Napoli and Inter played out a 1-1 draw in what was quite an interesting match at the Diego Maradona Stadium today. The Partenopei got off to a brilliant start as they won an early penalty which was converted by captain Lorenzo Insigne. The hosts looked to be the more dominant team during the first half as they kept creating more chances and often troubled the Inter defense.
However, the Nerazzurri found their equalizer early in the second half thanks to a wonderful finish from Edin Dzeko. Both sides looked to find a winner but neither could do so.
Eventually, Inter and Napoli will both be satisfied with a point, especially the latter. The Nerazzurri, who were without their manager Simone Inzaghi, have now endured two winless matches in a row and will be looking to grab all three points in their next league fixture against Sassuolo
Starting XIs: Koulibaly Back for Napoli, Inter Make Five Changes
Luciano Spalletti made just one to Napoli’s XI which was the return of Kalidou Koulibaly after captaining Senegal to victory at the recently-concluded AFCON. He replaced Juan Jesus in central defense.
Inter made five changes from their Coppa Italia win over Roma. Stefan de Vrij and Federico Dimarco were back in the starting XI, replacing Danilo D’Ambrosio and Alessandro Bastoni who was ruled out due to an ankle injury.
Denzel Dumfries started at right wingback ahead of Matteo Darmian while Arturo Vidal came in place of Hakan Calhanoglu. Upfront, Lautaro Martinez was back in the lineup, replacing Alexis Sanchez.
Insigne Penalty Puts Napoli In Front
Both sides started strongly and Napoli won an early penalty after Stefan de Vrij fouled Victor Osimhen. Up stepped Insigne and he found the target to put the Partenopei ahead.
Just minutes later, Napoli came very close to doubling their lead as Piotr Zielinski’s shot hit the outside of the post. The hosts were forced to make an early change as Matteo Politano was not able to continue and was replaced by Elif Elmas.
Napoli had some good opportunities to find the net but could not make the most out of them. First, Osimhen hit the side-netting before Insigne’s shot was off-target. The Nigerian had another shooting chance but his shot was deflected off De Vrij for a corner but nothing came of it.
Inter had a good scoring chance in the 35th minute when Ivan Perisic’s cross reached Dzeko. However, Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina held on to the Bosnian’s header. The Nerazzurri had another opportunity when Martinez’s pass found Dumfries but the right-back’s shot couldn’t find the target.
Dzeko Strikes Salvages a Point for Inter
Inter could not have had a better start to the second half as Dzeko got the equalizer they were craving for. The striker had a bit of luck as the ball came towards him but his finish was brilliant and marked his tenth Serie A goal of the season.
Napoli were looking to restore their lead and Osimhen had a good chance to do so but Samir Handanovic denied him with a fine save. Just a few minutes later, Ivan Perisic sent a delivery towards Dumfries but Koulibaly made a crucial challenge to ensure that the ball went out of play.
Both sides challenged the other’s backline with Elmas coming very close to scoring. However, Handanovic made another crucial save to deny the North Macedonian.
With the match well into its final ten minutes, Inter made their first substitutions with Calhanoglu and Sanchez replacing Vidal and Sanchez respectively.
The Nerazzurri did most of the attacking during the final few minutes
What’s Next for Napoli and Inter
Both teams will have a bout of European football in the coming days. Napoli travel to Catalonia for their Europa League fixture against what looks like a rejuvenated Barcelona. Inter host Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.
February 12, 2022 – Serie A 2021-2022 Matchday 25
NAPOLI – INTER 1-1
SCORES: 7′ insignia (N, pen.)47′ Dzeko (I)
|NAPLES (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Fabian Ruiz (74′ Anguissa) Lobotka; Politano (26′ Elmas), Zielinski (84′ Juan Jesus), Insigne (84′ Ounas); Osimhen (84′ Mertens) (Meret, Malcuit, Demme, Marfella, Ghoulam, Petagna, Zanoli) Coaches: spalletti|
|INTER (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Dimarco (91′ D’Ambrosio); Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu (84′ Vidal), Perisic; Dzeko, Lautaro Martinez (83′ Sanchez) (Cordaz, Radu, Gagliardini, Kolarov, Ranocchia, Darmian, Carboni, Caicedo) Coaches: S.Inzaghi|
REFEREE: Mr Doveri from Rome
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Insignia (S), Brozovic (I) ; Added Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 5′