Inter secured a place in the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday evening with a 2-1 victory over Ludogorets in an eerily silent Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
The Nerazzurri, who led the tie 2-0 on aggregate after the first leg, fell behind to a Cauly Souza strike before a Georgi Terziev own goal and a Romelu Lukaku header ensured the hosts went into the draw for the next round on a high.
Antonio Conte will be pleased that his team made it through the contest, which was played behind closed doors due to the outbreak of coronavirus in Northern Italy, seemingly unscathed as they continue to prepare for a crunch Serie A clash with Juventus on Sunday evening.
Inter dominated the early exchanges and Lukaku had the chance to give the Nerazzurri the lead when he found himself clean through on Plamen Iliev in the Ludogorets goal, but his shot failed to trouble the goalkeeper who got down well to make the save.
With the hosts firmly in control of the contest the first goal of the evening came against the run of play when Souza out muscled Diego Godin in the Inter box before thundering a tight angled effort past Daniele Padelli and into the roof of the net.
However, the visitor’s shock lead would only last five minutes as Cristiano Biraghi’s low cross was turned into his own goal by Terziev as he tried to prevent the ball reaching the lurking Lukaku.
Conte’s team took full control of the contest after the equaliser and deep into first half stoppage time they would take the lead with a comical goal.
Alexis Sánchez’s well weighted ball found the head of Lukaku, but his initial effort was well saved by Iliev, only for the rebound to hit the Belgian striker’s head a second time and trickle into the back of the net.
Sanchez nearly put the scoreline beyond the reach of the visitors after the break but his thunderous strike cannoned back off the crossbar, much to Iliev’s relief.
The hosts would hit the framework again not long after when Lukaku’s low drive was pushed on to the post by Iliev as they continued to push for the third goal that would have put the contest to bed.
Moments later Jakub Swierczok came the close to bringing Ludogorets level when his low strike called Padelli into action but the visitors were struggling to create any meaningful chances as the game entered its final quarter.
Substitute Dan Biton would have Ludogorets’ last chance of the evening on the stroke of full time when he was given the opportunity to level the score with a freekick on the edge of the Nerazzurri box, but his strike failed to clear the wall ending any hopes of a fight back.