Inzaghi steers AC Milan towards last 16

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Donetsk, Ukraine, Nov 7: Striker Filippo Inzaghi came off the bench to score a two goals and line up the other as holders AC Milan beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 to stay on course for the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Italian's two goals bring his European club football score to 62 goals, putting him level with record-holder Gerd Mueller, Germany's veteran 1970s footballer.

Inzaghi provided his trademark poacher's finish to a through ball from Andrea Pirlo in the 66th minute and then laid the ball off for Brazil playmaker Kaka to drive home the second in the 72nd minute.

Kaka returned the favour deep in stoppage time, bearing down on goal on the break and slipping the ball to Inzaghi for a simple finish from close range.

The victory yesterday put the defending champions top of Group D, with a three-point lead.

Milan beat Shakhtar 4-1 at home two weeks ago but are having a tough time domestically and have not won in Serie A at San Siro this season.

''7-1 (over two games) against Shakhtar, who are top of their league, is superb,'' AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani told Sky television.

''Pippo (Inzaghi) was great and on the counter-attack we are a very strong team. I'm just sorry our fans only see us win on television,'' he joked.

Some 25,000 mostly Ukrainian fans braved temperatures of -3 degrees celsius in the eastern industrial town.

Shakhtar kept up the pressure throughout the match, with several Brandao headers on target, shots from Jadson which were a touch too soft for Milan's keeper and both Willian and Fernandinho creating chances inside the box.

But they failed to take their chances and were made to pay by 63rd minute substitute Inzaghi, whose brace in last May's final against Liverpool secured the trophy for Milan.

''It all changed when Inzaghi came off the bench. Our defence made a mistake by trying to catch Inzaghi offside. Filippo is a great master so it wasn't a big problem for him to score a goal,'' Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu told a news conference.

''Milan created goals from nothing,'' he said, adding that he still had hopes for qualifying for the last 16.

UNI

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