21 February 2020
Ludogorets and Internazionale go head-to-head at the Ludogorets Arena in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League (EL) last-32 tie.
The hosts have sealed their place in the Round of 32 with the identical back-to-back 1-1 draws on Matchday 5 and 6. Second in Group H, with a mixed record (W2, D2, L2), the Bulgarian giants have enjoyed a remarkable start to their group stage campaign, beating CSKA Moscow 5-1 at home and Ferencvaros 3-0 on the road. Both of Ludogorets’ European failures this term have come against Espanyol on Matchday 3 and 4, with the Eagles drawing a blank in each. It will be Ludogorets’ third EL elimination tie against Serie A sides (W1, L1), with the Razgrad-based outfit still chasing their first home success in such fixtures (D1, L1). But, it will be a daunting prospect for Pavel Vrba’s team to do that, as they’ve failed to pick up a win in eight of their last nine continental home matches (D4, L4).
Meanwhile, the visitors have switched over from the Champions League after finishing third in their group thanks to a 2-1 home loss to understrength Barcelona side on Matchday 6. Curiously, all three of Inter’s continental away fixtures this season have seen over 2.5 goals and both teams on the scoresheet (W1, L2), with both of their road defeats seeing the Italian side surrender a halftime lead after the break. Yet, the Nerazzurri boast a perfect EL last-32 record (W3), having won five of the previous six such matches (D1). But, Antonio Conte’s men have struggled to impress away from home lately, securing just one win in their last nine continental trips (D4, L4). Also, they’ve suffered a dip in form, going from three straight wins in all competitions to back-to-back defeats, both of which have yielded a single-goal margin.
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