NAPLES – It was Napoli’s turn to punish the Nerazzurri, inflicting upon them their seventh defeat in the last eight matches – including the cups – and their fifth in a row. In a frenzied San Paolo the final score was Napoli 1-0 Inter and Lavezzi scored the winner 15 minutes into the second half. Claudio Ranieri’s team were unable to react and are now stuck on 36 points as they slide down the table: now they are seventh.
FIRST HALF – To face Napoli Claudio Ranieri picked Lucio and Samuel as central defenders in front of Julio Cesar, with Faraoni and Nagatomo playing wide: Chivu had flu and watched the match from the stands; in midfield he chose Zanetti, Stankovic and Cambiasso with Sneijder – who was making his 100th appearance for the Nerazzurri – behind strikers Forlan and Milito.
Inter tried to shake Napoli up in the 3rd minute when Stankovic attempted a shot from outside the box, which flew narrowly over the bar. A minute later Inler responded left-footed but Julio Cesar was on his toes and made the ball his. Napoli began to grow in confidence and Lavezzi and Dzemaili broke through the defence. In the 12th minute the Nerazzurri attacked with Cambiasso on the left looking for Milito who arrived just too late. In the 17th minute Lavezzi blasted inches wide as Napoli began to coordinate their attack, while Inter had to absorb the incursions from Mazzarri’s team.
On 25 minutes Julio Cesar made a superb save from Dzemaili’s right-footed rocket, after being set up by Zuniga: the Nerazzurri were risking a lot at the back. In the 29th minute Cavani tried to head home from a Lavezzi free-kick: the ball was heading for the top corner, but missed by a whisker. Inter were being squeezed back into their own half. In the 41st minute Nagatomo tackled Cavani well in the area. In the 43rd minute Sneijder’s free-kick which was heading for the top corner, missed by inches. This, along with the shot from Stankovic in the opening stages of the match, was the only real chance Inter managed to set up in the first half, which came to a close with the score at 0-0 without any added time.
SECOND HALF – The second half began with two changes to the Inter line-up: Cordoba replaced Forlan and Pazzini took over from Sneijder. Faraoni and Nagatomo pushed forward as Ranieri fielded a three-man defence. In the 52nd minute Maggio got on the end of a Zuniga cross to head downwards but was put off by Samuel and the ball went wide. Lucio showed his worth from the beginning, winning a tackle against Lavezzi and immediately afterwards against Cavani. In the 59th minute Napoli took the lead with Lavezzi: a one-two between Dzemaili and Cavani, with the midfielder who took the ball through to find Lavezzi on the left and the Argentine found the bottom corner of the net. A minute later Cavani raced through and Julio Cesar came off his line to meet him and he did it again in the 64th, turning away a right-footed shot from Dzemaili which was on its way in.
Inter just weren’t able to react and their goalkeeper was called into action again on 71 minutes as he tipped Cavani’s free-kick over the bar. Dzemaili’s header, which came just a few minutes later, was only inches too high. In the 72nd minute Nagatomo crossed and Pazzini managed to reach the ball, only to send it high over the bar. A minute later Campagnaro hit the target but play was stopped for an offside call against Inler.
In the 79th minute Aronica was sent off for committing a foul as the last man on Poli: Napoli were down to ten men and Inter had a free kick. Cambiasso stepped up to take it, but De Sanctis saved. In the 88th minute Nagatomo crossed from the left to find the head of Pazzini who could only direct the ball wide to the right of De Sanctis: a great opportunity wasted. In the 92nd minute Cambiasso headed wide, Zuniga pulled down Pazzini but the referee decided it wasn’t a foul. Again in the 92nd Faraoni hit a right-footed shot which wasn’t far off the mark. But the Nerazzurri couldn’t get back into the match, and they lost to Napoli too. After three minutes of added time the match ended with a final score of Napoli 1-0 Inter.
Napoli 1-0 Inter (HT: 0-0)
Scorer: Lavezzi 59
Napoli: 1 De Sanctis; 14 Campagnaro, 28 Cannavaro, 6 Aronica; 11 Maggio, 23 Gargano, 88 Inler, 18 Zuniga; 20 Dzemaili (Dossena 89); 22 Lavezzi (Britos 82); 7 Cavani.
Unused Subs: 83 Rosati, 2 Grava, 21 Fernandez, 29 Pandev, 16 Vargas.
Coach: Walter Mazzarri.
Inter: 1 Julio Cesar; 37 Faraoni, 6 Lucio, 25 Samuel, 55 Nagatomo; 4 Zanetti, 5 Stankovic (Poli 66), 19 Cambiasso; 10 Sneijder (Pazzini 46); 9 Forlan (Cordoba 46), 22 Milito.
Unused Subs: 12 Castellazzi, 17 Palombo, 20 Obi, 28 Zarate.
Coach: Claudio Ranieri.
Referee: Mauro Bergonzi (Genoa).
Booked: Nagatomo 13, Gargano 18, Milito 45, Cordoba 67, Faraoni 70, Poli 77.
Sent off: Aronica 79.
Added time: 0+3 minutes.