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Inter coast to Europa win in Croatia


BERNE — Wesley Sneijder set Inter Milan on their way to a comfortable 3-0 win away at Hajduk Split in Europa League qualifying on Thursday, giving the Serie A side a successful start in their first competitive game of the season.

Dutchman Sneijder rifled Inter ahead after 18 minutes and Japan’s Yuto Nagatomo put them 2-0 up against the Croatian side just before the break. Brazilian Philippe Coutinho completed the scoring in the second half of the third qualifying round first-leg tie.

“It’s a good result but what I liked was the fact that we never stopped trying to play football and we gave very little away,” Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni said.

Inter are hoping to recover from a difficult last season when Stramaccioni, initially given the job on an interim basis, became the third coach to be employed by club president Massimo Moratti. In other ties, a second-half strike from Stewart Downing gave Liverpool a 1-0 win away to Belarus side Gomel and last season’s beaten finalists Athletic Bilbao beat Croatia’s Slaven Belupo Koprivnica 3-1 at home.

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