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Inter hold off Atalanta to secure Champions League qualification

Anadolu Agency / Getty

Inter Milan secured their place in next season's Champions League with a 3-2 win over Atalanta and showed some fine form heading into the final of Europe's top club competition next month.

Simone Inzaghi's side rose to second in Serie A with an entertaining win over Atalanta after an early blitz from Romelu Lukaku and Nicolo Barella followed by Lautaro Martinez's simple finish in the 77th minute.

Inter are eight points ahead of fifth-placed Atalanta, whose top four hopes are now over for the season, and looked in fine fettle with English champions Manchester City awaiting them in Istanbul on June 10.

Their win also means that fourth-placed AC Milan only need to avoid defeat at troubled Juventus on Sunday night to ensure their return to the Champions League after being knocked out in the semi-finals by their local rivals last week.

Lukaku put the hosts in the lead less than a minute into what might be his last match at the San Siro as an Inter player, with his loan from Chelsea finishing at the end of next month.

The Belgium forward, who is hoping a deal can be struck with Chelsea to stay in Milan, rounded Marco Sportiello and rolled in his 10th league goal of the season after being sent flying through by Lautaro Martinez.

Inter went two ahead in the third minute, Barella ramming home a volleyed finish after Sportiello denied Federico Dimarco.

Mario Pasalic halved the deficit nine minutes before the break but Inter were the superior team and Martinez sealed the points with his 27th goal of the season in all competitions.

Lukaku's slide-rule pass for Marcelo Brozovic allowed the Croatia midfielder to roll an unmissable chance to World Cup winner Martinez.

Luis Muriel's beautiful stoppage-time strike was only a consolation for the away team.

Atalanta are a point ahead of Roma, whose chances of getting into the top four ended with a 2-1 loss at Fiorentina in a battle of teams in European finals.

Jose Mourinho's Roma are four points behind Milan and the only way they can now reach the Champions League is by beating Sevilla in Wednesday's Europa League final.

Inter hold off Atalanta to secure Champions League qualification
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