Inter 2 Sparta Prague 1: Eder double sends host out on a high

Inter's miserable Europa League campaign ended on a positive note as it secured a last-gasp 2-1 win against Sparta Prague through Eder's brace.

EderMartins - cropped

Eder is congratulated by his Inter team-mates

Inter's miserable Europa League campaign ended on a positive note as it secured a last-gasp 2-1 win against Sparta Prague through Eder's brace.

With the Serie A giant enduring a difficult season, its poor league form has been combined with a string of losses in Europe that saw it eliminated before Thursday's final group game at San Siro

Having previously managed just a sole Group K success against Southampton, Inter was guaranteed to finish bottom, but went out on a high as Eder scored in either half.

Despite its struggles, this was a fifth consecutive home victory – albeit an unconvincing one, as stand-in goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carizzo was required to save Borek Dockal's penalty with the scores tied.

Eder nudged Inter in front as he starred in a strong first half, before Lukas Marecek hit back and Dockal was denied.

Although Eder then won the game in the 90th minute, it will matter little to Sparta, which had already secured top spot on matchday five.

Eder drove a free-kick just inches over the crossbar from 25 yards with the first serious effort on goal.

The Portugal international's next attempt was struck straight at Tomas Koubek, but, after 23 minutes, he forced a breakthrough.

Andrea Pinamonti's gorgeous touch teed up Eder and, although the goalkeeper parried his first shot, the 30-year-old prodded into the net.

Sparta's attacking threat had been minimal, but Andrea Ranocchia was fortunate to bundle the ball wide of his own post as he tangled with David Lafata in the area.

And the visitor drew level nine minutes after the break.

Dockal's deep cross was brilliantly flicked towards the far top corner by Marecek, with Carrizo only able to claw the ball into the net via the crossbar.

While substitute Ivan Perisic responded with a swerving blast from distance well held by Koubek, Marco Andreolli's rash challenge on Lafata then gave Sparta a penalty with 25 minutes remaining.

However, Dockal's low spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Carrizo down to his left.

Eder nodded over as Inter finally broke a spell of dominance from the visitor, before Cristian Ansaldi cut inside to test Koubek at his near post.

And it was the Argentine defender who picked out Eder to spin and drag a finish into the corner in the final minute, clinching victory.

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