Jose Mourinho's Internazionale ended a home winless run in the Champions League stretching back 14 months to go through to the knockout stages last night by beating Rubin Kazan 2-0.
Inter needed a victory to guarantee their passage and, although they were far from fluent, Mourinho's side did enough to dump the Russian champions out. Their last victory in the competition at San Siro had been back in October 2008.
The hosts made a nervous beginning, as they often do in European ties, and Mario Balotelli, a surprise starter, snatched at an early half-chance. However, after 31 minutes, the Inter captain, Javier Zanetti, showed determination when surrounded by defenders in the corner and Balotelli cut the ball back for Samuel Eto'o to score.
Rubin improved after the break and had Inter worried for a prolonged spell before Balotelli settled matters with a thunderous 35-yard free-kick just after the hour.
In Ukraine, the holders Barcelona had to come from behind to triumph 2-1 against Dynamo Kiev, Lionel Messi getting their winner with four minutes to go with a curling free-kick. A Artem Milevskiy header had given Dynamo tan early lead before Xavi Hernandez brought Barça level on 33 minutes when he converted an Eric Abidal cross.
Last night's results: Dynamo Kiev 1 Barcelona 2, Internazionale 2 Rubin Kazan 0.