Inter Milan edge Salzburg in Champions League to top group

Internazionale moved top of the standings in Champions League Group D on Tuesday after beating Austrian champions FC Salzburg 2-1 with an early goal by Alexis Sánchez and a second-half penalty from Hakan Calhanoglu.

Inter, who followed their opening 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad with a 1-0 home win against Benfica, are on seven points from three games.

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"A very important victory for the qualification, we were playing against a sparkling team," Inter coach Simone Inzaghi told Sky Sport. "The team won with merit against a team that we knew would trouble us.

"But we know it's a balanced group...and now we will have two consecutive away matches. We will have to prepare them well, knowing that the Champions League does not give anything away."

Salzburg's young squad showed no stage fright at the San Siro and pressed hard from the word go as Oscar Gloukh sent their first shot on target in the fourth minute, prompting Inter keeper Yann Sommer to react quickly to parry the ball.

But three-time champions Inter broke the deadlock against the run of play in the 19th minute when Sanchez collected a pass inside the box and sent it inside the far post to score his first goal since his return to Serie A over the summer.

Sanchez is now the highest-scoring Chilean in the Champions League with 16 goals, one more than Arturo Vidal.

Inter Milan players celebrate after scoring a goal against Salzburg in the Champions League.
Inter Milan players celebrate after scoring a goal against Salzburg in the Champions League.
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The goal sparked Inzaghi's side into life, but the visitors fought back after half-time and midfielder Gloukh levelled with a first touch from the edge of the box just before the hour mark.

However, Calhanoglu restored the lead for Inter seven minutes later, slotting home from the spot after the referee awarded a penalty for a foul on Davide Frattesi.

Lautaro Martínez thought he had increased the advantage in the 81st from close range after a brilliant Frattesi pass, but the goal was disallowed for offside following a VAR review.

The Austrian side pressed again in the closing minutes but failed to threaten Inter, who have the best defensive record in Serie A with five goals conceded.

"On the whole it was a very good game from us," Salzburg midfielder Luka Sucic told the club website. "In the first half we had two, maybe three good chances that we should have finished better. You could see tonight again that we can hurt big teams with our footballing style."

Salzburg, who claimed a 10th successive league title and a 17th overall last season, last won in Italy in the 2009-10 Europa League group stage in their opening fixture at Lazio.