Antonio Conte praised Inter for their approach to Thursday's Europa League second-leg win over Ludogorets in the round of 32 after being made to play the game behind closed doors.

Goals from Cristiano Biraghi and Romelu Lukaku earned Inter a 2-1 victory at an empty San Siro after Cauly opened the scoring for Ludogorets, who trailed 2-0 from the first leg.

Fears over the coronavirus outbreak in Italy meant supporters were not allowed to attend the match and Inter head coach Conte admitted the tie had an eerie feel to it.

"I've also played behind closed doors with Italy against Croatia," he told Sky Sport Italia. "The atmosphere is strange and doesn't make things easy as it's like a training session.

"I have to say that my players took the right approach today, even if we fell behind. We made changes, giving other players some minutes, and now we move on."

Inter's home league clash with Sampdoria last weekend was postponed in wake of the virus spreading, while Sunday's blockbuster trip to Serie A leaders Juventus will also be behind closed doors in Turin.

Conte's Nerazzurri lost their last league match 2-1 to second-placed Lazio and trail Juve by six points with a game in hand to play.

Conte admitted the Derby d'Italia clash, as well as an the upcoming trip to Napoli, will go a long way to determining just how close his side are to seriously challenging for silverware.

"We started this run of games and there is an important match coming up against Juventus," he said.  "Once we reach the end of this period, we'll understand how distant we are from a winning level. 

"I am convinced this will give us more clarity on where we are now, the length of the road ahead of us and the work that still needs to be done."

Inter started with a back three against Ludogorets but reverted to a flat-back four in the second half, with Christian Eriksen and Marcelo Brozovic linking up in central midfield.

"We need to work on the ideas and have had time in training," Conte said. "The postponement of the game with Sampdoria last week gave us time to test out something new, which can be used either at the start of a match or during the 90 minutes.

"When you have two strikers, it's inevitably harder work for the midfielders. For those who play with one centre-forward, two wingers or a trequartista, there are more players ready to help cover defensively. We always need to find the right balance depending on the characteristics of the opponents we are up against."

Emotional Odion Ighalo said he fulfilled a lifetime dream after the boyhood Manchester United fan marked his full debut with a goal, even though it was tinged with sadness

Ighalo scored United's second goal in a 5-0 Europa League second-leg round-of-32 win over 10-man Club Brugge at Old Trafford on Thursday.

The 30-year-old Nigeria striker celebrated by lifting up his United shirt to reveal a t-shirt which paid tribute to his sister Mary, who died in December.

Ighalo had taken a pay cut to secure a shock deadline-day loan move to United from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua.

He told BT Sport: "It's a big dream for me, yes. A great moment.

"I have been waiting for this, played three games, though I didn't play much and no goals.

"There has been a little bit of pressure, but now I got a goal to start my Manchester United goal career and it is a team I have supported since I was young, so it is very good. 

"I am very happy and I am grateful to God."

Ighalo netted with a close-range finish from Juan Mata's cutback after Bruno Fernandes had scored from the penalty spot.

Scott McTominay gave United a 3-0 half-time lead before midfield colleague Fred put a gloss on the result with two late goals.

Ighalo added: "The confidence was high and we spoke about that before the start. We pushed from the first minute and went all out playing our style.

"The red card was difficult for them with us attacking, and we worked hard until the last minute."

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Ighalo's penalty-box prowess post-game.

"He does exactly what it says on the tin," he said. "He plays up front, he can play with his back to goal and the goal was a good example of what you want of him. He can hold up the ball and he is what we have been lacking a little bit.

"If we hadn't had Odion tonight then Mason Greenwood would have had to play and we have a game on Sunday and that would put us in a tired position. We knew what we got when we signed him."

United are now unbeaten in seven games in all competitions and Solskjaer believes Ighalo and fellow new boy Fernandes have helped boost confidence in the dressing room.

He added: "Today we played attacking football and players combined well. The players had a swagger, confidence and a smile on their faces. The new lads have brought that."

Arsenal crashed out of the Europa League as Youssef El-Arabi's late strike in extra-time secured a stunning 2-1 victory for Olympiacos, who progressed to the last 16 courtesy of the away goals rule.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who remarkably missed a golden chance in the final seconds after El Arabi's winner, had seemed to settle the contest in Arsenal's favour with seven minutes of extra-time remaining with a stunning acrobatic effort.

