Serie A Match of the Round – Napoli vs Inter

Napoli-Inter was a bit one-sided, but it had enough action to justify its selection as game of the week considering its magnitude.

The Azzurri were looking to build on their first win in two months before the break, versus Sassuolo in pretty fortunate manner, while the Beneamata had crushed Genoa and were looking to confirm their success on the road and answer to Juventus, which had defeated Cagliari earlier on Monday.

Gennaro Gattuso, who could not count on the injured Kalidou Koulibaly, Dries Mertens and Nikola Maksimovic, moved Giovanni Di Lorenzo to centre-back, with Elseid Hysaj filling it at right-back, while Fabian Ruiz recovered from the flu and quarterbacked the midfield. Antonio Conte picked Alessandro Bastoni over Diego Godin in the back and kept Stefano Sensi initially on the bench, trotting out Matias Vecino and Roberto Gagliardini to form a more muscular midfield.

The Partenopei had their first chance few seconds into the game, but Arkadiusz Milik could not head home a juicy cross by Lorenzo Insigne. Few minutes later, Insigne could not settle the ball in the box on a counter, wasting away a fast-break and an opportunity for a one-and-one with the goalie.

The guests got the lead at the 14th minute, as, near midfield, Luperto slipped on a backwards pass by Mario Rui, Romelu Lukaku took control of the ball and overpoweringly scampered towards the box, slotting it right on the near post just upon entering the box. The Nerazzurri kept pressing but Alex Meret denied a close-range effort by Lautaro Martinez to keep it one-nil. However, the second goal arrived after 33 minutes as, on another one-man counter, Lukaku tried his luck from distance and the goalie did not manage to bat it away, letting it go through his legs.

Samir Handanovic instead denied a dangerous attempt by Insigne, freed up by a combination with Milik. Five minutes before the break, the home team cut into the lead with one of the trademark plays: Piotr Zielinski sprung José Callejon loose deep into the box with a superb ball over the top, the Spaniard sent it back and Milik easily punched it home.

However, in the second half, even though Napoli got off to a rather convincing start, the Biscione managed to ice the game before the opponent could gain too much momentum: Vecino bore down the right wing and crossed towards the heart of the box, Kostas Manolas intercepted it with a slide but left it there, basically setting up Martinez’ tap-in.

The Azzurri tried to muster a reaction but did not create all that much besides grazing the crossbar on a free kick by Insigne and a long-range shot by Ruiz, which was again tipped away by Handanovic.

Inter keep up with Juventus and keep leading the standings, while the Partenopei are 11 points away from the Champions League zone and five from the Europa League one.

In the fantasy game, Lukaku led the way wits his eight points, followed by the other scorers Martinez and Milik with four, while Callejon and Marcelo Brozovic received two for their assists.

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