Inter Milan were knocked out of the Europa League as they were beaten by Israeli club Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the group stage match.
Inter were cruising to victory in the first-half with a 2 goal lead, but the middle-eastern side showed great spirit as they turned things around and won the match 3-2.
Inter fans had seen a glimpse of hope after the Nerazzurri’s draw against AC Milan in the Serie A, and they were hopeful that the blue and black clad outfit could turn things around, although their chances of making it into the knockout phase were slim.
Inter’s chances were depending on Southampton’s clash with Sparta Pargue in the Group K fixture – but this didn’t stop the Nerazzurri as they played with control and freedom in the first-half, with Mauro Icardi and Marcelo Brozovic scoring the 2 goals.
Inter came very close to scoring a third goal just as the second-half started – with Icardi hitting the crossbar.
Hapoel took advantage of the situation as they Lucio Maranhao pulled one back for the Israeli side.
Inter then conceded a penalty with stopper Samir Handanovic getting the red-car, and Anthony Nwakaeme scoring to put Hapoel leveling the score.
The home team then went ahead and scored the winner late into injury time – with Ben Sahar getting on the score sheet.
Inter boss Stefano Pioli was angered by how the team played, claiming that the performance was not worthy of the clubs name.
He lashed out at his teams dismal second half performance.
“We stopped playing as a team and were presumptuous,” Pioli told reporters. “That should never happen and we cannot afford to do that if we want to win games.”
“We had the chance to go 3-0 up and didn’t take it. We must work hard to ensure we don’t keep giving away certain opportunities. We cannot play such a two-faced match. In the first half we did really well, badly in the second. All we needed to do was maintain that attitude.”
He also stressed that the teams fitness was not to be blamed for the result.
“In fitness terms we’re ok, as we pushed at the end. What matters here is the mentality and we must improve,” Pioli said.
“The past no longer counts, what matters is the present and we cannot be satisfied with our work. We are working on all fronts: physical, psychological and tactical. A team that plays that well in the first half cannot offer a second-half performance like that.”
“Inter have players of great quality, but we need to know how to suffer under pressure. The performance was not worthy of Inter. We got too deep and allowed Hapoel back into the game. I changed a few things, trying to recover the balance that we had lost.”
Whereas, Hapoel boss Barak Bakhar accepted that Inter were dominant in the first-half and said that Handanovic’s dismissal played a key role in the match.
“In the first half we played badly, we were too fragile,” Bakhar said. “Then in the second half we grew, helped by our fans.”
“When we play against European teams we must be daring. For this reason I had to introduce offensive players to retrieve the result. Then obviously the game changed with the expulsion of Handanovic.”
“Physically we were very good. The credit belongs to everyone, not just mine: the trainers, doctors and all the staff.”