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Inter seeking San Siro succour

FC Internazionale Milano have struggled to hit top form at home in European competition this season, but have a chance to improve their record when Neftçi PFK visit on matchday six.

Inter will have to settle for second place in Group H
Inter will have to settle for second place in Group H ©Getty Images

FC Internazionale Milano can no longer finish top of UEFA Europa League Group H, but are certain of second place as they play host to eliminated Neftçi PFK.

Group H permutations
• FC Rubin Kazan are through as group winners due to their superior head-to-head over Inter.

Inter are through as runners-up.

• FK Partizan and Neftçi are out.

Previous meetings
•  Inter won 3-1 in Baku on matchday two in what was the first UEFA game between clubs from Azerbaijan and Italy. The Nerazzurri strode into a three-goal lead by the break, Fredy Guarín setting up Coutinho, Joel Obi and then Marko Livaja. Nicolás Canales got one back in the 53rd minute as Neftçi upped their game.

• The only other previous form the teams have to go by is from the two games Azerbaijan played against Italy in UEFA EURO 2004 qualifying – the Azzurri won 2-0 at the Tofig Bahramov Republican Stadium in Baku and 4-0 in the return fixture in Reggio Calabria.

• Under-21 and under-age sides from Azerbaijan and Italy have met in nine previous UEFA games. The first – between U16 sides – ended in a 0-0 draw in 1997, but Italy have won all eight of the subsequent meetings, and it took until the most recent of those – a 2-1 win for Italy's U19s in October 2011 – for the Azeri sides to register their first goal.

Match background
• Inter are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time.

• Inter have won just once in their four UEFA home games this season (W1 D2 L1).

• Neftçi have won just once in their last 11 European away games (D3 L7), unexpectedly beating APOEL FC 3-1 in this season's UEFA Europa League play-offs.

• They have only won two of 20 away fixtures in Europe in total, losing 15.

Team facts
• Neftçi are the first Azerbaijani side to make it to the group stage of a UEFA club competition. With seven league titles, they are the most successful club in Azerbaijan since independence, and set a Soviet-era high-water mark for the republic by finishing third in the USSR's top division in 1966.

• Inter's coach is Andrea Stramaccioni, who stepped in on a caretaker basis to replace Claudio Ranieri in March 2012 and was then handed a contract for the 2012/13 campaign. A defender whose career was cut short by a serious injury at Bologna FC, he specialised in coaching youth teams, taking charge of the AS Roma and then Inter junior selections before getting the senior job.

• Boyukagha Hajiyev is the coach of Neftçi. A coach and player at now-defunct MFK Araz-Naxçivan, he spent several years coaching in Iran and was Vagif Sadygov's assistant with the national team in 2005. Having won a first national title in what was initially a caretaker spell at FK Bakı in 2005/06, Hajiyev won the crown again in 2011/12, his first season at Neftçi.

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