other end, Politano narrowly missed with a left-footed curler. In the 61st and 65th minutes, Handanovic saved from Jovic and then Kostic while Spalletti brought Ranocchia on for Cedric. In the 66th minute, Politano had another sight of goal but Trapp saved well. With the Nerazzurri desperately in search of a goal, space opened up at the other end and Eintracht had further chances to score. In the 68th minute, Jovic closed the angle too much and fired wide before a vicious Skriniar strike was deflected out for a corner in the 71st minute. Spalletti went all out at the end, bringing the 16-year-old Sebastiano Esposito on for Borja Valero and the 18-year-old Davide Merola on for Politano. In stoppage time, the visitors had chances to score another with Handanovic keeping out a Jovic diving header from point-blank range before also keeping out a powerful Kostic effort. The final whistle went with Eintracht winning 0-1 to knock the Nerazzurri out of the Europa League.
It’s a great disappointment but there’s no time to dwell on it with the #DerbyMilano coming up on Sunday and it will be a crucial match in the race for Champions League qualification.
Now and forever, #ForzaInter!
INTER 0-1 EINTRACHT FRANKFURT
Goals: 6' Jovic (E)
INTER: 1 Handanovic; 21 Cedric (62' 13 Ranocchia), 6 De Vrij, 37 Skriniar, 33 D'Ambrosio; 8 Vecino, 20 Borja Valero (73' 70 Esposito); 87 Candreva, 16 Politano (80' 68 Merola), 44 Perisic; 11 Keita
Substitutes: 27 Padelli, 40 Gavioli, 67 Zappa, 77 Brozovic
Coach: Luciano Spalletti
EINTRACHT FRANKFURT: 31 Trapp; 20 Hasebe, 13 Hinteregger, 2 N'Dicka; 24 Da Costa, 17 Rode (89' 39 Paciencia), 15 Willems (73' 21 Stendera), 10 Kostic; 11 Gacinovic (59' 6 De Guzman); 9 Haller, 8 Jovic
Bench: 1 Ronnow, 3 Falette, 23 Russ, 33 Tawatha
Coach: Adi Hütter
Bookings: D'Ambrosio (I), Borja Valero (I), Haller (E), Rode (E), Paciencia (E), Skriniar (I)
Stoppage time: 1' + 6'
Referee: Ovidiu Alin Hategan
Assistants: Octavian Sovre, Sebastian Eugen Gheorghe
Additional assistant referees: Marian Petrescu Radu, Sebastian Constantin Coltescu
Fourth official: Adrian Stefan Ghinguleac Radu