Inter failed to get beyond the Champions League group stage for a second successive season after losing 2-1 at home to Barcelona, with Ansu Fati’s late winner making him the youngest scorer in the competition’s history.
The Serie A leaders needed to at least match Borussia Dortmund’s result against Slavia Prague due to being level on seven points before the game, but the Germans emerged 2-1 victors to secure their progression as Inter were left to regret their own wasteful finishing.
After weathering an early Inter storm, a much-changed Barca went ahead through fringe forward Carles Perez, though their lead did not last – Romelu Lukaku blasting in from 20 yards.
Lukaku was otherwise wasteful in front of goal, however, missing a particularly fine opportunity early in the second period, before the visitors sealed Inter’s fate late on through 17-year-old Fati, dropping the Italians into the Europa League.
A purposeful start from Inter saw Lukaku have a goal disallowed for offside, while the Belgian had a close-range effort crucially deflected over by Clement Lenglet.
Barca steadily gained a foothold, however, and capitalised on Inter’s profligacy in the 23rd minute – Perez sweeping home after Diego Godin deflected Antoine Griezmann’s incisive pass to the forward.
Lenglet inexplicably missed the target from 12 yards just past the half-hour mark and Inter made him pay on the stroke of half-time, Lukaku drilling home after excellent hold-up play by Lautaro Martinez on the edge of the box.
Lukaku should have got a second just after the hour mark but he lashed straight at Neto in a one-on-one opportunity.
Martinez thought he had grabbed a late victory to take Inter through, yet Lukaku had strayed offside just prior to his fellow striker prodding home.
And substitute Fati fired in a historic winner four minutes from time to destroy Inter’s hope of joining them in the last 16, sending a low shot in off the left-hand post.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
INTER MILAN: (3-5-2) Handanovic; Godin, de Vrij, Skriniar; Brozovic, D’Ambrosio (Politano 75), Valero (Esposito 77), Vecino, Biraghi (Lazaro 69); Martinez, Lukaku
SUBS NOT USED: Padelli (GK); Dimarco, Candreva, Bastoni
GOALS: Lukaku (44)
BOOKINGS: Valero (45+1), de Vrij (88), Godin (90+2)
COACH: Antonio Conte
BARCELONA: (5-3-2) Neto; Todibo, Lenglet, Umtiti, Wague, Firpo; Rakitic (de Jong 63), Vidal, Alena; Perez (Fati 84), Griezmann (Suarez 62)
SUBS NOT USED: ter Stegen (GK); Busquets, Araujo, Morer
GOALS: Perez (23), Fati (87)
BOOKINGS: Lenglet (35), Firpo (49)
COACH: Ernesto Valverde
REFEREE: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland)
VENUE: San Siro