Inter Milan beats Rubin Kazan to advance

BY foxsports • December 10, 2009

Inter Milan advanced to the knockout round of the Champions League after Samuel Eto'o and Mario Balotelli scored either side of halftime to secure a 2-0 win over Rubin Kazan on Wednesday.

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Inter finished second in Group F behind Barcelona, after the defending European champion beat Dynamo Kiev 2-1. Kazan would have advanced with a win, but finished third and will play in the Europa League. Kiev was last with five points.

"Last year we qualified early from the group and ended with two losses and seven points," Inter coach Jose Mourinho said. "This time we've ended with a win and taken nine points from a tougher group.

"We have six possible opponents in the draw. We can draw an English team and we know they are difficult because they have a totally different style to us. Or it could be one of two Spanish sides; Real Madrid or Sevilla or even the French team, Bordeaux."

Eto'o was set up by Javier Zanetti's and Balotelli's exchange of passes in the 30th minute. Balotelli then fired home a long-range free kick to seal the result in the 63rd.

It was an impressive performance from the striker following recent arguments with Mourinho over his role.

"I am satisfied for the team and Mario Balotelli is part of the team," Mourinho said. "I hope Mario Balotelli takes the same attitude with him every time he takes the field."

Inter had the opening chance of the match in the eighth minute. Thiago Motta slipped the ball to Balotelli, who turned on the edge of the penalty area but shot straight at Kazan goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov.

Ten minutes later Gokdeniz Karadeniz forced Inter stopper Julio Cesar into a sharp save at his near post with a low drive, after Christian Noboa had split the Inter defense with a throughball.

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