Rangers FC became the first Scottish side to qualify for the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds after a 1-1 draw against FC Internazionale Milano was enough to clinch second place in Group H.
Peter Løvenkrands was the hero for the home team as he raced clear to cancel out Adriano's headed opener for the visitors. With the game between FC Artmedia and FC Porto finishing goalless in Bratislava, a point sufficed to secure entry to the last 16 for Alex McLeish's men.
Løvenkrands was a surprise selection as a lone Rangers striker with Thomas Buffel tucking in behind, while room was also found for winger Chris Burke and midfielder Bob Malcolm, making his UEFA Champions League debut alongside captain Barry Ferguson. With qualification assured, Internazionale coach Roberto Mancini took the opportunity to rest some star names with 19-year-old right-back Marco Andreolli given his first taste of the competition.
There was little goalmouth action in the opening stages but Rangers created the first chance on 14 minutes when Burke escaped from Nicolás Burdisso down the right before picking out Hamed Namouchi at the back post. The Tunisian's header lacked power and conviction, however, allowing Andreolli to clear to safety. At the other end, Siniša Mihajlović was causing problems with his inswinging delivery from corners and Malcolm did well to head away under pressure after Andreolli's flick-on had caused panic in the home rearguard.
It was a warning that went unheeded and Rangers were duly punished on the half-hour. Mihajlović swung in another tempting ball and this time Adriano rose unchallenged to nod into the net through a ruck of players. Rangers came close to replying six minutes later when Burke's cut-back almost found Buffel in front of goal, but Francesco Toldo was alert and scampered off his line to kick the ball into touch. It was the encouragement McLeish's team needed and two minutes later they were level. Buffel did well to win possession in midfield before brilliantly sending Løvenkrands through, and the Danish international held his nerve to slot past the advancing Toldo.
Mancini responded by sacrificing captain Marco Materazzi for Matteo Momente, with the youngster inserted into left midfield and given the task of keeping an eye on the foraging runs of Burke. The change helped to restore composure to the Nerazzurri ranks and for the first time, striker Obafemi Martins started to threaten with some trademark runs. Rangers appeared content to counterattack at this point, but their sporadic attempts to break out were frustrated by poor distribution, while Inter had to make another substitution when captain Javier Zanetti replaced Andreolli, hurt in a clash with Namouchi.
David Pizarro was booked for a late challenge on Burke as the tension grew in the closing stages, and with three minutes remaining Cristiano Zanetti was dismissed having picked up a second yellow card. From Malcolm's ensuing free-kick, Namouchi headed just over but it mattered little. There was an anxious wait for the final score from Bratislava following the full-time whistle, but the news the crowd wanted duly arrived and the celebrations began in earnest.