Inter Milan rallies to tie Ajax 2-2

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Inter Milan earned a 2-2 draw at Ajax Amsterdam in the first knockout round of the Champions League.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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Julio Cruz scored in the 86th minute Wednesday to complete Inter Milan's comeback and earn a 2-2 draw at Ajax Amsterdam in the first knockout round of the Champions League. Ajax led on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's 15th-minute header, knocking a short cross from Mauro Rosales into the right corner past diving Inter goalkeeper Francesco Toldo. It went 2-0 up five minutes later when Rosales clipped in Urby Emanuelson's pass off a defender's foot. Dejan Stankovic brought Inter back into the game three minutes after halftime, trading passes with Ivan Cordoba before shooting. Then Cruz connected on a cross from Matias Cambiasso from short range. The teams play the return leg March 7, with the overall winner advancing to the quarterfinals. "It's a very bitter pill," Ajax coach Danny Blind said. "Two-one would have been a better result, especially in a home game, but nothing's impossible." Missed chances Ajax had seemed to control the match after its second goal, but Cruz and Ivan Cordoba each put headers onto Ajax's crossbar twice after a 44th-minute corner kick. Stankovic scored and Inter continued to threaten, with Hatem Trabelsi's tackle denying Brazil striker Adriano before goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg dived to block Luis Figo's long-range shot and stopped a shot from substitute Obafemi Martins. "We gave the second half away," said Huntelaar. "We weren't as aggressive and lost control of the ball too much." Inter had a good chance to win the game a minute before the end when Martins passed to Cruz, who shot wide. (AP)