Naples is no longer undefeated. This Sunday evening, the Neapolitans bowed on the lawn of Inter Milan (3-2), during the 13th day of Serie A. At the Stadio Giuseppe-Meazza, Hakan Calhanoglu, on penalty (25th), Ivan Perisic ( 44th) and Lautaro Martinez (61st) sheltered theirs, after the opening scoring of Piotr Zielinski (17th). At the end of the game, Luciano Spalletti’s men managed to reduce the mark thanks to a superb goal from Dries Mertens (78th) and if they pushed to the end, it did not pay off. Despite this first setback of the season in the elite, the Partenopei remain leaders in the standings of the Italian championship, while the Interists, still third, come back four lengths from the lead.
Dries Mertens scored his 103rd Serie A goal, becoming the top scorer in Napoli’s history in the top flight, while beating Antonio Vojak (102 goals). A total reached at the end of the game, when the Belgian international, entered during the game, then gave hope to his family, by reducing the mark, with a floating strike from 20 meters (78th, 3-2).
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The late awakening of Naples
From that moment on, the visitors seemed excited and the 3-3 goal could even have intervened in added time. First through Mario Rui, who saw his head be pushed back by Samir Handanovic, with a magnificent decisive parade (90th + 1), then by Mertens, again him, whose recovery, at the far post, is passed above (90th + 7).
An awakening certainly far too late for the Neapolitans who paid a heavy price in a particularly muscular meeting, and which was notably marked by two enormous head-to-head shocks. Moreover, the Partenopei top scorer since the start of the Serie A season, Victor Osimhen (five goals), was even forced to give up his place, obviously quite seriously hit in the face (55th).
Napoli have conceded just four goals this season in Serie A
Even if, this time, the Nigerian had remained silent until his untimely exit, his partners had managed to take the lead in this meeting. Piotr Zielinski had managed to unblock the situation, with a nice strike from 20 meters (17th, 0-1). But the best Serie A defense before kick-off (only four goals conceded in twelve games) ended up sinking against the best attack of the elite (32 goals).
Hakan Calhanoglu had, at first, put the two teams tied, from a penalty (25th, 1-1). Before Ivan Perisic, just before the break, gave his team the advantage, with a header from a corner (44 ‘, 2-1). For the first time since March against Sassuolo, Naples then conceded at least two goals in the first period of a Serie A match. At the hour mark, Lautaro Martinez then, after a counter, also adjusted David Ospina (61st , 3-1).
The Neapolitan doorman, who ended the meeting with a bandage around his head, was however the author of many other decisive interventions, such as in front of Nicolo Barella and Joaquin Correa (43rd), Lautaro Martinez (47th) as well as Ivan Perisic ( 70th). Luciano Spalletti’s men therefore had to admit defeat, after ten wins and two draws. The reigning Italian champions, for their part, have proven that they should be counted on more than ever this year again.
Credit: Getty Images
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