December 6, 2012
Inter draw despite Livaja double
Teenage striker Marko Livaja struck twice but a youthful Inter Milan signed off from the Europa League group stage with a 2-2 home draw against Neftchi at the San Siro.
Nicolas Canales stole a share of the points for the Azerbaijan side two minutes from the end to punish Inter's profligacy.
With second place in Group H already tied up boss Andrea Stramaccioni made seven changes as he gave a run-out to a host of his youth team players.
Livaja seemingly set the stage for a comfortable night when he fired a ninth-minute opener and while Inter dominated Neftchi equalised through Rashad Sadygov on 52 minutes.
Livaja took two minutes to respond, firing his fourth goal of a European campaign that has marked the 19-year-old Croatian as a future star, but again Neftchi equalised through Canales' late header.
Livaja was the most notable young player in the much-changed Inter line-up and he immediately made his mark after poor defending allowed Alvaro Perreira's cross to get through to him at the back post.
Inter should have added to their lead before half-time but failed to make their dominance count.
Philippe Coutinho saw a shot deflected off Igor Mitreski and Jonathan's run and shot was only kept out by Neftchi goalkeeper Sasa Stamenkovic's outstretched foot.
Walter Samuel shaved the post after getting his head to a Coutinho free-kick while 18-year-old Luca Garritano's ambitious volley sailed wide.
Inter's profligacy was temporarily punished seven minutes after half-time when Sadygov smacked a 25-yarder into the top-right corner.
Neftchi were on level terms for just two minutes, however, as Livaja grabbed his second.
Yuto Nagatomo, who came on for Garritano immediately after the equaliser, made a difference with his first touch as he crossed for Livaja to head in from the centre of the area.
Livaja was denied a hat-trick by Emin Mehdiyev's timely block inside the six-yard box before Yuto Nagamoto thumped a shot against the crossbar late on.
Seconds later Neftchi were celebrating their equaliser as Canales headed in from six yards.