As was expected to be the case, the Premier League team dominated play and created more chances, but their Serie A opponents fought relentlessly and kept them at bay for long stretches - only for Rodri to fire home the winner midway through the second half.
Here are the player ratings from the Ataturk Stadium.
Ederson, 8. Poor footwork early on gave Inter a couple of openings but made a massive one-on-one save from Martinez on the hour. His biggest save came with just two minutes left though - a reaction save from Lukaku’s header just a few yards out. Another late save too off a last-ditch corner to secure the win.
Manuel Akanji, 7. Had a really good first hour but then inexplicably left the ball with nobody behind him to gift a chance.
Nathan Ake, 7. Fairly calm and assured defensively, worked hard to close out spaces and was diligent with his passing. Did the job needed.
John Stones, 8. Frequently found himself the spare man in the middle with time to turn and space to move into - and was always positive in doing so. Really fine performance.
Rodri, 8. Excellent with his passing when City were in control, dominant tracking back to cover the channels and win possession once they were ahead. Oh - and he was the one who netted the vital first goal.
Bernardo Silva, 8. Started the game in positive fashion and always looked the most likely player to unlock the packed defence. His eventual cross was half-cleared for the opening goal. Hard-working, fiesty and technically excellent all game.
Ilkay Gundogan, 7. Put in a very diligent shift without ever starring or being at his most dangerous in the final third. A performance to ensure his team never looked like losing.
Kevin de Bruyne, 6. Created a couple of openings and curled a shot on target, but hurt his hamstring doing so. Subbed before the break.
Erling Haaland, 7. One real sight in the opening half hour and forced a save from a powerful shot. Mostly, though, played a support role flicking play on to teammates or occupying defenders to leave space for others.
Subs: P Foden 6, K Walker n/a
Andre Onana, 7. Stood up well to save from Haaland on half-hour and had safe hands throughout - but no chance with Rodri’s fizzer into the corner. Kept his team in the game, saving from Foden.
Matteo Darmian, 7. Positionally good and backed up Dumfries when Grealish tried to run infield.
Francesco Acerbi, 7. So aggressive at the back as usual, one of the first to make sure his teammates all kept to the plan and stepped out relentlessly.
Alessandro Bastoni, 7. Big in the air, won everything which went his way. Subbed when his team needed to go looking for a goal.
Denzel Dumfries, 6. Worked very hard against Grealish but never really delivered much in the final third and wasted one great chance to cross with three waiting.
Nicolo Barella, 6. Had a wonderful first-half chance to lob the ‘keeper from range but got it woefully wrong. As relentless as ever in midfield but lacked the quality on this occasion in his pass and shot.
Marcelo Brozovic, 6. Quiet, in truth. Directed play well and filled gaps defensively but didn’t really get matters under control at any point and wasn’t as aggressive as he can be out of possession either.
Hakan Calhanoglu, 5. Game passed him by, in truth. Worked hard but never really had any impact.
Federico Dimarco, 8. A fantastic outlet all first half, breaking forward to win play back and cross dangerously more than once. So unlucky to not equalise, hitting the bar with a header.
Lautaro Martinez, 5. Spurned Inter’s big chance on the hour mark when allowed to run in one-on-one. Just wasn’t up to the task on the night at all.
Edin Dzeko, 6. Hard-working and filled in defensively but didn’t really get into the game and subbed after the break.