But Olympiacos, who cancelled out Arsenal's 1-0 lead from the first leg thanks to Pape Abou Cisse's header in the second half, chose to write their own script as El-Arabi bundled in Giorgos Masouras' cross at the Emirates Stadium.

Yet the drama was not finished there – Aubameyang somehow slicing wide of a gaping goal from point-blank range as Olympiacos held onto a famous triumph in a last-16 tie that finished 2-2 on aggregate.

Getafe continued their sensational season by dumping Ajax out of the Europa League on Thursday, the LaLiga high-flyers progressing 3-2 on aggregate despite a 2-1 away defeat.

Jose Bordalas' side won a bad-tempered first leg 2-0 against last season's Champions League semi-finalists and they extended their advantage in the fifth minute of the reverse fixture when Jaime Mata struck.

That left Ajax needing four goals to progress but Danilo, making his first start for the club, tapped in Donny van de Beek's low cross five minutes later to equalise on the night.

Carel Eiting whipped a deflected free-kick past David Soria in the 63rd minute to give Ajax some hope, though Getafe progressed despite being denied by the woodwork on three occasions.

Elsewhere in the round of 32, Istanbul Basaksehir produced a stunning comeback to knock out Sporting CP 5-4 on aggregate, Edin Visca scoring the winner in extra time, while Shakhtar Donetsk beat Benfica 5-4 on aggregate after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the second leg in Lisbon.

Sevilla, who won the Europa League three times in a row under Unai Emery between 2014 and 2016, edged through their tie with Cluj on away goals after a 1-1 aggregate draw.

The Romanian champions were denied a famous victory when Alexandru Paun's late strike was ruled out following a VAR check that ruled Lacina Traore handled the ball.

Last year's finalists Arsenal crashed out in extraordinary circumstances with captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's overhead kick having seemingly secured their progress only for Youssef El-Arabi to strike in the last minute of extra time to send Olympiacos through on away goals.

Manchester United, Inter, Roma, Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen were among the major sides to progress, with the draw for the last 16 set to be made in Nyon on Friday.

There were times last month that Odion Ighalo thought his Manchester United move was not going to happen. In fact, there were times on deadline day itself that the deal appeared dead in the water.

"It was quiet on Thursday and then I got the impression that nothing would happen. Suddenly, in the middle of the day on Friday, things started to move," said agent Atta Aneke.

"It was then 11pm in the evening in Shanghai. It was hectic phone business. Everyone had to stay awake until five am or six am in Shanghai."

Ighalo, a boyhood United fan, was prepared to stay up as late as necessary to get the loan of his dreams. A peculiar transfer it might have been, but, after his performance against Club Brugge on Thursday, it was worth the frantic phone calls.

With Marcus Rashford's back injury likely to keep him out for much of the season's remaining weeks, the news before kick-off against Club Brugge that in-form Anthony Martial had sustained another muscle problem was most unwelcome for all of a Red Devils persuasion. Except Ighalo, perhaps.

Thrust into the floodlights for his full Old Trafford debut, and with the Europa League last-32 tie still in the balance after the 1-1 draw in the first leg, this was not a moment for indulgences. Ighalo was not in the team because Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt a sudden surge of generosity, but because United needed a strong presence and a goal threat leading their attack. Ighalo gave them both.

There were barely 20 seconds played when Ighalo raced in behind the Brugge back four to endanger Simon Mignolet's goal. It sparked the game into life: Juan Mata was denied, Bruno Fernandes hit the post, and Brugge threatened once again from a simple goal-kick, the kind from which they scored last week.

Fernandes and Mata were pulling the strings - they might have been joined by one, such was the quality of their interplay - but Ighalo was piecing things together. The ball was fizzed and thumped into him repeatedly, to feet, chest and head, and he found a team-mate with three out of four passes in the final third.

Once Fernandes had scored his second Old Trafford penalty in succession after Simon Deli had been sent off for a flying save to deny Daniel James - he, apparently, wasn't convinced Mignolet's form would continue - the tie was practically under United's control. A second goal was needed to be certain; when it came, it brought the loudest cheer of the night.

Fernandes and Mata combined again, the Spaniard cut the ball back, and there was Ighalo, still wide awake, still ready to arrive at just the right time. It was a goal he would once have never thought possible, and one he dedicated to his sister, who died a month before he came a United player.

Scott McTominay and Fred added further goals - the latter netting a brace - and 5-0 was no less than United deserved. This was the kind of bold, accomplished display they will need in this competition when the grander teams come calling.

