MILAN - A stunning Mauro Icardi volley sparked a thrilling late Inter Milan comeback as the Italian side beat Tottenham 2-1 on their return to the Champions League after a seven-year absence on Tuesday.
Christian Eriksen's deflected strike gave Spurs a 53rd-minute lead at the San Siro, and the visitors looked comfortable for much of the second half. But Argentinian striker Icardi hammered home a magnificent volley in the 86th minute to draw Inter level, and Matias Vecino took advantage of some slack Tottenham defending at a corner to nod in a dramatic injury-time winner.
The win leaves Inter second in the early Group B table, behind Barcelona on goal difference after the Catalan giants thrashed PSV Eindhoven 4-0 with a Lionel Messi hat-trick. The late drama was greeted with deafening applause from the 66,000 crowd in the San Siro who minutes earlier had feared that Inter's disastrous start to the Serie A season would carry over into Europe.
Tottenham had the best chance in a balanced first half with star striker Harry Kane missing an opportunity to add to his Champions League tally after being served up a clever chipped cross from Eriksen on 38 minutes.
Kane, the top scorer at the World Cup with six goals, arrived in Italy having scored nine goals in ten Champions League games. But with only Samir Handanovic to beat the England striker rounded the Inter goalkeeper, before losing his way as the ball rolled behind for a goal kick.
After Eriksen struck with a deflected shot that looped over Handanovic, the Londoners looked in control. But the hosts turned things around with Icardi scoring his first Champions League goal in his first appearance in the European competition, to add to his 110 goals in Serie A.
Inter Milan, who last won the trophy in 2010 under Jose Mourinho, were returning to the elite competition for the first time since 2011-12, with Tottenham eliminated last season in the knockout rounds by Juventus. Both teams are struggling in the league with Inter Milan having four points from four games and Tottenham sixth after suffering consecutive defeats.
Mauricio Pochettino made five changes to the Tottenham side that lost to Liverpool at the weekend with Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld, Harry Winks and Lucas Moura all dropping out.
Luciano Spalletti retained six of the side that lost to Parma in Serie A at the San Siro on Saturday. Uruguay midfielder Vecino and winger Matteo Politano started along with defenders Kwadwo Asamoah and Miranda, with Icardi up front alone.