Trabzon, Turkey, Nov 23: Only making its Champion League debut because Fenerbahce is implicated in a match-fixing scandal, Trabzonspor's bid to make the knockout stages is in its own control after holding 2010 winner Inter Milan to a 1-1 draw Tuesday.
Inter advanced to the next round when Lille defeated CSKA Moscow 2-0 earlier in the day, and the draw ensured the Serie A team will finish top of Group B.
Trabzonspor is second in the group, a point above Lille and CSKA, and can clinch qualification at Lille in the last round of the group stage on Dec. 7.
"We've developed our game in the last five games," Trabzonspor coach Senol Gunes said.
"Our defense was very disorganized but we improved. I congratulate my players and fans who created a great atmosphere."
Trabzonspor finished second in the Turkish league on goal difference last year, putting the club into the qualifying round for the Champions League.
But after losing to Benfica, the team was given a second chance when league champion Fenerbahce was kicked out of the competition because of its involvement in a match-fixing scandal.
On Tuesday, Inter midfielder Ricardo Alvarez scored in the 18th minute with a side-footed shot past the goalkeeper following an exchange with fellow Argentine Diego Milito that pierced the defense.
The hosts leveled five minutes later when Halil Altintop's left-footed shot hit the crossbar and went in after deflecting off Inter defender Walter Samuel, wrong-footing goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
"I am pleased with the performance of my team," Inter coach Claudio Ranieri said.
"We tried to win the game, but it was an open game which both sides could have won. There was a very well organized team against us."
Trabzonspor had increased the pressure after conceding and almost found the net in the 21st when forward Burak Yilmaz shot wide after receiving an outstanding pass by midfielder Gustavo Colman.
Julio Cesar denied Alanzinho in a clear chance in the 34th minute following a clever turn by the Brazilian midfielder.
Three minutes later, Inter forward Mauro Zarate's effort from a tight angle was blocked by goalkeeper Tolga Zengin.
Trabzonspor started the second half as aggressively as the first half. In the 49th minute, a fierce free kick by Burak Yilmaz was punched away by Julio Cesar.
In the 54th minute, a volley blasted by Stankovic from the edge of the box was stopped by Zengin in an excellent save.
Inter missed a great chance at the hour mark when Zarate received a pass from Esteban Cambiasso, whose first effort was blocked by Tolga and his second in the follow-up was blocked by defender Arkadiusz Glowacki.
Zengin made a good save in the 65th after Milito's clever pass to Zarate, whose run into the box was halted by the goalkeeper.
Trabzonspor missed a late opportunity to score the winner, Adrian Mierzejewski's header hitting the post in the 77th minute from a cross by Ondrej Celutskta.