Lautaro Martínez’s scoring streak continued as he helped Inter Milan snatch a 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad on Wednesday and prevent what would have been a dream return to the Champions League for the Spanish side.
Brais Méndez’s early goal looked set to see Sociedad mark its first match back among Europe’s elite in a decade with an impressive win over last season’s runner-up.
But Martínez pounced with three minutes remaining, netting his sixth goal of the fledgling season.
Inter midfielder Nicolò Barella had been shown a red card but that was rescinded on video review.
Inter, which lost to Manchester City in last season’s final, went into the match full of confidence after its perfect start to the season continued with a 5-1 demolition of AC Milan in Saturday’s derby match.
That was the only goal the Nerazzurri had conceded this campaign but its defense looked shaky from the start in San Sebastian.
Ander Barrenetxea thumped the left upright but Inter did not heed that early warning and found itself behind with less than four minutes on the clock.
Alessandro Bastoni had already struggled to control a pass from goalkeeper Yann Sommer when he was pressed by two Sociedad players and lost the ball on the edge of the area, allowing Méndez to sweep it into the bottom right corner.
Sociedad had several chances to double its lead and almost did so on the stroke of halftime but Robin Le Normand headed Takefusa Kubo’s cross over the bar from four yards.
The home side did not let its energy diminish after the break and Sommer had to make an impressive save at point-blank range to keep out Mikel Oyarzabal’s header.
Inter’s problems appeared to have been added to when Barella was shown a straight red card for a presumed stamp on Méndez.
The Inter midfielder vehemently protested his innocence, remonstrating that he had simply got his foot tangled up in Méndez’s legs and was trying to pull away. After reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor, referee Michael Oliver revoked his original decision and shook Barella’s hand in apology.
Substitute Marcus Thuram, who has been one of the revelations of this season, thought he had leveled with 11 minutes remaining but it was ruled out for offside.
Inter did get the equalizer eight minutes later, with its first shot on target, when Martínez smashed home Davide Frattesi’s through ball.
Salzburg seizes on Benfica’s blunders in 2-0 win in the Champions League
Benfica handed Salzburg the chances the Austrian champion’s youthful squad needed for a 2-0 win in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Salzburg missed one early penalty but was handed another for a needless handball soon after, putting it on course for a surprise win as Benfica played more than 75 minutes with 10 players.
Benfica gave up a penalty just over a minute into the game when goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin jumped into Salzburg’s Strahinja Pavlović while trying to intercept the ball at a corner. Karim Konaté blasted the spot-kick high over the bar.
Portuguese champion Benfica — with ex-Salzburg coach Roger Schmidt — seemed to be taking control of the game when João Mário hit the post in the 12th minute but almost immediately afterward gave up another penalty.
A deflected shot looped high into the air and bounced off the crossbar onto António Silva’s outstretched arm as he tried to clear. He was sent off. This time, penalty taker Roko Šimić made no mistake and scored as Trubin dived the wrong way.
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