Inter rallies again to beat PSV 2-1 in Champions League
EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (AP) — Two matches, two come-from-behind Champions League victories for resilient Inter Milan.
Inter rallied from a goal down to beat PSV Eindhoven 2-1 on Wednesday and record its second victory after conceding first in the Champions League.
Both times, captain and striker Mauro Icardi was front and center for the Nerazzurri, scoring a late equalizer two weeks ago against Tottenham and the winner against PSV.
“He made the difference in a very good match despite not having much luck,” said Inter coach Luciano Spalletti. “He’s always present in the penalty area. He has no weaknesses.”
Pablo Rosario gave PSV the lead in the 27th minute with a dipping 25-meter shot over Samir Handanovic. Radja Nainggolan equalized one minute before halftime, capitalizing on a fumble by PSV goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet.
Zoet was also involved in Icardi’s winning goal on the hour, colliding with defender Daniel Schwaab as both PSV players tried to cut out a long pass by Matias Vecino. The ball bounced free to leave the Inter captain with a simple tap-in as Zoet looked on, holding his head in his hands.
“Jeroen made a number of good saves and was unlucky a couple of times,” said PSV coach Mark van Bommel. “That’s not the reason we lost this game.”
At the other end, Handanovic made a great reflex save in the 79th to preserve Inter’s lead, diving to his left to block an athletic overhead kick by substitute Donyell Malen.
“It was a good match, we showed character and a good mentality,” said Spalletti.
The victory took Inter to second in Group B, behind Barcelona on goal difference after Lionel Messi’s team beat Tottenham 4-2 at Wembley.
It was another resilient display from Spalletti’s team, which staged a late rally two weeks ago to beat Tottenham 2-1 in their first Group B match, with Icardi scoring a spectacular volley for the equalizer.
Inter, with Dutchman Stefan de Vrij at center back, defended strongly and Nainggolan dominated the midfield battles to give Inter the edge in a fast-paced, open match that saw plenty of chances for both teams.
PSV, the 1988 European champion, has now failed to win any of its last eight Champions League matches and has no points after two defeats this season, following a 4-0 loss to Barcelona. Van Bommel’s team next plays Tottenham in a matchup of two teams yet to win a point in Group B.
PSV took the lead when Mexico forward Hirving Lozano cut in from the left and tried to find space to shoot. When Inter defenders closed him down, he slid the ball to Rosario whose shot sailed over Handanovic.
Referee Milorad Mazic showed Handanovic a yellow card in the 41st minute when the ’keeper rushed out of his area and handled the ball to end a promising PSV attack.
“I think that’s a red card,” said Van Bommel, who also believed that Inter’s equalizer should have been ruled out for offside.
Minutes later, Inter was level after Zoet failed to gather a shot by Kwadwo Asamoah and then blocked a follow-up effort by Icardi only to see the ball fall to Nainggolan, who fired low into the corner.
“We deserved more,” Van Bommel said. “We played a very good game, but a few details decided the result.”
Gaston Pereira came close to putting PSV back ahead four minutes after the break but his curling shot hit the outside of the post.
But it was Icardi who found the net after Zoet’s collision with Schwaab to seal Inter’s victory.
Inter midfielder Matteo Politano showed a safe pair of hands in the second half when he caught a plastic beaker of beer thrown onto the pitch.