Sparta Praha scores stunner, adds to woes of slumping Inter Milan in Europa League
Mario Holek sealed the victory with Sparta's third goal against Inter Milan. AP

PRAGUE — Inter Milan's opening loss to Hapoel Beer-Sheva became less shocking when it fell at Sparta Prague and dropped to last in Group K in the Europa League on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).

A three-time champion, Inter has lost four straight in European competitions. It arrived boosted by a come-from-behind win over Juventus in Serie A, but produced another poor performance in European competition at Generali Arena.

"We weren't focused," Inter coach Frank de Boer said. "We made too many mistakes, giving easy balls to our opponents. We need to get a lot better in that regard, otherwise we're going to find every match very difficult."

Forward Vaclav Kadlec scored twice in the first half for Sparta, which moved to second place in the group. Hapoel and Southampton, which drew 0-0 in Israel, lead by one point. Inter has yet to earn a point.

Striker Rodrigo Palacio pulled Inter back into the game with a goal in the 71st, but defender Mario Holek sealed the victory for the hosts just a minute after Inter defender Andrea Ranocchia was sent off in the 75th for a second yellow card.


Balotelli scored but Nice lost at Russian side Krasnodar in Group I. To make things worse, the Italian forward was substituted at halftime, apparently because of a knock to his knee while scoring his fifth goal in four games.

Brazilian forwards Joaozinho and Ari scored two goals each for Krasnodar, which leads the group with Schalke. The German team beat Salzburg 3-1.


Group G leader Ajax defeated Standard Liege 1-0 to end a run of five consecutive home draws in Europe, while 10-man Shakhtar Donetsk topped Braga 2-0 in Group H. Fiorentina routed Azerbaijan's Qarabag 5-1 with three goals in eight minutes just before halftime, including a pair by Senegalese striker Khouma Babacar, and Steaua Bucharest and Villarreal exchanged first-half goals in a 1-1 draw in Romania in Group L.

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