MILAN: Inter Milan were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage for the third season in a row on Wednesday after being held to a 0-0 draw at home by Shakhtar Donetsk, who were also eliminated.
Lautaro Martinez rattled the crossbar in the seventh minute of the Group B match but Inter created few chances after that, despite dominating possession at a soggy San Siro, and mustered only four efforts on target.
Shakhtar finished level with Borussia Moenchengladbach on eight points but lost out to the Bundesliga side - beaten 2-0 by Real Madrid - on their head-to-head record to finish third and will go into the Europa League instead.
Inter, who could have gone through with a win, finished bottom of the group with six points after drawing three of their six games and failing to win at home, and will not even have the consolation of the second-string competition.
Real won the group with 10 points.
"There are a lot of regrets, however, I sincerely do not feel that there has been a lack of cunning, determination or concentration," said Inter coach Antonio Conte. "We were lacking a goal. If you don't score you don't win."
Inter, who thumped Shakhtar 5-0 in last season's Europa League semi-finals in August, needed to win to qualify and also to see the other match, between Real Madrid and Borussia Moenchengladbach, not end in a draw.
Martinez nearly got the early breakthrough they needed but his shot thumped against the crossbar from Nicolo Barella's cross.
After that, Inter forced a succession of corners and tried their luck from long range but gave Shakhtar's 19-year-old goalkeeper Anatolii Trubin little to do.
Romelu Lukaku saw a header stopped by Trubin after the break before Shakhtar began to mount some attacks of their own.
Tete, one of six Brazilian-born players in Shakhtar's starting line-up, tested Samir Handanovic with a fizzing long-range shot and Maycon sent the rebound over the bar.
Trubin pushed a Christian Eriksen drive out from under the bar in stoppage time as Inter's European season came to an underwhelming conclusion.
"It's very good that we gifted our supporters and ourselves an opportunity to play European football in the spring," said Trubin. "Of course, we wanted to continue our path in the UEFA Champions League but we could have been eliminated too, so all is good now."