MILAN – Inter have finished the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League group stage with a 2-2 draw against Neftci PFK. The Nerazzurri therefore take second spot in Group H, with 11 points.
Livaja gave Inter the lead at the Meazza after just 9 minutes following a lovely ball in from Pereira. Samuel might have doubled the lead just before the half-hour mark but his header from Coutinho’s free-kick fell the wrong side of the post. In the second half Canales began the move which saw Sadygov bring Neftci level on 54 minutes: the away skipper unleashed a ferocious drive which found the top corner and left Belec with no chance. Parity lasted a mere two minutes however as Livaja was once again on the scoresheet, this time heading home from Nagatomo’s cross. The Japanese international had just come on and his centre allowed the Croatian forward to score his 4th goal in Europe this season.
Stramaccioni handed Andrea Bandini his first-team debut on 63 minutes, as he replaced Romanò. With 7 minutes remaining Livaja should have had a hat-trick. Cambiasso put the ball on a plate for the young hitman but his side-foot finish was cleared off the line. However television replays later showed the ball was clearly over the line. Denied a goal by the officials, the Nerazzurri also should have had a penalty a minute later when Cassano was sent tumbling by Mitrevski, but Mr. Aleckovic awarded only a corner. Nagatomo was a coat of paint away from sealing the 3 points at the death, but was thwarted by the woodwork. Belec then found Bertucci’s shot too hot to handle and Canales was on hand to head into the empty net in the final minute.
The 1-1 draw between Partizan Belgrade and Rubin Kazan means Inter finish as runners-up in Group H with 11 points: the Nerazzurri now await the draw on 20 December when they will discover their opponents for the last 32 (ties to be played on 14-21 February 2013).
Inter 2-2 Neftci (HT: 1-0)
Scorers: Livaja 9, Sadygov 52, Livaja 54, Canales 90.
Inter: 27 Belec; 42
Jonathan, 19 Cambiasso, 25 Samuel (Cassano 46), 31 Pereira; 52
Romanò (Bandini 63), 24 Benassi; 28 Pasa, 61 Garritano (Nagatomo 53), 7 Coutinho; 88 Livaja.
Subs not used:
12 Castellazzi, 49 Terrani, 54 Donkor, 60 Belloni.
Neftci PFK: 30
Stamenkovic; 22 Shukurov (Mehdiyev 46), 5 Mitreski, 4 Guliyev, 16
Bertucci; 10 Wobay, 6 Sadygov (Seyidov 77), 15 Ramos, 9 Flavinho;
25 Imamverdiyev (A. Abdullayev 90+2); 11 Canales.
Subs not used: 12
Balayev, 14 Nasimov, 21 Nurahmadov, 32
Coach: Boyukaga Hajiyev.
Referee: Emir Aleckovic (BiH).
Booked: Romanò 15, Imamverdiyev 63, Livaja 88, Seyidov 90+1.
Added time: 0+3 minutes.