Whatever problems they may be experiencing in domestic football, Barcelona remain unstoppable in the Champions League, recording their 11th successive win to extend their 100 per cent record in this year’s competition.
Goals from Javier Saviola and Philip Cocu inside the opening half-hour put Barca in charge against Inter before Patrick Kluivert secured the points with a wonderful third, midway through the second half.
The Spanish side now top the section with maximum points from their three second group stage matches and have surpassed Milan’s ten-year record of ten straight wins in the competition.
To compound a miserable night for Inter, the Italian league leaders also had Alvaro Recoba sent off with ten minutes remaining.
In Group A,’s other match, Bayer Leverkusen’s miserable season continued with a 1-3 home defeat to Newcastle. The result was a nice present for Newcastle boss Bobby Robson, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Thomas Horster in charge for the first time, could watch in dismay as his understrength team fell two goals behind within the space of 16 minutes. Shola Ameobi scored both and fellow striker Lomana LuaLua added a third before the interval after Franca had pulled a goal back for the home side.
Group B is looking like the tightest of the lot, with the top three teams all on five points.
Roma’s chances progressing look remmote though as they went down fto their third successive defeat, losing 1-0 at home to Valencia, couretsy of a John Carew goal.
Meanwhile Arsenal were held 1-1 by Ajax despite taking the lead through Sylvain Wiltord as early as the 5th minute. Nigel de Jong brought the Dutch champions level on 17 minutes The result means Ajax top the group, by virtue of their better results in matches between the top three.
Bayer Leverkusen 1-3 Newcastle United
Newcastle: (Ameobi 5, 16, LuaLua 32)
Barcelona 3-0 Inter
Barcelona: (Saviola 7, Cocu 29, Kluivert 67)
Arsenal 1-1 Ajax
Arsenal: (Wiltord 5)
Roma 0-1 Valencia
Valencia: (Carew 78)