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Europa League Group K

Full-time: Inter Milan 1-0 Southampton

  • Second-half Antonio Candreva strike seals a much-needed three points for Inter and underfire manager Frank de Boer in front of a sparse crowd at the San Siro
  • Claude Puel's Saints, boosted by almost 7,000 travelling fans, were much the better side during the first half but were unable to make their dominance count
  • Southampton lost striker Shane Long to a hamstring injury after the break, while record signing Sofiane Boufal came on to make his first appearance since a £16m summer move from Lille
  • Later: Manchester United vs Fenerbahce from Old Trafford
Antonio Candreva

That is all for this particular blog, but you can join IBTimes UK sport editor Nick Howson for live coverage of Manchester United's Group A clash against Robin van Persie and Fenerbahce at Old Trafford.



Inter Milan 1-0 Southampton

Southampton almost grab a last-gasp equaliser, but Ward-Prowse cuts across a difficult right-footed volley and watches as the ball veers agonisingly wide.

That should be it.

Van Dijk, who has been operating as an extra forward for the last few minutes, looks to kick out in frustration after being flagged for offside when trying to direct another header goalwards.

He is perhaps fortunate that the referee didn't see that.

Nagatomo takes an age to leave the field as he is replaced by Danilo D'Ambrosio.

Five minutes of added time for Southampton to make their numerical advantage count and find that elusive equaliser.

Handanovic may just have preserved all three points for Inter with a stunning stop low to his left that keeps out Van Dijk's header. He also stands strong to deny Austin from close range.

Brilliant goalkeeping.

Samir Handanovic

De Boer sends on Cristian Ansaldi for goal-scorer Candreva. Eder also makes way for Perisic as Hojbjerg and Medel both pick up yellow cards.

Southampton, whose final change sees Steven Davis replace Rodriguez, spurn a glorious chance to equalise when Van Dijk ghosts behind Inter's risky high line and fires Ward-Prowse's pinpoint free-kick straight at Handanovic.

That was a sitter.

We witnessed two incredibly stupid dismissals in Barcelona's 4-0 win over Manchester City last night and Inter have just added another to the collection as Croatian midfielder Brozovic, back in the side tonight after being exiled in the aftermath of that defeat to Hapoel Be'er-Sheva, steams needlessly into the back of Hojbjerg and promptly receives his second yellow card.

So, so foolish. De Boer is understandably unimpressed.

Red card: Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan)

Something to cheer up those 7,000 Saints fans now as Puel withdraws Tadic and sends on record signing Boufal for his first appearance since a £16m move from Lille in August.

Inter go close to doubling their lead as Icardi executes a delightful turn to get past Martina. However, Van Dijk makes an important block.

Inter's players appeal vehemently for Martina to be booked after he helps an overhit pass out of play with his hands. The referee again declines to oblige.

The Nerazzurri seem to have taken huge confidence from that opening goal and one or two dangerous crosses have almost found their mark.

A bitter pill to swallow for Southampton as they fall behind with 25 minutes of the match remaining.

Santon does well to stand up Tadic over by the left touchline and his low cross is driven home emphatically by Candreva, who just got ahead of Van Dijk, off the underside of the crossbar.

That is his first goal for Inter.

Antonio Candreva

Goal: Inter Milan 1-0 Southampton (Antonio Candreva)


Austin shrugs off Nagatomo before being brought down by Brozovic, who receives a yellow card for his troubles.

A limping Austin will be a concern for Puel, who has already lost Long to injury tonight.

We should mention that tonight's other fixture in Group K between Sparta Prague and Hapoel Be'er-Sheva also remains goalless.


Inter sound another warning bell as Icardi receives possession from Eder and drives a left-footed attempt over the crossbar.

At the other end, Austin, who has scored seven goals in his last six appearances for Southampton, sends a shot just wide.

Raucous celebrations from the travelling fans are cut short when Rodriguez heads home a corner and is quickly whistled for climbing unfairly on Santon.

That certainly looked like a soft decision.

Long is in no condition to return and Puel reacts swiftly to replace him with Austin.

Rodriguez shapes to shoot after an incisive pass from Hojbjerg, only to be denied by a Miranda's crucial last-ditch challenge.

Long is penalised following a tangle with Miranda and stays down clutching his hamstring. He then gingerly limps off with help from a physio and looks to signal to the bench that his evening is over.

The second 45 is off and running. No changes from De Boer or Puel at half-time.

Inter have badly lacked intensity in front of a sparse crowd, the lack of which does not make this a particularly intimidating occasion for Southampton. Their 7,000-strong away support are making all the noise just at the moment.

No goals to speak of just yet, but Puel should nevertheless be delighted with how his team have played so far. Aside from a brief spell at the end of that first half, Southampton have controlled this game with Martina and Tadic causing particular damage down that right-hand side.

