Inter top Group B after win
Italians produce a classic performance to take the points in France
Last Updated: October 18, 2011 11:17pm
Giampaolo Pazzini: Inter Milan striker scores the only goal of the game against Lille
Giampaolo Pazzini's winner earned Inter Milan a hard-fought victory against Lille at the Stade Metropole to top Group B.
Claudio Ranieri had seen his side lose to Catania at the weekend which saw them slip to just above the drop zone in Serie A.
However, Pazzini's strike after 21 minutes was enough to give them a morale-boosting win and deal Lille only their second ever home Champions League defeat.
Inter were presented with an early chance when Marko Basa fouled Mauro Zarate 25 yards out after three minutes, but Wesley Sneijder's free-kick was comfortably saved by Vincent Enyeama.
After 20 minutes Eden Hazard saw his shot blocked by Lucio and moments later his side were behind.
Zarate was the provider, sending in a perfect cross for Pazzini to hammer home a volley from 12 yards.
Lille responded, dominating possession, but failed to create many clear-cut chances.
Mathieu Debuchy brought a save out of Julio Cesar with an ambitious effort from distance and the rebound was fired over by Joe Cole, who was again wasteful from 25 yards just before the half-hour mark.
As the half progressed Zarate saw a shot from the edge of the box blocked by Basa and Maicon shot wide for Inter, while Lille could not turn their possession into chances.
The hosts continued to see more of the ball at the start of the second period, Moussa Sow brining a save out of Julio Cesar five minutes after the restart.
Lucio then threw himself in front of Florent Balmont's strike to deny Lille an equaliser just after the hour mark before Dimitri Payet went agonisingly close in the 66th minute.
Payet had only been on the pitch for three minutes when he produced a neat bit of skill and curling shot, but a diving Julio Cesar turned the ball behind at full stretch.
Cole fired over again and Payet had a shot blocked, while at the other end Dejan Stankovic, on for Sneijder, had an effort tipped over by Enyeama.
Lille found an immovable object in their way in the shape of Julio Cesar, who comfortably held Franck Beria's shot and Mathieu Debuchy's header.
And when he saved from Hazard moments from the end, it confirmed a frustrating evening for Lille.
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UEFA Champions League
Tue 18th Oct - Group B
CSKA Mosc3 - 0Trabzonspor
Lille0 - 1Inter
Tue 18th Oct - Group A
Napoli1 - 1Bay Munich
Man City2 - 1Villarreal
Tue 18th Oct - Group C
Basel0 - 2Benfica
Otelul Galati0 - 2Man Utd
Tue 18th Oct - Group D
R Madrid4 - 0Lyon
Din Zagreb0 - 2Ajax
UEFA Champions League Group A
|1||Paris St Germain||6||15|
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|3||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||7|
UEFA Champions League Group D
UEFA Champions League Group E
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
UEFA Champions League Group H