Napoli came out empty-handed in their clash against Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri captured the three points after a hard thought battle that saw the hosts win 3-2. Despite the loss, The Partenopei remain in first place in Serie A.
Luciano Spalletti’s players felt the bitter taste of defeat for the first time this season. Against an Inter side still benefitting from a copious amount of individual skills, Napoli was unable to avoid a loss.
Managers Luciano Spalletti and Simone Inzaghi began the match using their favored formations. Napoli’s 4-2-3-1 looked to take advantage of Victor Osimhen and Piotr Zielinski’s explosiveness. Meanwhile, Inter’s 3-5-2 provided the current Serie A champions with width and balance in the middle of the pitch.
Personal skill gifts Inter the victory
Napoli started out the match strongly. In the 17th minute, Polish attacking midfielder, Zielinski, opened the scoring after Lorenzo Insigne’s clever pass found him with acres of space in the Inter penalty area.
Gli Azzurri’s joy was short lived. In the 23rd minute, Kalidou Koulibaly’s handball resulted in a penalty which Hakan Calhanoglu confidently converted.
Just before half-time, Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s error nearly gifted Nicolo Barella the chance to score, but David Ospina pushed the ball wide. In the resulting corner, however, Ivan Perisic managed to near the post header that the Napoli keeper could only punch after the ball had crossed the line.
Napoli went chasing an equalizer, but Victor Osimhen’s injury-related substitution in the 55th minute further distanced them from an equalizer.
In the 61st minute, Lautaro Martinez cleverly timed run and excellent control of the ball put Inter ahead by two goals.
Napoli only managed to get one back through an excellent long-range effort courtesy of Dries Mertens.
It was a game in which Spalletti will feel that some of his star players, Fabian Ruiz, Insigne, or Koulibaly, should have performed to a greater standard. The difference ultimately was made by Inter’s superior individual skill in important moments in the game.
Regardless of the loss, Napoli continues to lead the Serie A table, following AC Milan’s defeat to Fiorentina. Inter, however, has clawed back to only a four-point difference, and Napoli will feel the pressure as they take on Lazio next Sunday.