Inter Milan closed the gap at the top of the Serie A table with a 3-2 win over Napoli at the San Siro.
With AC Milan dropping points against Fiorentina yesterday, both sides knew that a win this evening could have massive implications. For Inter it would mean closing the gap to five points on joint leaders AC and Napoli, while Napoli would open a three-point lead up at the top.
The first half was played at real pace with Napoli going a goal ahead after 17 minutes when Piotr Zielinski closed down Nicolò Barella to start a quick counter attacking move. The Polish international was then played in by Lorenzo Insigne, and made no mistake firing his shot past Samir Handanovic from the edge of the box.
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But Inter responded quickly and won a penalty less than 10 minutes later after Kalidou Koulibaly handled the ball inside the box. Up stepped Hakan Çalhanoglu who sent David Ospina the wrong way.
Just before halftime Ivan Perišic got his head on the end of a clever near post corner routine to give the hosts the lead.
The second half saw the tempo of the game drop off as Napoli searched for an equaliser and they came close on a number of occasions. But they found themselves another goal down as Inter hit them on the counter attack, Joaquin Correa carried the ball almost the entire length of the pitch before playing in Lautaro Martínez, who slotted his shot into the far corner of the net.
As the game looked beyond the visitors, substitute Dries Mertens grabbed a spectacular goal from 25 yards out, but it wasn’t enough as Inter closed out the match to take all three points.
Next up for Inter is a Champions League match with Shakhtar Donetsk followed by an away trip to take on Venezia. While Napoli take on Spartak Moscow in the Europa League and then return to league action against Lazio

TALKING POINT - INTER END NAPOLI’S UNBEATEN RUN

In the space of two days Serie A’s two unbeaten sides have come unstuck as the league is blown wide open by a well-drilled Inter side. In truth the hosts rode their luck at times, but you cannot deny their clinical nature in front of goal to take all three points off a Napoli side that coming into the game had only conceded four goals.

MAN OF THE MATCH - ALESSANDRO BASTONI (INTER MILAN)

The young defender is playing well beyond his years with a sense of composure and the ability to read the game. From the moment the game started he was focused and impossible to get around. On top of that he also displayed his confidence to drive forward with the ball from the centre of defence.

PLAYER RATINGS:

Inter: Handanovic 8, Škriniar 7, Ranocchia 6, Bastoni 9, Barella 7, Çalhanoglu 6, Darmian 7, Brozovic 6, Perišic 7, Martínez 7, Correa 6
Napoli: Ospina 7, Di Lorenzo 6, Rrahmani 6, Koulibaly 7, Rui 6, Ruiz 6, Zambo Anguissa 6, Lozano 7, Zielinski 8, Osimhen 6, Insigne 6, Mertens 7

KEY MOMENTS:

17’ - GOAL! 1-0 Napoli (Zielinski) - Excellent counter attacking football as Zielinski wins the ball off Barella and starts the move off. He's then played in by Insigne and he fires his shot past Handanovic from the edge of the box
25’ - GOAL! 1-1 Inter (Çalhanoglu) - The midfielder sends Ospina the wrong way as the ball rolls into the corner of the net to make it all square at the San Siro
44’ - GOAL! 2-1 Inter (Perišic) - The hosts are ahead as Perišic gets on the end of a clever corner that was whipped towards the near post. There was a goal line check as Ospina got a hand to it, but it was clearly in
79’ - GOAL! 3-2 Napoli (Mertens) - What a finish from Mertens who picks up the ball from 25 yards out and bends his shot past Handanovic. Game on!!!
90’+1 - SAVE! Handanovic somehow manages to keep out Rui's header which looked goal bound
90'+7 - CHANCE! WHAT A MISS!!!! Mertens blazes his effort over the bar. He should have scored there

KEY STATS:

  • Mertens has scored his 103th goal in Serie A, becoming the best historical scorer in the top flight for Napoli (overtaken Antonio Vojak, 102 goals).
  • Since his first Serie A season (2017/18) Calhanoglu is the midfielder who played the highest number of matches in the Italian top-flight scoring at least one goal and providing at least one assist (10 with today's one)
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