Internazionale will return to the Champions League next season after a stunning turnaround victory over Lazio on Sunday night.
The Nerazzurri have not competed in Europe’s premier club competition since 2012, and knew that only a win against fourth-placed Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico n the final day of the Serie A season would end that six-year wait for a seat at Europe’s top table.
However, they made the worst possible start – and by their own hands no less – when midfielder Ivan Perisic put through his own net to give Lazio the lead with less than ten minutes on the clock.
Luciano Spalletti’s dug deep and equalised on the half-hour mark as Danil D’Ambrosio bundled home from a corner into the box by Marcelo Brozovic. However, Inter would go in at the break 2-1 down as Felipe Anderson raced through the visitors’ defence to restore Lazio’s advantage.
Inter huffed and puffed but it looked as though they were set to fall short – and then, with twelve minutes remaining, a lifeline straight out of the conspiracy theorist’s handbook.
Stefan De Vrij, who is to join Inter from Lazio this summer, gave away a penalty for a shockingly poor foul on Mauro Icardi – gifting the away side a way back into the match.
Icardi duly put the penalty away to set up a grandstand, winner-takes-all finale – one that became all the more intriguing when Lazio’s Senad Lulic was sent off just one minute later for a second bookable offence.
Inter, though had no interest in hanging around and took the lead for the first time in the match two minutes after equalising. Brozovic again the architect, supplying the corner into the box for Matias Vecino to head home and send the away supporters into raptures.
Inter held on to seal the win, leapfrog Lazio and into fourth place for the first time since March. Crucially, that’s where they have now finished and Champions League football is finally coming back to the San Siro next season.