Napoli finally beaten as Inter relaunches Serie A title bid | Sports News


MILAN (AP) – And then there was none.

Serie A leaders Napoli have lost for the first time this season as Inter Milan reinvigorated their Italian title bid with a 3-2 victory on Sunday.

Defending champions Inter closed the gap on Napoli and AC Milan to four points after 13 rounds and ended Napoli’s status as the last undefeated team in Europe’s five major leagues.

Dries Mertens, who had set up a thrilling final with Napoli’s second late goal, missed the opportunity to equalize in added time when he reversed his shot.

It was Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti’s first return to San Siro in Milan since he was sacked by Inter after leading him to fourth place in 2019.

Spalletti’s players wore shirts paying tribute to the great footballer Diego Maradona, who died on November 25 last year, but it was another Argentinian who scored the winning goal.

Lautaro Martínez scored Inter’s third goal on a 61st-minute counterattack, set up by compatriot Joaquín Correa, who ran almost from one penalty area to the next.

Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanović kept the result with a superb save to ward off Mário Rui in added time, forcing the ball over the crossbar, before Mertens missed his shot.

The visitors had struck first in the 17th when Piotr Zielinski won the ball over Nicolo Barella, then recovered and ran forward to crush the ball from Lorenzo Insigne’s pass under the crossbar.


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