Inter are 1-0 and a man down at home to Real Madrid, as Eden Hazard converted a penalty and Arturo Vidal saw red for dissent after his appeal.
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The group was extremely tight going in, as the Nerazzurri had just two points, Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk four, but Borussia Monchengladbach beat the Ukrainians 4-0 in an earlier kick-off to reach eight points.
Marcelo Brozovic and Aleksandar Kolarov were still out with COVID, but Madrid made the trip to San Siro without Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Federico Valverde, Eder Militao, Luka Jovic and Alvaro Odriozola. They moved tactics to 4-2-3-1 with Lucas Vazquez, Martin Odegaard and Eden Hazard supporting Mariano Diaz.
It was a bad start for Inter, as Nicolò Barella ran into the back of Nacho and clipped his heels for an avoidable and naïve penalty. Eden Hazard converted with power, despite Samir Handanovic guessing the right side.
Lucas Vazquez almost made it 2-0 soon after, his sudden snapshot bouncing off the base of the upright with Handanovic nowhere near it.
Arturo Vidal gave the ball away cheaply and was lucky Real Madrid failed to make the most of it, but Romelu Lukaku fired a free kick over from the edge of the area.
Hazard stung Handanovic’s gloves at the near post, but things went from bad to worse when Vidal went down in the box under pressure from two Real Madrid players. Not only did the referee not view it again on VAR, he booked Vidal for dissent, swiftly followed by another card to reduce Inter to 10 men.
The Nerazzurri struggled to keep their heads and Luka Modric scuffed his finish just wide.
Inter 0-1 Real Madrid (Half-Time)
E Hazard pen 7 (R)
Inter: Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Gagliardini, Young; Vidal; Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez
Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Kroos; Lucas Vazquez, Odegaard, E Hazard; Mariano Diaz
Ref: Taylor (ENG)
Sent off: Vidal 33 (I)