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FC Internazionale Milano qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage despite being held by Ukrainian title-holders FC Shakhtar Donetsk at an empty Giuseppe Meazza stadium.
Already holding a 2-0 advantage from the opening leg, the hosts were not in the same form as two weeks ago, with home fans banned for this and the next three European games due to the incidents in their quarter-final against AC Milan last season, although the chants of the 2,000 home fans that congregated outside the stadium to view the third qualifying round encounter from a giant television screen were audible. Brazilian midfielder Blumer Elano's 25th-minute strike cancelled out Alvaro Recoba's earlier effort to allow Shakhtar to enter Friday's UEFA Cup first-round draw with their heads lead high.
Just as in the opening game, it was the Ukrainian side who had a brighter start, with Razvan Rat serving an unmarked Elano inside the box, only for his close-range effort to finish wide of goalkeeper Julio Cesar's far post. However, the visitors' early efforts were shattered when Recoba's left-footed strike inside the far post beat goalkeeper Jan Laštuvka. Midway through the first-half, Ciprian Marica needed medical attention after a coming together with Marco Materazzi.
But the striker got the better of his marker soon after. Materazzi was unable to stop Marica from surging inside the area and playing a beautiful ball to an unmarked Elano, who fired the ball into the back of the net. Mircea Lucescu's men grew in confidence, but Recoba twice came close again, with his powerful free-kick punched away by Laštuvka and his close-range shot going wide.
David Pizarro replaced Juan Sebastián Verón at half-time, but it was Shakhtar who looked the more threatening. In the 47th minute, Elano almost surprised Julio Cesar, with his right-footed strike just wide, and shortly after Rat's volley forced the Brazilian goalkeeper to save.
At the other end, Laštuvka twice denied Santiago Solari, and shortly after the hour mark, Adriano's effort on target was diverted by a Shakhtar defender. The Brazilian tried his luck again six minutes later, but he was denied by Laštuvka's acrobatic save.
Inter were happy to slow down the game and held on with their rivals showing signs of tiredness in the last stages. They will be in the top group of seeds for Thursday's draw in Monaco.