MX23RW : Thursday, April 2 03:42:27| >> :120:19528:19528:
May 26, 2019 at 7.30pm UK at San Siro
Attendance: 68,051
Inter Milan
2-1
Empoli
Balde (51'), Nainggolan (81')
Balde (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Junior Traore (76')
Perucchini (90')

Luciano Spalletti hails "exceptional" Inter Milan after securing Champions League

Luciano Spalletti hails
© Reuters
The side beat Empoli 2-1 to clinch a top-four finish.

Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti hailed his players for holding their nerve after they qualified for the Champions League by beating Empoli 2-1 on the final day.

Inter sealed a top-four finish at the expense of city rivals AC Milan, while Empoli were relegated to Serie B.

Radja Nainggolan struck the winner with nine minutes left after Empoli's Hamed Junior Traore had cancelled out Keita Balde's opener.

"We played a good game, even if the added pressure, considering the importance of the match and the weight of the Nerazzurri shirt, inevitably had some influence," Spalletti told a post-match press conference.

"It was a time to show heart and everyone did. It wasn't easy, but the guys were exceptional, especially after their equalising goal.

"I was sorry to play what was essentially a knockout game against Empoli, who had a great game and they would have deserved to stay up.

"But Inter played the game that Inter needed to play and we never gave up until the final second and only our mental state put us back on track."

Inter striker Mauro Icardi's second-half penalty was saved, team-mate Marcelo Brozovic's stoppage-time goal was chalked off by the video assistant referee and both sides had a player sent off in stoppage time.

Empoli's Filippo Perucchini was shown a straight red card for remonstrating with the referee and Keita was shown his second yellow card in the seventh minute of time added on.

Atalanta, Inter, Milan and Roma were locked in a four-way fight for two places at Europe's top table heading into the final round of Serie A fixtures.

But victories for Atalanta and Inter meant Milan and Roma were unable to muscle in on the top four, despite ending the season with wins of their own.

"I expected a match like that because the race for the top four had already suggested that it would go to the final day," Spalletti added.

"The team achieved the objective that was set in advance and our guys deserve to be congratulated."

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Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti watches on during his side's Serie A defeat to Sassuolo
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Juventus26203350242663
2Lazio26195260233762
3Inter Milan25166349242554
4Atalanta BCAtalanta25146570343648
5Roma26136751351645
6Napoli2611694136539
7AC Milan26106102834-636
8Hellas VeronaHellas Verona259882926335
9Parma25105103231135
10Bologna2697103842-434
11SassuoloSassuolo2595114139232
12CagliariCagliari258894140132
13Fiorentina2679103236-430
14Udinese2677122137-1628
15Torino2583142845-1727
16Sampdoria2575132844-1626
17Genoa2667133147-1625
18Lecce2667133456-2225
19SPALSPAL2653182044-2418
20Brescia2644182249-2716

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