AC Milan brushed aside Universitatea Craiova in front of a euphoric crowd who packed the San Siro for a Europa League qualifier on Thursday.
Giacomo Bonaventura and Patrick Cutrone scored early in each half to give Milan a 2-0 win as they completed a 3-0 aggregate victory in their third qualifying round tie.
Milan’s spending spree since the end of last season has revived interest in the side and generated a feeling of unbridled optimism among their supporters.
Their first home European tie for more than three years pulled in a 65,000 crowd to watch them face opponents who finished fifth in Romania last season, the supporters clearly believing that the years of midtable mediocrity are over.
‘It’s been a great night and the fans deserved it for the love which they have shown the club,’ said coach Vincenzo Montella.
‘We hope to have many more evenings like this and will work hard to make it happen.’
The seven-times European champions threw themselves onto the attack and went ahead after nine minutes when Bonaventura fired in a loose ball from 12 metres.
The hosts survived a scare when goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma denied Ionit Mitrita, who had a clear run on goal.
Cutrone made the game safe in the 52nd minute when he turned the ball in after Mateo Musacchio flicked on Ricardo Rodriguez’s free kick.
Elsewhere, Swedish side Ostersunds, who beat Galatasary earlier in qualifying, reached the play-off with a 3-1 aggregate victory over Luxembourg outfit Fola Esch.
Red Star Belgrade overcame Sparta Prague 3-0 on aggregate, while Croatian side NK Osijek caused a shock by dumping out Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.