Barella strikes late as Inter avoid home defeat to Slavia
Champions League Group F, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza - Inter Milan 1 (Barella 92') Slavia Prague 1 (Olayinka 63')
Inter Milan were rescued by a stoppage time goal from Nicolo Barella as they drew 1-1 with Slavia Prague on Tuesday evening.
Peter Olayinka was temporarily Slavia's hero of the night as he tapped home just after the hour mark.
However in the 92nd minute Barella popped up with a goal that went through a whole host of bodies.
Inter Milan's Italian midfielder Nicolo Barella (L) celebrates after scoring an equalizer during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match Inter Milan vs Slavia Prague on September 17, 2019 at the San Siro stadium in Milan.Getty Images
Still though in a group containing Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona this represents a blow for Inter in their bid to make it into the next round.
It was the hosts who had the best two chances of the opening period, with Stefano Sensi twice sending in great free kicks, the first was headed over by Stefan de Vrij, the second straight at goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar by Danilo D’Ambrosio.
Elsewhere, both keepers had nervy moments. Samir Hadanovic was caught in possession in his own six-yard box by Olayinka but reprieved by the referee’s whistle, while Kolar was relieved to see his miscued clearance bounce wide off Toumas Soucek.
Inter started the second half on the front foot, with Kolar twice called into action very early on, first to tip away a Sensi cross that required his intervention, then to snuff away the danger from the rebound, which fell to Lautaro Martinez.
Then, Slavia struck. Olayinka did brilliantly to cut the ball back to Jaroslav Zeleny, who forced Handanovic into a fine save, which fell to Olayinka himself to smash the ball home.
Inter looked bereft of ideas but were granted a reprieve in the dying minutes of the match. Just after the fourth official indicated that eight added minutes were on the way, Soucek gave away a free kick which Sensi sent onto the bar. It fell to substitute Barella, who’s cross-cum-shot fell kindly into the back of the net.
Romelu Lukaku then had a chance to win it for the hosts but saw his powerful header dramatically saved by Kolar who secured a famous point for his save.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Peter Olayinka - Slavia Prague: All the odds were stacked against Slavia tonight but Olayinka was a constant thorn in the Nerazzurri defence, making good use of his physical presence, creating the chance that led to the goal then smashing in the rebound himself. Without him, Slavia could well have lost this match.
Peter Olayinka (R) of SK Slavia Praha celebrates with his team-mates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League group F match between FC Internazionale and Slavia Praha at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on September 17, 2019 in Milan, ItalyGetty Images
Inter’s Champions League campaign ends before it starts: Drawn into a horrible group with Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona, Inter’s opening fixture was a must-win and Conte’s men did not rise to the occasion. They never had enough impetus from the start and with four matches against the group’s big guns to come, they are surely now in a battle for Europa League qualification with Slavia.
Romelu Lukaku Getty Images
Slavia Prague: Kolar 7, Coufal 6, Kudela 6, Hovorka 5, Boril 5, Husbauer 6, Traore 6, Soucek 6, Stanciu 7, Masopust 6, Olayinka 8. Subs: Zeleny 7, Helal n/a, Provod n/a
47' - Inter on the attack!
Kolar makes a great save to palm away Sensi's miscued cross towards Lukaku. The loose ball falls to Martinez, but Kolar is there again to keep the ball away from the net.
63' - GOAL!!!!!!!!! Inter have fallen behind. Olayinka does brilliantly down the right and cuts it back to Zeleny, who forces an excellent low save from Handanovic. Olayinka himself is there to smash home the rebound.
90+2' - GOAL!! The free kick yielded an equaliser! Sensi's free kick cannons off the cross bar but the ball falls to Barella, who skews a ball back across the face of goal that bounces in. Incredible conclusion here.
- Inter have only managed one win in their last five Champions League opening matches
- Nicolo Barella is the 10th different Inter player to score on his Champions League debut for the club