Napoli continue to gallop despite being already certain of their final position and victimized Inter on Sunday, which still had and has a lot to play for, putting together the most dominant performance of the week despite giving up a late consolation goal.
Carlo Ancelotti could count on the returns of Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne, who sat out last week, and picked the Belgian to partner Arkadiusz Milik up front. He opted for his more offensive-minded fullback duo, Kevin Malcuit and Faouzi Ghoulam, while Piotr Zielinski and Fabian Ruiz switched positions, the Polish starlet playing centrally and the Spaniard on the left wing. Orestis Karnezis drew a rare start between sticks.
The Partenopei were the aggressors in the early going, but really throughout the whole game, and broke the deadlock pretty early, at the 16th minute, when Zielinski bagged one of the best goals of the season, hammering the ball right in the top corner from 30 meters out.
The Nerazzurri had a muted response in the first half, mostly led by Ivan Perisic, and the script did not change in the second one, when Mertens doubled up the score sneaking between Joao Miranda and Danilo D’Ambrosio on a José Callejon delivery and netting a pretty header.
The Beneamanta’s two best chances, both created by Lautaro Martinez, were sandwiched Fabian Ruiz’s third Napoli goal: in the first one, the Argentinian striker fired it home after getting the ball on the left-hand portion of the box on a corner kick, but Kalidou Koulibaly miraculously cleared it on the goal-line with a header, while he hit the crossbar on a similar action later on.
In between, the Azzurri punished the opponents on a counter: Milik could not find a way to put it past Samir Handanovic on a cross from the left, but recycled the ball for Kevin Malcuit, who set up the uncovered Ruiz for an easy finish from around the penalty spot. The ex-Real Betis man completed his brace few minutes later with a potent strike from close range that surprised the goalie on the near post. Icardi made things slightly less awful for the guests by drawing and converting a penalty at the 81st minute.
Napoli took home the fourth win a row and further closed the gap to Juventus, which does not mean a lot but was at risk of being the largest in League’s history at some point. In the fantasy game, Fabian Ruiz paced his teammates with ten points, followed by Mertens, who amassed six: both tallied an assist on top of scoring. Zielinski garnered four for his goal, Callejon and Malcuit two for their helpers.
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