Ighalo will have a major part to play in those latter rounds, particularly if Martial joins Rashford on the sidelines for long. His performance here showed he could be a valuable asset - and that it pays to keep your phone switched on.

Pep Biel and Dame N'Doye struck late to earn Copenhagen a dramatic 3-1 away win over Celtic that completed a 4-2 aggregate victory in the Europa League's round of 32.

Michael Santos, who replaced the injured Mikkel Kaufmann in the first half at Parkhead on Thursday, scored the opening goal in the 51st minute when he was on hand to capitalise on a pair of defensive errors.

Celtic levelled when Ragnar Sigurdsson handled the ball in the box and Odsonne Edouard's Panenka penalty beat goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson, but Biel broke the hosts' hearts.

N'Doye then made sure of Copenhagen's progress to the last 16 by finishing well with two minutes to go, with the draw for the next round set to be made on Friday.

Odion Ighalo marked his full Manchester United debut with his first goal for the club as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side swaggered into the last 16 of the Europa League with a 5-0 second-leg win against Club Brugge at Old Trafford.

January loan signing Ighalo came into the side in place of the injured Anthony Martial on Thursday, and the new striker grabbed the second goal in a dominant display against 10 men.

Bruno Fernandes had put United ahead from the penalty spot following a deliberate handball from Brugge defender Simon Deli, who was sent off, dealing a mighty blow to their hopes of building on a 1-1 home draw.

Ighalo netted soon afterwards, before Scott McTominay - in the starting XI for the first time since December - got in on the act. There was time for an unlikely late Fred brace, too, as United coasted through.

Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet made fine early saves from Juan Mata and Fernandes in a portent of what was to come.

United were awarded a penalty when defender Deli dived to his left and turned a Daniel James shot past the post with his hand, although referee Serdar Gozubuyuk observed a lengthy VAR check before confirming the red card as Mignolet appeared poise to make a stop behind his team-mate.

Despite the wait, Fernandes kept his composure and confidently sent Mignolet the wrong way with a low spot-kick following a trademark stuttered run-up.

Fernandes was instrumental in United's second as he teased the Brugge defence and clipped a clever pass towards Mata, who crossed low for Nigeria striker Ighalo to bundle in.

The Portugal midfielder then won possession in the left corner before Fred teed up McTominay to drive home the third from the edge of the area.

Luke Shaw and Mason Greenwood both went close after the break, before Fred belatedly extended the lead with eight minutes remaining as he tapped in Jesse Lingard's cutback.

The Brazilian improbably then got a fifth with the final kick of the match, placing a left-footed shot past Mignolet to cap a fine United outing.
 

What does it mean? United breeze into last 16

United desperately want a return to the Champions League next season. They trail fourth-placed Chelsea in the Premier League by three points, but winning the Europa League provides another route into the continent's premier club competition. On this form, with Fernandes pulling the strings, they look a threat for any potential opponent in Friday's last-16 draw.

Fabulous Fernandes provides finesse

"Bruno, Bruno," chanted the United fans as Fernandes was substituted in the second half following a heavyweight display. His craft and guile provided the X-Factor that Solskjaer claimed the player would bring to United. His signing looks to have brought some much-needed impetus to the Red Devils.

Daft Deli decision decisive

Quite what was going through Deli's mind when he saw James line up a shot, only he will know. A burning desire to showcase his goalkeeping skills, perhaps? His moment of madness and dismissal completely changed the tone of the tie, setting up an easy day for the home side.

What's next?

United return to Premier League action on Sunday with a trip to Everton, while Brugge will look to bounce back against Genk.

Juventus' derby d'Italia against Inter will be one of five Serie A matches played behind closed doors this weekend due to ongoing fears over the spread of the coronavirus in Italy.

Milan's home fixture with Genoa, Udinese against Fiorentina, Parma's clash with SPAL and Brescia's trip to Sassuolo will also kick off in front of empty stadiums.

Inter's Europa League last-32 second-leg tie at home to Ludogorets on Thursday also took place without fans in attendance and a Serie A statement on Thursday confirmed their trip to Allianz Stadium would do likewise.

The Nerazzurri's fixture against Sampdoria was postponed last weekend in one of four Serie A abandonments.

Towns in northern Italy have been on lockdown after 229 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with seven people having died.