Cuco Martina

Hojbjerg and Romeu have also impressed in midfield, while Rodriguez and Long are eager to get behind Inter's high defensive line.


Inter Milan 0-0 Southampton

Inter are enjoying their best spell of possession so far as the clock ticks down towards the end of the first half. However, they fail to create a meaningful chance as Eder hooks an effort well wide.

No added time signalled by the fourth official.

Inter have been wretched for most of this first half, but offer a reminder of their attacking qualities as Eder seizes on Yoshida's header and shoots just wide of Forster's right-hand post.

Tadic and Martina combine to good effect once again and the latter's cross is headed on via a deflection by Long towards the back post, where Rodriguez is inches away from applying the finishing touch.

Icardi then clears Southampton's latest corner with a robust header at the front post.

Jay Rodriguez

Praise indeed from a one-club icon...


After another cross from Martina flies wide, Southampton almost come unstuck on the counter-attack. However, Yoshida does well to cover the ground and block Eder's cross.

Medel then gets his head to the corner, but Forster rises to make a comfortable catch.

Two real chances for Southampton come and go in quick succession. Yuto Nagatomo clears off the line after Samir Handanovic punches McQueen's inviting cross straight at Rodriguez, while Martina sets up Ward-Prowse on the edge of the box for a powerful shot that just whistles over the crossbar.

No question who the better side has been during this opening half an hour.

Former Newcastle left-back Davide Santon is cynically scythed down by Martina. He appeals for a caution, but the referee keeps his cards in his pocket on this occasion.

Ward-Prowse bends a superb free-kick into the penalty area, but the ball just evades Van Dijk and Oriol Romeu, who is currently controlling the midfield battle along with Hojbjerg, can only help it over at the back post.

Hojbjerg drives forward through the middle. A cross eventually finds its way to Long at the back post, but the Irish striker heads over and is penalised for a blatant push.

Martina finds some space down the Southampton right before picking out Tadic. Hojbjerg then tries to tee up the Curacao international with a low pass down the channel, but he puts too much on it and the ball trickles out for a goal kick.

This hasn't been the most entertaining game so far.

After seeing a free-kick blocked by Brozovic, Tadic fires a cross harmlessly wide.

Inter are looking particularly lethargic early on.

Dusan Tadic

Joao Miranda makes a complete hash of a sweeping ball forward from Virgil van Dijk, but recovers in time to thwart the danger posed by Rodriguez as the Southampton striker attempts to cut it on goal from the left-hand side.

An early scare for the Saints as Martina plays a brainless back-pass towards Forster. Icardi seizes possession quickly and his subsequent backheel is deflected behind by the goalkeeper.

Lithuanian referee Gediminas Mazeika gets the match underway. Southampton are kicking from left to right in this first half.

Disgruntled Inter fans unhappy with the team's poor form and the Icardi situation have voted with their feet tonight, with thousands upon thousands of empty seats visible across the San Siro.

Southampton's 7,000 travelling fans supposedly make up one third of the entire crowd.


Icardi was booed during Sunday's defeat and his first-half penalty miss was greeted by cheers. He attempted to reach out to the Curva Nord with a lengthy Instagram apology, while the ultras' calls for him to be stripped of the armband went unheeded in midweek despite vice-president Javier Zanetti initially hinting that might be the likely outcome.

"Following a meeting this morning between management and Mauro Icardi, F.C. Internazionale announces that the captain will be sanctioned for contravening the club's internal regulations as signed by every player," the club confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.

Cara Curva Nord, sono sorpreso e dispiaciuto. Sorpreso perché relativamente all'episodio di Reggio Emilia ho semplicemente riferito di come, complice l'adrenalina post-partita ed il cattivo momento che stava attraversando la squadra, "a caldo" ho perso la testa. Volevo semplicemente rendere l'atmosfera di quell'episodio. Tanto è vero che nel libro ho aggiunto che avevo sputato fuori frasi esagerate (ed il verbo sputare già rende l'idea di quanto inopportuna fosse stata la mia reazione). Riguardo al discorso degli assassini dall'Argentina, siccome da più parti mi continuavano a ripetere che mi sarei ritrovato degli esagitati sotto casa (nota bene: non la Curva Nord, degli esagitati) ho pronunciato quella frase: ma nella biografia ho anche detto "avevo usato parole minacciose contro la tifoseria e non avrei dovuto farlo". Sono dispiaciuto. Dispiaciuto per questo polverone che si è creato, Ho semplicemente raccontato un episodio seguendo i miei ricordi. Oltretutto se uno avesse un minimo di sale in zucca non rischierebbe di offendere la propria curva, strategicamente se fossi stato in mala fede avrei usato parole accattivanti nei vostri confronti. Non l'ho fatto perché nessuno voleva offendere o mancare di rispetto a nessuno. La fascia da capitano rappresenta la realizzazione dei miei sogni di bambino, la gioia che ho donato prima di tutto alla mia famiglia e poi a me stesso. Siete Voi che io cerco ogni domenica appena faccio gol, è il Vostro abbraccio che io cerco per primo. perché io amo l'Inter. Fra pochissimo scendero' in campo quindi non posso più dilungarmi. Spero che avrete compreso quanto importanti siete per me e quanta stima e quanto Amore nutra per Voi anche se deciderete di fischiarmi. Vi chiedo solo una cosa da Capitano: state vicini all'Inter come avete sempre fatto, io e i miei compagni abbiamo bisogno di Voi. Con affetto Mauro 🔵⚫️🔵⚫️

