This is a score line that gives a view of a very one-sided game dominated by the away team. But for those who were witness to the game would agree that the score line flatters Inter as much as it does injustice to Bari’s efforts.
The first half was a dull affair with numerous misplaced passes from either team's midfielders. Inter’s new signing Kharja started off brightly but tailed off towards the end of the half. It seemed as though he was a favorite to be subbed off at the interval but coach Leonardo knew better and the Algerian midfielder would make a very telling impact on the game later on.
Sergio Almiron’s free kick on the 10th minute was arguably the only highlight of a tepid first half. The absence of Cambiasso was hurting Inter as his driving force was completely lacking from a midfield comprising of a deep lying Motta accompanied by Zanetti and Cambiasso ahead of him.
Cambiasso has grown into one of the most complete midfielders in Europe and his reading of the game is second to none. His consistency and battling spirit was sorely missed in Inter’s engine room tonight.
The second half began with Samuel Eto’o having a shot blocked by Marco Rossi. Things were pretty mundane until Christian Chivu completely lost his head and punched Rossi in his face when the referee had his back to the two of them.
His actions were disgraceful and cowardly. In spite of apologizing to the player and everyone else after the game, it doesn’t take away from the fact that his actions cannot be justified whatsoever.
Wesley Sneijder was introduced in the 61st minute in place of a laboring Diego Milito. One has to wonder where the Diego Milito of last season is! Sneijder’s lack of action for nearly 50 days was evident as he sent a couple of his shots on goal sailing high over the cross bar.
However, his introduction at least gave a bit more bite to the Inter attack and the rewards were felt a few minutes later as Kharja and Eto’o exchanged a quick set of passes inside the Bari penalty area ending with a Kharja shot that beat Gillet in the Bari goal.
It was not the most powerful finish but Kharja will take it as he opens his Inter scoring account. Once again it is a midfielder coming up with the goal for Inter at a crucial moment. This is surely a very good sign for the remainder of the campaign.
Bari responded almost immediately through Alessandro Gazzi as his shot from just a few yards out was parried by Julio Cesar in goal. Bari kept pressing for the equalizer and their spirit must be applauded.
Erik Huseklepp came on for Gergely Rudolf in the 70th minute and had a decent impact on the game. He looked lively and Bari fans will be hoping he can help them stay up which looks to be getting a tougher task with every passing round.
Towards the end of the game as Bari were pushing nearly everyone forward, Inter took advantage scoring two injury time goals on the counter-attack. First Sneijder won back possession in midfield and slid a well timed pass to Pazzini who duly finished to make it three goals in two games—2-0 to Inter.
Sneijder was not finished though as he latched on to a header by Kharja in the Bari penalty area two minutes later to score with what would be almost the last kick of the game. This is the Dutchman’s first goal in Serie A and with Roma coming up over the weekend, an ideal time to open his account.
An assist for Kharja too must be mentioned here. Adding to his first from the weekend when he fed Pazzini for Inter’s opener.
Thus a scoreline that helps Inter’s goal difference yet not a performance that will have Roma quivering. Bari had a couple of penalty claims that were warded off by the referee and with a little bit of luck could well have claimed a point from tonight’s game.
Unfortunately, for many of us, the shameful actions of Christian Chivu will stand out more than any of the performances.
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