MILAN — Inter Milan’s hopes of sneaking into the Champions League all but evaporated Monday as it lost 2-1 at home to Sampdoria in Serie A.
Fabio Quagliarella’s late penalty left Inter sixth, nine points behind third-placed Napoli and the final qualifying position for Europe’s premier club competition.
There are eight matches remaining.
"We missed an opportunity," Inter coach Stefano Pioli. "Unfortunately after Samp equalized we stopped played and thinking as a team. We should have stayed organized and compact, instead we panicked … an error we paid for dearly.
"Now we just have to think about ensuring that at the end of the season our situation in the table is better than it is now."
Inter could also miss out on Europe altogether as, although it occupies the last qualifying spot for the Europa League, it is just one point above AC Milan. The two Milan teams face off in the derby on April 15.
It was Sampdoria’s first victory over Inter at San Siro in more than 20 years.
"This year we have got great results," said Sampdoria coach Marco Giampaolo, who confirmed he would sign a new contract on Wednesday. "So much so that one of my close friends told me I should find an excuse to leave, because certain achievements are difficult to repeat.
"Joking apart, this victory gives us a lot of prestige. I asked the lads to confirm they are growing, that they are reducing the gap to the big teams and they did that. They were really good."
Inter took the lead in the 35th minute when a corner was played short for Antonio Candreva to cross into the area and Danilo D’Ambrosio’s volley was deflected into the bottom right corner.
Sampdoria hit the post twice in the first half and got a deserved equalizer five minutes after the break. Matias Silvestre’s header was going into the bottom left corner but Patrik Schick got the final touch.
Marcelo Brozovic had kept Schick onside and the Inter midfielder was at fault for Sampdoria’s winner five minutes from time when he handled Ricky Alvarez’s free kick.
Quagliarella powerfully struck the resulting penalty into the roof of the net.
Inter captain Mauro Icardi had wasted a golden opportunity in the 72nd, blasting over from close range against his former club.