Rome, Feb 4 (AFP) Inter Milan moved up to third in theSerie A table after labouring to a 3-0 victory at rock bottomBari.
Following league leaders AC Milan''s 0-0 draw with Lazioon Tuesday, Inter yesterday closed the gap to their bittercity rivals to seven points and with a game in hand.
Although the final score appeared comfortable it did nottell the story of a game that for 70 minutes seemed destinedto finish in a sterile goalless stalemate.
But 20 minutes from time Morocco midfielder HoussineKharja struck his first goal for the champions in his firststart for the club.
Fellow transfer deadline day signing Giampaolo Pazzinithen took his tally for the nerazzurri to three goals in twogames with the first of two added time strikes before WesleySneijder on his injury comeback added the third.
The best chance of the first half came on 10 minutes whenBari''s Sergio Almiron set his sights from a free-kick justoutside the box but Julio Cesar made a diving one-handed save.
Inter rarely threatened with a pair of half chances fromright-back Maicon the closest they came to creating abreakthrough.
At the start of the second half Cameroon captain SamuelEto''o worked his way into the Bari box but his shot wasdeflected behind.
Dutch playmaker Sneijder came on early in the secondperiod to make his injury comeback after almost two months onthe sidelines but his rustiness showed as he blazed over whenwell-placed.
The opening goal came 20 minutes from time after someuncharacteristically slick play in an otherwise stale match.
Kharja slipped the ball inside to Eto''o and continued hisrun, taking the forward''s reverse pass and then finishingcrisply left-footed across Jean-Francois Gillet in the Barigoal.
That at least sparked the Serie A basement sitters intolife and Alessandro Gazzi burst forward to hit a dipping ballon the volley but Cesar got both hands behind it to parry.
Gazzi was presented with a great chance five minutes fromtime but on the turn he failed to get a true contact and theball trickled harmlessly into Cesar''s arms.
As Bari pushed up late on to try to rescue something fromthe game, Pazzini escaped on the break and finished clinicallyinside Gillet''s far post before Sneijder volleyed home withthe last kick of the match. (AFP) PM