Inter Milan narrowly avoided a
humiliating Europa League qualifying exit when they lost 2-0 to
Croatia's Hajduk Split at the San Siro on Thursday, surviving
courtesy of their 3-0 win in the away leg last week.
Inter's problems began in the 23rd minute of the third
qualifying round second leg tie when Hajduk forward Ivan Vukovic
was fouled by Walter Samuel and Ante Vukusic converted the
Inter had a flurry of chances just before the break but fell
further behind when Vukovic rifled the ball home from just
inside the area in the 68th minute.
Vukusic nearly sent the game to extra time when his low shot
was just wide of the post as Inter fans watched in stunned
"It's only August 9, these things happen," said Inter coach
Andrea Stramaccioni. "The important thing is that we got
Athletic Bilbao, last season's runners-up, also qualified
despite losing to Croatian opponents as they went down 2-1 at
Slaven Belupo Koprivnica but won 4-3 on aggregate.
Liverpool had no such problems as a 3-0 win at home to Gomel
sent them through 4-0 on aggregate.
Fabio Borini and Steven Gerrard put them two goals ahead in
the first half before Glen Johnson completed the scoring in new
manager Brendan Rodgers' first home game in charge.
Other teams to progress in Thursday's 29 matches included
Steaua Bucharest, Dynamo Moscow, Olympique Marseille and APOEL
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