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De Bruyne-powered Wolfsburg snap back at Inter

VfL Wolfsburg 3-1 FC Internazionale Milano
Kevin De Bruyne set up one goal and scored another two as the German side roared back following a miserable start.

Kevin De Bruyne (centre) enjoys his second goal for Wolfsburg
Kevin De Bruyne (centre) enjoys his second goal for Wolfsburg ©Getty Images

Early Rodrigo Palacio goal for Inter as Wolfsburg make a sluggish start
Naldo heads Wolfsburg level from Kevin De Bruyne's corner
De Bruyne puts home side in front following a clumsy Inter clearance
Belgian's free-kick gives Wolfsburg a two-goal lead to take to Italy
• The second leg is next Thursday in Milan, with the quarter-final draw the following day

Two Kevin De Bruyne goals allowed VfL Wolfbsburg to take command, FC Internazionale Milano wilting after a bright start in the UEFA Europa League round of 16.

Roberto Mancini's side looked to have the beating of their hosts after taking an early lead in Germany, but with stand-in goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo having a troubled evening in the Inter goal, Kevin De Bruyne seized the initiative, setting up Wolfsburg's equaliser and scoring the next two goals himself.

Wolfsburg had barely had the chance to settle before they were caught cold, Mauro Icardi nudging the ball through for Rodrigo Palacio, who slid it under Diego Benaglio. Inter looked the more menacing side, but moments after Carrizo had saved from a Daniel Caligiuri header, Naldo made a powerful connection with a De Bruyne corner to level.

Wolfsburg should have been back to square one on 57 minutes when Davide Santon played Palacio in, but the Argentinian dawdled over his finish and ended up firing wide. Relieved, Wolfsburg forged ahead, Vierinha collecting the ball from Carrizo's miscued clearance and pulling it back from the right for De Bruyne to plant into the net with a first-time shot.

Worse was to come for Inter, with De Bruyne bending a free-kick into the net from the corner of the box despite a touch from the diving Carrizo. Icardi passed up a chance to claw one back only to fluff his finish – a fair measure of how his side's composure had deserted them – but De Bruyne was equally guilty at the death, firing wide with Carrizo's goal at his mercy.