Inter suffered a first-half capitulation and slumped to their second consecutive Europa League defeat as Sparta Prague ran out deserved 3-1 winners at Generali Arena.
Striker Vaclav Kadlec scored twice in the first half of a contest in which Sparta were given an easy ride by an Inter defence that looked vulnerable throughout.
Rodrigo Palacio pulled one back for the visitors in an improved second half, but the game ended miserably for Frank de Boer’s side as Andrea Ranocchia was sent off and Mario Holek scored late on to make it 3-1.
Victory over Inter gave interim Sparta coach David Holoubek a dream start to his time in charge, which began after Zdenek Scasny was sacked in the aftermath of a 2-0 defeat to city rivals Slavia.
Last year’s Czech First League runners-up were billed as a club in crisis ahead of the game but it was Inter who looked out of sorts, and any rapport De Boer had built with Inter fans after three wins in their last four Serie A games felt rather fragile at the end of another sorely disappointing European performance.