Speaking prior to the Ludogorets fixture, Inter boss and former Juve coach Antonio Conte told Sky Italia: "I think playing behind closed doors is not beautiful

"Football needs the public and to feel the whole atmosphere around it. It is the most beautiful thing.

"Having said that, we refer to the decisions made for health reasons, but I hope that everything will return to normal as soon as possible."

Inter are six points adrift of leaders Juve with a game in hand. 

Jonathan Calleri's hat-trick in a 3-2 victory over Wolves was in vain as Espanyol suffered a 6-3 aggregate defeat in the Europa League last-32 tie.

A Diogo Jota treble helped to give Wolves a 4-0 first-leg advantage they never looked likely to give up at RCDE Stadium on Thursday.

Calleri struck either side of Adama Traore's sixth goal of the season in all competitions - a career high for the former Barcelona player - with Wolves levelling through Matt Doherty's strike.

Pedro Neto somehow missed an open goal for Wolves and Espanyol claimed victory on the night when Calleri nodded in Pipa's centre in stoppage time.

Espanyol gave themselves brief hope of mounting an unlikely fightback when Calleri turned in a low left-wing cross from Adria Pedrosa in the 16th minute.

Their lead lasted just six minutes, though, as Daniel Podence, making his first start for Wolves after arriving from Olympiacos in January, picked out Traore in the box and he finished at the second attempt.

Calleri made it 5-2 on aggregate in the 57th minute by converting a penalty conceded by Max Kilman for a foul on David Lopez, then Wolves' Morgan Gibbs-White had an appeal for a spot-kick rejected at the other end.

Lopez tested Rui Patricio from distance as LaLiga's bottom side tried to set up an exciting finish but the lively Podence capitalised on slack defending to set up Doherty for a tap-in with 11 minutes left.

Wolves should have gone on to win the game, substitute Neto running through on goal and rounding Andres Prieto but incredibly shooting wide of an open goal from the edge of the penalty area.

Espanyol punished that bizarre miss when Calleri claimed the match ball via an injury-time header, with Nuno Espirito Santo's side set to learn their last-16 opponents in Friday's draw.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed he is not sure how long Anthony Martial will be out for after the Manchester United forward suffered an injury in training.

Martial has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season, with three of those coming in United's past three matches.

However, the 24-year-old was not included in Solskjaer's side to face Club Brugge – against whom Martial netted in a 1-1 away draw last week – in the second leg of United's Europa League last-32 tie at Old Trafford on Thursday.

January loan signing Odion Ighalo instead came in for his full debut.

Solskjaer subsequently confirmed Martial had sustained an injury during a training session on Wednesday, and United's manager was unsure of the severity of the Frenchman's issue.

"He didn't feel right after the training yesterday or [rather] he walked off during training and he's injured," Solskjaer told MUTV.

"So, hopefully it won't be too bad, but I don't really know yet how long he'll be out."

Martial's form has coincided with an upturn in results for United, who sit fifth in the Premier League and visit Everton on Sunday.

The club are still without Paul Pogba, whose future remains in doubt, and Marcus Rashford.

Odion Ighalo will make his first start for Manchester United in Thursday's Europa League clash with Club Brugge.

The striker, signed on loan until the end of the season from Shanghai Shenhua in January, comes into the team in place of Anthony Martial, who scored United's goal in the 1-1 first-leg draw of the last-32 tie but is not in the squad for the return match at Old Trafford.

There is also a first start since December 26 for Scott McTominay, who returned to action in the 3-0 Premier League win over Watford last weekend after recovering from a knee injury.

Eric Bailly returns to the centre of defence for his first appearance in Europe of the season, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka is in at right-back, having spent the first leg among the substitutes.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made seven changes overall from the first leg, with Victor Lindelof, Brandon Williams, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard dropping to the bench and Andreas Pereira and Diogo Dalot not in the squad.

Sergio Romero starts in goal instead of David de Gea, as he did in Belgium.

Salzburg's Europa League last-32 second-leg tie with Eintracht Frankfurt has been postponed due to a storm threat.

The fixture was scheduled to take place at 21:00 CET on Thursday at the Red Bull Arena in Salzburg, with Frankfurt protecting a 4-1 first-leg lead.

But UEFA confirmed the match will not go ahead.

"Due to a storm warning, the public authorities in Austria have postponed tonight's UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie between FC Salzburg and Eintracht Frankfurt," read a statement released a matter of hours before kick-off.

"An announcement will be made by UEFA in due course about the re-arranged date and time for this match to be played."

