Rosenborg BK bowed out of UEFA Champions League Group D after a defeat against Internazionale FC at the San Siro.
A magnificent Alvaro Recoba strike, an own goal from Janne Saarinen and a third from Hernán Crespo saw Nils Arne Eggen's side's efforts come to nothing as Inter boosted their chances of a place in the second group stage.
Inter certainly started the game looking hungry with an attacking trio of Recoba, Crespo and Christian Vieri but Rosenborg demonstrated their defensive resilience as they reduced their hosts to only a handful of chances. Indeed, as the game wore on, Rosenborg became more of an attacking threat and a succession of deep crosses caused consternation in the Inter penalty area.
Relief for Toldo
Goalkeeper Francesco Toldo was certainly relieved after 19 minutes as he raced off his line to punch a cross to safety only to see Harald Brattbakk beat him to the ball. But his header from the edge of the area flew a metre wide of Toldo's right-hand post.
Just as the Norwegian champions looked to have weathered the storm, Inter opened the scoring. After 31 minutes, Sérgio Conceição danced round two defenders as he swept in from the right before laying the ball on for Recoba to drive a terrific low shot home.
Rosenborg rallied and Toldo then had to make a confident save as Roar Strand chased a ball from Frode Johnsen into the penalty area only to see the goalkeeper catch his fierce angled shot.
Recoba was brimming with confidence and produced a terrific shot from a free-kick with a minute of the first half remaining which just cleared Árni Gautur Arason's crossbar.
The visitors looked lively as the second half began, but a disastrous error after 52 minutes saw Inter double their lead. With the Rosenborg defence scrambling, Conceição played a fine ball in from the right which the unfortunate Saarinen managed to head powerfully past his goalkeeper.
Rosenborg continued to battle gamely although, with Inter slowing the game down, chances were few and far between. Bent Skammelsrud went close after 69 minutes as he flashed a shot wide from the edge of the area, but too often the Norwegians' final ball let them down.
Then, after 72 minutes, their defence also let them down as what seemed to be a routine clearance for Strand from another Conceição cross was scuffed into the path of Crespo, allowing him to beat Arason from close range.
Just a draw
Rosenborg continued to probe but from that point the game was lost. Their Matchday Six game at home against Lyon will now be the retiring Eggen's final game as coach with even a UEFA Cup place beyond Rosenberg's reach. Inter, meanwhile, need just a draw against AFC Ajax to qualify.
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