A photo posted by Mauro Icardi (@mauroicardi) on


So what exactly has gone so badly wrong between Icardi and the Curva Nord, which led to the latter producing a banner in the game against Cagliari that read: "You use a child to justify yourself and fling mud at us... You're not a man... You're not a captain... You are just a vile piece of s***t".

Mauro Icardi

Essentially it boils down to the player's new autobiography, Sempre Avanti, where he claims to have become a locker room hero at Inter after standing up to an angry ultra during a confrontation involving former teammate Fredy Guarin back in February 2015 when a shirt he gave to a young fan was allegedly tossed straight back at him amid a volley of abuse.

To cut a lengthy tale short, the Curva Nord very much dispute his version of events and have taken aim at another sequence of the book that reportedly reads "I am ready to face them one by one. How many are there? 50, 100, 200? OK, record my message and let him listen: I'll bring 100 criminals from Argentina who'll kill them where they stand, then we'll see."

As for Inter, Icardi leads the line and retains the captaincy despite that aforementioned feud with fans. He is flanked on either side by Antonio Candreva and Eder, with Ivan Perisic listed among the substitutes.

Assane Demoya Gnoukouri and forgotten man Marcelo Brozovic join Gary Medel in midfield as Ever Banega also drops to the bench.

None of Joao Mario, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Gabigol or Stevan Jovetic feature in De Boer's Europa League squad due to Financial Fair Play (FFP) reasons. Felipe Melo is injured, while Andrea Ranocchia sits out due to the red card he received in Prague.

Southampton's £16m record signing Sofiane Boufal features as a substitute for the first time tonight after recovering from knee ligament surgery.

Maya Yoshida comes in for usual captain Jose Fonte, while 21-year-old left-back Sam McQueen makes his first Southampton start inside the San Siro after replacing fellow academy graduate Matty Targett in the first half of that win over Burnley.

Sofiane Boufal

Targett misses out with a hamstring injury, while Cuco Martina continues at right-back and James Ward-Prowse and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg deputise in midfield for Jordy Clasie and Steven Davis. Jay Rodriguez and Shane Long start up front, with Charlie Austin dropping to the bench and Nathan Redmond left behind to rest.

First-choice full-backs Cedric Soares and Ryan Bertrand remain sidelined, as does long-term absentee Jeremy Pied.


Tonight's hosts are not in a particularly good place at the moment and currently sit 11th in Serie A after suffering their third defeat of the season at home to Cagliari last weekend.

While their league form has been inconsistent since Frank de Boer left Ajax and replaced Roberto Mancini during the summer, their European performances have been frankly dismal. The Nerazzurri were humiliated 2-0 at home to Hapoel Be'er Sheva in September and lost 3-1 in Prague three weeks ago after allowing Vaclav Kadlec to net an early brace.

Tensions at the San Siro are also running particularly high with captain Mauro Icardi in heated public conflict with the club's Curva Nord ultras. More on that to come shortly....

Mauro Icardi
Getty Images

After experiencing something of a slow start under Claude Puel following the Frenchman's appointment as successor to Ronald Koeman in June, resolute Southampton, now up to eighth in the Premier League, have impressed of late with an unbeaten run that stretched to seven matches with Sunday's 3-1 win over Burnley at St Mary's. They have kept no fewer than six clean sheets during that sequence.

Claude Puel
Getty Images

Competing in Europe' secondary club competition for the second time running, the Saints, knocked out in the play-off round by FC Midtjylland in 2015/16, brushed aside Sparta Prague 3-0 last month courtesy of goals from Charlie Austin and Jay Rodriguez before claiming a creditable if incredibly dour point away to reigning Israeli champions Hapoel Be'er Sheva.

Good evening and welcome to IBTimes UK's latest coverage of the Europa League.

Robin van Persie's return to Manchester United with Fenerbahce will come later on tonight, but first our attentions turn to the world-famous Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, or San Siro to you and I, where Southampton square off against Internazionale for the very first time in a competitive fixture.

Kick-off in Milan is at the slightly earlier time of 18.00 BST, so stay tuned for all the latest injury news, confirmed lineups and live updates.