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Neftçi find Inter too hot to handle

Neftçi PFK 1-3 FC Internazionale Milano
Fredy Guarín ran the show, setting up all Inter's goals as the visitors spoiled Neftçi's home debut in a UEFA competition group stage.

Coutinho opened the scoring for Inter in Baku
Coutinho opened the scoring for Inter in Baku ©AFP/Getty Images

Despite a much improved second-half display, Neftçi PFK suffered disappointment in their debut home group stage game as they succumbed to the quality of FC Internazionale Milano.

In the first UEFA game between clubs from Azerbaijan and Italy, the Nerazzurri strode into a three-goal lead by the break. Fredy Guarín crossed for Coutinho and Joel Obi before instigating Marko Livaja's second goal in the competition. Nicolás Canales got one back in the 53rd minute as Neftçi upped their game, but Inter held on comfortably to move onto four points in Group H.

The hosts started nervously and when Jonathan released Guarín in the tenth minute, the Colombian played a telling ball for Coutinho, who applied a tidy back-flicked finish. Neftçi roused themselves, but just as it looked as though they were getting a foothold in the game, Inter struck again.

Guarín ran onto Coutinho's lay-off, streaking down the right before squaring for Joel Obi. The Nigerian had never scored for Inter, but that did not show as he placed his shot across Saša Stamenković with supreme confidence to double his side's lead on the half-hour. His first goal for the club, and Inter's 500th in UEFA club competition.

Inter were cruising by the 42nd minute when Livaja made it three. Guarín was again involved, threading through a pass that Bruno Bertucci could only divert into the path of Livaja and the Croatian had the simple task of heading into an empty net.

Neftçi looked shell-shocked but responded admirably. Spurred on by captain Rashad A. Sadygov, they got one back when Julius Wobay ventured down the right and his cross-shot was touched in at the back post by Canales – the Azerbaijani champions first ever group stage goal. They poured forward, but found Inter and keeper Samir Handanovič in resolute form.