Atalanta, Inter get Champions League spots on wild final day

Published 5:30 p.m. ET May 26, 2019


MILAN (AP) — Inter Milan survived a dramatic end to its Serie A campaign on Sunday to secure a Champions League spot for next season, while Atalanta will make its debut in Europe’s top club competition.

Leading 2-1 in the 89th minute against an Empoli team fighting relegation, Inter’s defense was in disarray as Danilo D’Ambrosio knocked an Empoli cross against his own crossbar, and soon after Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic was forced into a vital save.

When Empoli’s goalkeeper went up for a corner and Inter counterattacked, Marcelo Brozovic scored from the halfway line into an empty net and Inter seemed secure. But more drama was to come as the video assistant referee ruled the goal out because Empoli’s keeper was fouled as he hurried back to his goal and had Keita Balde — the scorer of Inter’s first goal — sent off.

Empoli charged forward again, forcing Hamdanovic to save a header in the eighth minute of injury time but Inter held on for a 2-1 win — with the second goal from Radja Nainggolan — to secure Champions League football for a second straight year.

Four teams had been fighting for the last two…

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