Inzaghi sees Milan home
Filippo Inzaghi guided holders Milan to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk.
By Chris Harvey
Last Updated: 06/11/07 10:36pm
Holders Milan took a giant stride towards the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with a thoroughly professional 3-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Italians were content to absorb the efforts of the hosts before introducing substitute Filippo Inzaghi to apply the killer blows.
The veteran striker, brought on after an hour, scored two and made the other for Kaka to ensure a comfortable evening for the champions who now top Group D.
The first half was a relatively cagey affair with the visitors showing limited ambition although they opened brightly when Claudio Serginho tested Andrei Piatov from 25 yards but the Shakhtar keeper managed to cling on to the shot.
The hosts then came close to beaking the deadlock with a free-kick which Razvan Rat curled over the Milan wall and just wide of the recalled Dida's left-hand post.
Shakhtar looked to test Dida at every opportunity and wasted a great chance themselves when Dmitro Chigrinski put a header straight at the Brazilian keeper when a yard either side would have given the hosts the lead.
Milan were content to retain possession for much of the first period without really threatening the home goal.
The match followed a similar pattern after the break with the visitors trying to control the pace of the game.
Brazilian Luis Fernandinho let fly from 20 yards with a spectacular strike but his effort was narrowly wide of the target.
The cautious Italians came close to taking the lead when Massimo Ambrosini met Andrea Pirlo's immaculate centre but his header hit Piatov's right-hand post with the Shakhtar keeper beaten.
Veteran striker Inzaghi was introduced in place of Alberto Gilardino just after the hour mark as the Italians looked to snatch maximum points.
And the 34-year-old struck within three minutes of his arrival. Pirlo threaded a superb ball through to Inzaghi who took it in his stride and fired past Piatov.
The hosts had chance to level within moments but Brandao failed to make the most of a clear opportunity and put his effort into Dida's grateful arms.
Shakhtar were made to pay in the 71st minute as Kaka made the game safe for the holders. Inzaghi was again involved, controlling a through ball from Ambrosini and feeding the Brazilian who produced an exquisite finish with his right foot to curl the ball beyond the helpless Piatov.
Shakhtar had chance to get back into the game with ten minutes remaining but Fernandinho failed to make the most of Pirlo's error and Milan scrambled the ball away.
Jadson had another opportunity from the edge of the box but his shot was comfortably saved by Dida.
The away side, with Paolo Maldini introduced in an attempt to shut the game down, continued to absorb pressure.
Then with seconds remaining, Kaka and Inzaghi broke away once more with the substitute tucking away the easiest of chances to seal victory.
|Shakhtar Donetsk||Team Statistics||Milan|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||6|
|6||Shots off Target||2|