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Spalletti delighted with reaction to Malcom’s goal

Spalletti delighted with reaction to Malcom’s goal

Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti was delighted with his side’s reaction to Malcom’s opener for Barcelona on Tuesday night.

The game which pitted second and third place against each other in their group, was a superb one, despite not having many goals.

Ernesto Valverde’s men were minus Lionel Messi, but they dominated from start to finish, controlling large parts of the play.

The first half saw Barca have multiple chances through Luis Suarez but the Uruguayan striker failed to really test Samir Handanovic.

Down the other end of the pitch, Marc Andre ter-Stegen had very little to do as the likes of Icardi and Ivan Perisic struggled to break the Barca back-line.

The second half began in the same vein as the first with Barca on top, but as the game grew and grew – it seemed likely it would end goal-less.

Philippe Coutinho proved to be arguably the best player on the pitch and he was adamant to get his team on the score-sheet.

And, following the arrival of Malcom for Ousmane Dembele – Coutinho tricked his way past a few defenders before playing in his compatriot – who struck under Handanovic.

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The lead didn’t last long though as Inter countered and a mix up in the Barca defence saw Icardi hammer the ball under ter-Stegen’s legs.

“We wanted to put in a performance that the fans could appreciate and the team responded in the right way,” said Spalletti, quoted on Inter’s official website.

“We were brave and we performed in line with what the crowd wanted.

“It seemed as though the match was going to finish 0-0. Their goal came in an unexpected fashion but our reaction was vital.

“The boys didn’t let up and the fact that Icardi went straight to get the ball after scoring the equaliser shows the character and mentality of this team.”

Spalletti added: “Qualification is in our hands, but we can’t let up in our remaining matches. We must go to London to get a result, convinced of our own abilities.”

The result sees Barca remain top on 10 points, whilst Inter sit second but have been closed down by Tottenham Hotspur, who came from behind to beat PSV Eindhoven.