Inter are on the verge of exiting the Champions League after losing 2-0 to Real Madrid in Wednesday’s clash at San Siro.
Madrid won the reverse fixture 3-2 earlier this month to revive their Group B campaign and they made a strong start to what was the first meeting between these sides at Inter’s iconic ground since 1998.
Eden Hazard converted an early penalty – his first goal in the competition in three years – and Inter’s task was made all the more difficult when Arturo Vidal was sent off for dissent with 33 minutes played.
Madrid added a second goal through substitute Rodrygo’s volley to move a point behind Borussia Monchengladbach in second, with Inter five points worse off in fourth heading into the final two rounds of fixtures.
Nicolo Barella clipped the heels of Nacho Fernandez inside the box early on and Hazard powerfully dispatched the penalty despite Samir Handanovic guessing the right way.
Lucas Vazquez sent a 25-yard drive crashing against the base of the post and Hazard was denied by Handanovic as Madrid, without star striker Karim Benzema and skipper Sergio Ramos among others, pushed for a second.
Inter struggled to create anything of note and lost Vidal to a couple of quickfire yellow cards before half-time for dissent, the former Barcelona man reacting angrily to a penalty call not going his way.
The hosts had another penalty shout rejected when Roberto Gagliardini went to ground under pressure and they were further frustrated just short of the hour mark as Rodrygo – on the field for 32 seconds – met Vazquez’s back-post cross and steered in.
Thibaut Courtois was tested for the first time with 82 minutes played but routinely kept out Ivan Perisic’s shot as Zinedine Zidane’s men saw out a comfortable victory.
Inter, who have won just one of their last six matches in all competitions, travel to Sassuolo on their return to Serie A action on Saturday.
Madrid will be looking for a first LaLiga win in three outings when they host Deportivo Alaves on the same day.