Champions League - Pazzini goal sends Inter top of group
Internazionale put their domestic woes behind them to go top of Champions League Group B with a 1-0 win over Lille in a turgid match at Stade Lille Metropole.
Inter - 17th in Serie A with only four points after successive defeats to Napoli and Catania in the past fortnight - claimed victory in France courtesy of Giampaolo Pazzini's opportunist winner on 21 minutes.
Inter top the Group B standings on six points from three games after CSKA Moscow had joined Trabzonspor - who defeated Inter 1-0 at the San Siro last month - on four points with a 3-0 victory over the Turkish side in Moscow earlier in the evening.
Litte are bottom on two points with this defeat coming on the back of a couple of draws. The return leg in Milan in a fortnight is suddenly of some significance if Lille harbour hopes of attaining a place in the top two of this section.
Lille had kept five clean sheets in their previous six matches against Italian opponents in Europe, but were undone by Inter's only notable attack of the night as the visitors - in the best traditions of most Italian outfits on such frantic outings - parked the bus to some effect.
The first period made for pretty grim viewing as Lille huffed and puffed without ever threatening to blow down the visiting side, despite the best efforts of Eden Hazard and Joe Cole to cut a dash through Inter's stodgy rearguard.
Inter scored with their only memorable attack of the first period, and it was quite a strike by Pazzini that broke the deadlock.
Wesley Sneijder showed considerable vision to send Mauro Zarate scampering clear down a wing and his cross was met by Pazzini, who thumped the ball beyond the helpless home goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama from eight yards out.
Julio Cesar managed to claw out a couple of balls flying in his general direction moments later, while he raced from his line to smuggle the ball away from Moussa Sow after England midfielder Cole dinked a nice ball down the line.
Zarate enjoyed another probing run on 35 minutes, but his shot was blocked by the long leg of Marko Basa, who was forced to race back with some urgency to deprive Inter of a second goal.
Lille were the dominant force in the second half, but again lacked the quality required to cut through Claudio Ranieri's team, who were content to sit back and soak it up knowing that it was going to take a move of exceptional quality to unlock them.
The home side's best moment of the half - and perhaps the match - came on 66 minutes when substitute Dimitri Payet sent a curling shot goalwards from the edge of the Inter area only for the alert Cesar to paw it wide of goal.
He smacked a shot at goal, but Enyeama managed to nudge the ball over the bar in a move that was never likely to have a crucial bearing on the outcome of the night.