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Neftçi claim creditable draw at Inter

FC Internazionale Milano 2-2 Neftçi PFK
Twice behind to a Marko Livaja goal, Neftçi avoided defeat for just the sixth time in 21 European away games thanks to Nicolás Canales's header.

Rashad A Sadygov (No6) takes the acclaim after Neftçi's first equaliser
Rashad A Sadygov (No6) takes the acclaim after Neftçi's first equaliser ©AFP/Getty Images

Neftçi PFK concluded their UEFA Europa League Group H campaign with a 2-2 draw at FC Internazionale Milano.

While Internazionale had already clinched their place in the round of 32 and Neftçi finished bottom of the section despite this result, the Azerbaijani club could take solace from a famous point. Fifteen defeats from their 20 away games in Europe suggested they had their work cut out and Marko Livaja's ninth-minute strike doubled their difficulties. Though Rashad A Sadygov equalised, Livaja's second looked to have earned Inter victory until a last-gasp intervention from Nicolás Canales.

The Nerazzurri belied their run of one win in five outings with a fast start aided by a fair share of good fortune. Álvaro Pereira's cross from the left seemed harmless enough yet when one Neftçi defender slipped and another missed the ball altogether, Livaja took a touch before side-footing calmly past Saša Stamenković.

Walter Samuel was not quite so clinical when he headed Coutinho's cross narrowly over moments before the half-hour, and Neftçi suddenly appeared to have found a second wind. Their equaliser seven minutes after the break was nevertheless unexpected, Sadygov unleashing a swerving 25-metre shot which flew past Vid Belec.

Before the visitors had time to get their tails up, though, Inter restored their advantage. Substitute Yuto Nagatomo supplied the centre from the left and Livaja had the simple task of nodding past Stamenković.

If the 19-year-old's second was straightforward enough, his hat-trick chance was positively gift-wrapped. Esteban Cambiasso squared to him from a corner yet, with Stamenković out of position, Livaja fired straight at Bruno Bertucci on the line. Stamenković then did splendidly to tip Nagatomo's shot onto the bar and Neftçi made the most of their reprieve in the penultimate minute, Canales heading in the rebound after Bertucci's effort had been parried.