MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany (Reuters) - Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku scored twice in the second half to secure a 3-2 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Tuesday and keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stage alive with Group B still wide open with one round of games left.
The Belgium international has proved a lifesaver for Inter, having also scored twice, including a last-minute equaliser, in their 2-2 draw with the Germans in Italy on the first matchday.
Lukaku fired home for a 2-1 lead in the 64th minute at Borussia Park and tapped in his second goal nine minutes later to make it 3-1, with Inter now needing a win in their last group match against Shakhtar Donetsk to have any chance of advancing.
“You need to be a great group (of players), otherwise you don’t come here and win against this Borussia side in great form,” said Inter coach Antonio Conte.
“We had a great performance, we fully deserved to win. We just could avoid some risks at the end but we are still alive and this is what counts the most.”
Gladbach are top on eight points, one ahead of Shakhtar and Real Madrid after the Ukrainians earlier beat the visiting Spaniards 2-0. Inter are bottom on five. All four teams will battle to reach the last 16 on the final matchday.
Inter were rewarded for their strong start with Matteo Darmian slotting the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Yann Sommer in the 17th minute.
The Germans found their footing after half an hour and, despite frantic shouts of “calma, calma” from Inter coach Antonio Conte echoing across the empty stadium, the Italians lost their grip on the game.
Alassane Plea headed home the equaliser in first-half stoppage time but as the hosts edged closer to a second goal after the break, Lukaku struck with a powerful shot across the area into the far corner.
He then completed a quick move with an easy tap in.
Moenchengladbach were not done yet and Plea cut the deficit in the 76th while eight minutes later the Frenchman had an effort disallowed by VAR for an offside in the area.
“We’d have liked to get points from this game. We didn’t manage that and we’re very disappointed,” said Gladbach coach Marco Rose, who was furious over the offside decision.
Asked what he had told the referee in an agitated manner at the end of the game, Rose replied: “Merry Christmas.”
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris
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