Romelu Lukaku blocks Alexis Sanchez header as Inter Milan suffer another early exit 1 year ago

Romelu Lukaku blocks Alexis Sanchez header as Inter Milan suffer another early exit

Another disastrous end to an Inter Milan Champions League campaign

24 hours on from their old side crashing out of the Champions League in Leipzig, former Manchester United duo Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku combined to ensure Inter Milan suffered a similar fate in their final group game against Shakhtar Donetsk.

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With Group B on a knife-edge, a win would have been enough for Antonio Conte's men to progress to the knock-out stages. However, despite dominating possession and having the majority of chances, Inter were unable to find a breakthrough, with the scoreline 0-0 as stoppage time loomed.

For a split second, though, it seemed Sanchez might produce a crucial late goal to seal the three-time European champions' progress. The Chilean found space in the Shakhtar area as a corner came in and appeared to have timed his leap and goal-bound header to perfection.

Unfortunately for Inter, Lukaku was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the ball inadvertently striking the Belgian on the head before looping into the air and being scrambled away by the Ukrainian side's defence.

Replays suggest Sanchez's header might have been saved by the goalkeeper had Lukaku not been in the way and there would be a valid argument to be made as to whether the striker was interfering with play from an offside position had the ball narrowly missed him and found its way into the goal.

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Despite all this, this was a moment that perfectly encapsulated another incredibly frustrating end to an Inter Milan Champions League campaign. Not only is it their third successive failure to progress from the group stages of the competition, this time, the result means they finish bottom of their group, dropping out of European competition altogether.

Real Madrid sealed their progress as group winners with a 2-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach, who qualify as runners up. Shakhtar will play in the Europa League in the spring.