Alexandre Lacazette has dismissed suggestions he could leave Arsenal if they do not qualify for next season's Champions League.

The 28-year-old has two years remaining on his current deal, but newspaper reports this week claim he has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave the Gunners if they fail to make it into European football's premier competition for the 2020-21 campaign.

Arsenal are ninth in the Premier League, seven points behind Chelsea in fourth, while they could qualify for the Champions League if they win this season's Europa League.

Lacazette, who could line up against Olympiacos in the Europa League last-32 second leg on Thursday after scoring the only goal of the first leg, has rubbished reports of the clause, insisting his future remains in north London.

"I didn't know about this [the clause]," he told a media conference. "I don't know. I have a contract with the club so there is no reason for me to leave if everybody is happy with me at the club."

Lacazette's strike partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is another Gunners player who has been linked with a move away from the club.

The former Borussia Dortmund frontman is 30 and has been linked with other clubs, including Inter and Barcelona, as he approaches the final year of his contract.

The Gunners see him as a big part of their future, though, with Lacazette also keen for him to remain at the Emirates Stadium.

"It's really important," he added. "He is one of the best or maybe the best this season for Arsenal. Obviously, I hope he's going to stay long for the club."

The Gabon international took his tally for the season to 19 goals in all competitions with a brace against Everton at the weekend, but Lacazette is keen for people to start recognising his wider contribution to the side.

"I think people should talk more about Auba and what he's doing in the game," he said.

"He's more than a goalscorer. He's working a lot for the team defensively, making space for the strikers. I just think if we start to win trophies, people will talk more about what he's doing for the team."

Rangers secured their place in the last 16 of the Europa League for the first time in nine years after a 1-0 win away to Braga secured a 4-2 aggregate victory for Steven Gerrard's men.

The 2010s were a difficult decade for the Gers, with financial problems resulting in their demotion to the third tier in 2012, but they gradually built their way back up and on Wednesday clinched their place in the round of 16 of the competition for only the second time since finishing as runners-up in 2008, when it was known as the UEFA Cup.

Rangers' immense comeback at Ibrox in the first leg put them in control of the tie, having battled back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 with a trio of goals in the final 23 minutes.

Although the Scottish club ceded possession for much of the encounter, they attacked with greater purpose and were well worth the lead when Ryan Kent finally netted in the 61st minute.

Despite Braga's undoubted threat, Rangers looked far more menacing going forward and arguably should have scored twice in the first 20 minutes – Matheus thwarted Florian Kamberi after a Scott Arfield-led break, while Kent shot wide.

However, their best chance in the first half came when Raul Silva clumsily handled inside the box, only for Matheus to produce an excellent save to keep out Ianis Hagi's spot-kick.

Failing to heed the previous warning signs about their extremely high defensive line, Braga eventually fell behind just past the hour – Hagi playing a long pass over the hosts' backline and Kent finished well after holding off Fransergio.

Braga piled on the pressure towards the end, but aside from a Paulinho header hitting the foot of the post, they struggled to trouble Rangers, who had a 77th-minute Arfield goal disallowed for offside.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has conceded Manchester United could begin to suffer financially if they fail to qualify for next season's Champions League.

United missed out on this term's Champions League, instead progressing into the Europa League, with the Red Devils hosting Club Brugge at Old Trafford in the second leg of their last-32 tie on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the club released their latest financial figures, with revenue in the six months to December falling by nearly 12 per cent as a result of their absence from the Champions League. 

Following an upturn in form, Solskjaer's side have risen to fifth in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Though fifth place may be enough to ensure qualification for Europe's elite club competition - depending on Manchester City's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over their two-year suspension from European competition - Solskjaer knows pushing for a top-four finish has to be a priority.

United's manager acknowledged the club must find a way back into Europe's top tier if they are to maintain their financial clout.

"We're a big club and we've got good finances but the longer you're out the more you suffer, so it's an ambition to get back into the Champions League," Solskjaer told a news conference.

"For footballing reasons and financially it will help the club. We've got to focus on this competition, then the league on Sunday and then FA Cup.

"I think we need to take one game at a time. Both [routes into the Champions League through the Europa League and Premier League] are possible. In a cup competition, you never know. It might be a bad day.

"You can't rely on winning this. There are some good teams in it and we need to get past Brugge. We're looking forward to the game."

United head into Thursday's encounter with the Belgian side having drawn 1-1 away from home in the first leg.

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