Inter loses in Serie A and looks set to miss Champs League
MILAN: Inter Milan players were in tears after losing at home to Sassuolo 2-1 in Serie A on Saturday left their chances of qualifying for the Champions League in tatters.
Inter captain Mauro Icardi, Rafinha and other players fell to the ground after the final whistle, several with tears running down their face.
"This defeat hurts us a lot but the team did well," Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said. "The players were destroyed in the dressing room, it really meant a lot to them and they gave their all.
"Sassuolo did what they had to do and we congratulate them for having won a difficult match. ... We went behind but we had all the time to get back into the match ... Consigli is a top-class goalkeeper and tonight he showed the talent he has."
The result meant Roma qualified for the Champions League — no matter how it fares against Juventus on Sunday — as it was four points ahead of Inter, with one round remaining.
Inter remained two points behind fourth-placed Lazio, which can secure a spot in the Champions League with a victory over relegation-threatened Crotone on Sunday.
Inter and Lazio play each other in the last round.
Having already secured safety, Sassuolo had pride to play for and took a surprise lead in the 24th minute when Matteo Politano waited for the wall to jump before rolling a free kick under it and into the bottom right corner.
Goalkeeper Andrea Consigli did well to deny Marcelo Brozovic and Antonio Candreva and pulled off a fantastic stop to keep out Mauro Icardi's effort on the stroke of halftime.
Icardi had the ball in the net moments earlier but it was ruled out for offside.
Consigli continued to perform heroics after the break and Domenico Berardi doubled Sassuolo's lead in the 72nd, beating a defender before firing powerfully into the back of the net.
Rafinha netted his first goal for Inter 10 minutes from time with a low shot which went in off the base of the post.
The Nerazzurri layed seige to the goal but could not find a way past Consigli.
Demoted Benevento marked its final home match in Serie A by beating Genoa 1-0.
Cheick Diabate scored four minutes from time, thanks to a great run from Enrico Brignola, who started in his own half and shrugged off two tackles before rolling across for his teammate.
Home goalkeeper Christian Puggioni pulled off some fine saves