Inter got their first Champions League points of the season after easing to a comfortable win over Viktoria Plzen thanks to goals from Edin Dzeko and Denzel Dumfries.
The first half was one of few chances but those that did fall went to Inter, and the clearest was snaffled up by Dzeko on 20 minutes whose slide-rule finish into the far corner was the clear highlight of the opening period.
After the break Simone Inzaghi’s Inter resumed their dominance and playing against 10 men after the 61st-minute sending-off of Plzen’s Pavel Bucha, they were able to get a clinching second goal twenty minutes from time through Dumfries’ bobbled finish.
Going into the game in the Czech Republic, Inter were a team who had struggled to find any real rhythm so far this term having lost to both Lazio and AC Milan in Serie A in recent weeks, whilst also being on the end of a convincing 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich in Champions League matchday one.
They were without Romelu Lukaku in Plzen, who continues to recover from injury, but did hand a debut to Francesco Acerbi, the centre-back who arrived on loan from Lazio at the start of September.
And remarkably it was Acerbi who almost opened the scoring for Inter on 16 minutes, latching onto a loose ball from a set-piece but he could only direct it into the hands of Plzen keeper Jindrich Stanek.
They didn’t have to wait long to break the deadlock though, as a sweeping move saw Joaquin Correa tee up Dzeko, who rolled his effort beyond Stanek’s despairing dive.
It was a precise finish, but there was little of the same thereafter, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan spurning a couple of good openings as Inter continued to prize open their opponents.
As such it remained 1-0 at the break, but it could’ve so easily been a second just six minutes into the second 45 minutes, but Dumfries, sneaking forward from right wing-back, headed over when just yards out.
Plzen had offered relatively little by comparison, and their task of getting back into the game was made even harder just after the hour as Bucha got his marching orders – after a referee review – for a studs-up challenge on Nicolo Barella.
However, and pretty much out of nowhere, they fashioned their best chance of the match shortly afterwards as Jiri Sykora advanced into the right-side of the box and rifled a low shot on goal, but it was diverted behind without troubling Andre Onana in the Nerazzurri goal.
That was to prove a crucial turning point, as Inter went up the other end and made the game safe through Dumfries.
Making up for his earlier miss, the Dutch flyer – a threat throughout – latched onto Dzeko’s pass to finish past Stanek.
Plzen substitute Fortune Bassey broke clear late on to threaten a consolation, but Onana did well to snuff out the danger.
Elsewhere, Club Brugge claimed a remarkable 4-0 win in Porto in Group B.
A penalty from Ferran Jutgla and further strikes from Kamal Sowah, Andreas Skov Olsen and Antonio Nusa saw the Belgian side maintain their perfect start in the competition and leave their Portuguese hosts without a point. In the group’s other game, Bayer Leverkusen beat Atletico Madrid 2-0.
And in Group D, Eintracht Frankfurt claimed a 1-0 victory over Marseille courtesy of Jesper Lindstrom’s goal on the stroke of half-time. Sporting Lisbon lead the group following their late show victory over Tottenham earlier on Tuesday.