Champions League: Inter Milan, Ajax eliminated

Teenage prodigy Ansu Fati became the youngest player to score a Champions League goal as a second-string Barcelona side beat Inter Milan 2-1 to send the Italians crashing out of the competition on Tuesday.

The 17-year-old Guinea-Bissau-born attacker picked up a Luis Suarez lay to fire home four minutes from time to wrap Barca’s group phase in style.

Barcelona were already through to the knockout stages as Group F winners and left six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi at home.

But Serie A leaders Inter needed a win over the La Liga leaders or to match Borussia Dortmund’s result at home to Slavia Prague to qualify on their superior head-to-head record.

Instead the Germans made it through to the knockout rounds with a 2-1 win to finish three points ahead of third-placed Inter, who go into the Europa League.

Debutant Carles Perez had put the Spaniards ahead after 23 minutes at the San Siro, but Romelu Lukaku drilled in an equaliser just before the break to keep the hosts in the tie.

Inter’s strike duo Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez had three goals ruled offside between them, two for the Argentine who has already scored five times in the competition this year.

And Barca had the last word as substitute Fati broke through to seal the win late and deny Inter a return to the knockout stages for the first time since the 2011-2012 season.

Ajax’s hopes of another fairytale run in the Champions League were dashed on Tuesday as a 1-0 defeat at home to Valencia sent them crashing out and the Spaniards through to the last 16.

Elsewhere, Rodrigo Moreno’s 24th-minute strike proved the winner at the Johan Cruyff Arena and enough to flip the top three in Group H, with Valencia advancing in first place along with Chelsea, who beat bottom club Lille 2-1.

Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista was sent off in injury-time but even against 10 men, Ajax could not find the equaliser they needed.

Earlier, holders Liverpool put n a fine display to beat Salzburg 2-0 and reach the knockout rounds as group winners ahead of Napoli, who ran out 4-0 winners over Genk.

 

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