Inter Milan won their third consecutive game in the Champions League, beating Lille 2-1 on Wednesday night.
The Nerazzurri have beaten Lille both at home and away. As a result, they have taken control over Group B. Inter played well and deserved the victory, but could have won by a greater margin. Nevertheless, the team are now on the brink of qualifying and need just a single point to advance.
Inter got off to a quick start and nearly took the lead inside of two minutes. Diego Milito had a golden chance as he got onto the end of a long ball, following some slack defending. His outside-of-the-foot shot looked to be going in, but was denied by the crossbar.
Lille would settle down after this chance and begin to create some pressure. They had a series of corner kicks and a free kick in a dangerous position, but were unable to seriously threaten.
After 18 minutes, Inter would get the breakthrough. Wesley Sneijder sent in a good corner that Walter Samuel was able to head home. Curiously, Lille did not have any defenders on the posts, which could have prevented this goal.
The remainder of the half did not have any real chances of note and Inter took a 1-0 lead into the break.
In the second half, Inter surged on in search of a second. Several times, Milito had golden opportunities to score.
The first one came after three minutes, when Sneijder sent a free kick into the box. Dejan Stankovic beat the offside trap and was completely unmarked. Unselfishly, he headed the ball down to Milito, who was making a late run and was also unmarked. It seemed impossible not to score, but the Argentinian somehow skied the ball over the net.
Four minutes later, Milito would be on the end of another great opportunity. Inter had a three-on-one break, but Milito made a very selfish decision. Rather than passing to either Stankovic or Mauro Zarate, who were both unmarked, he decided to go for the shot. The strike was very tame and easily saved by Mickael Landreau.
Two minutes after that, Inter nearly paid for their missed chances. The ball fell to David Rozehnal, who smashed a volley just over the bar.
In the 65th minute, Milito would get yet another chance and finally he would convert. Javier Zanetti made a darting run to the box and cleverly chipped the ball to Milito, who had shed his marker. The pass was a little behind him, but he was able to redirect his body and side-foot the ball into an empty net.
Not only did Zanetti set up the second goal, but he defended very well all night. He worked his socks off to keep Lille at bay. The final moments were a bit nervy for Inter, as Lille pulled a goal back with seven minutes left. The goal came after a sloppy mishap from the defense, who allowed the ball to find Tulio de Melo. He neatly dinked the ball over Castellazzi to make it 2-1. Lille, though, would not seriously threaten again and Inter claimed the victory.
Inter got off to a disaster in the Champions League, but have been able to get it together over the last few matches. They will be looking for revenge in their next match in the competition, when they are away to Trabzonspor. In league play, however, they continue to struggle and remain near the foot of the table. Their next match in Serie A will be this weekend and will be a difficult task, as they face Genoa away from home.