Supersub Inzaghi fires Milan
© AFP

UEFA Champions League holders AC Milan shrugged off their modest domestic form to beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 on Tuesday and put one foot into the last 16.

Filippo Inzaghi unlocked the game for the Italians when producing a second half double and setting up Kaka for the third goal to lift Milan to the top of Group D with two games remaining.

The defending champions have failed to live up to their billing as conquerors of Europe on the domestic front where they lie ninth behind their city rivals Inter, but Carlo Ancelotti's men are enjoying better fortune in this competition.

The Italians had the bulk of possession in the first half but were unable to unlock Shakhtar's tight defence and went into the break all square, that scoreline parity even reflected on the bookings front with Dutch referee Peter Vink dishing out two apeice.

One of the best chances of the period fell to Shakhtar when Alessandro Nesta was forced to fling himself at Cristiano Lucarelli's feet to charge down his shot with Dida getting a fingertip to Darijo Srna's follow-up that flashed across the face of goal.

With Ronaldo watching from the subs bench on his first European appearance for the club Milan exploded into life in the second half.

Inzaghi, three minutes after coming onto the pitch to replace Alberto Gilardino in the 66th minute, eventually got the goal their domination deserved when he latched on to a clever defence-splitting throughball from Andrea Pirlo to shoot past Andriy Pyatov.

The veteran 34-year-old was taking his tally to 61 goals in Europe, one behind all time leader Gerd 'Der Bomber' Muller.

Six minutes later Inzaghi was at the centre of the second goal when he chested a high ball down in the box for Kaka to shoot in by the far post and he wrapped up the game with his second in the third minute of injury time.

The game was preceded by a minute's silence to mark the passing of Milan's Swedish legend Nils Liedholm, who died at the weekend at the age of 85.