An Edin Dzeko header was enough for Inter to beat Napoli 1-0 at San Siro on Wednesday and end the Serie A leaders’ unbeaten start to the season.
After their closest challengers Milan beat Salernitana away earlier the same day, Napoli’s lead at the top was cut to five points as the Partenopei began 2023 in underwhelming fashion.
Inter were unfortunate not to be ahead at the break after Federico Dimarco and Romelu Lukaku missed great first-half opportunities.
But Dzeko powerfully nodded home the winner 10 minutes after half-time, as Inter remain in fourth but crucially move within eight points of Napoli at the summit in their bid to chase Luciano Spalletti’s side down.
20 – Edin Dzeko has scored 20 Serie A goals for Inter, each of them after turning 35: all the other Inter players who have found the net at 35+ years old in the competition have scored 19 in total. Endless.#InterNapoli #SerieA pic.twitter.com/cQMQiLPIfp
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) January 4, 2023
Inter should have been ahead within four minutes, but Dimarco could only fire over after Lukaku picked him out at the back post.
Dimarco’s fellow wing-back could not do any better, Matteo Darmian failing to hit the target after excellent link-up play between Lukaku and Dzeko set him up.
Lukaku missed a golden opportunity before the break, latching onto a throughball but wildly firing over as Inter failed to take advantage of their superior chances in the opening 45 minutes.
But they eventually capitalised in the 56th minute when Dimarco’s pinpoint delivery from the left found Dzeko in space to power a header past Alex Meret.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia nearly got a rapid equaliser as he slammed into the side-netting.
The visitors pushed for an equaliser late on, but Inter held out despite Giacomo Raspadori stinging the palms of Andre Onana with a fierce effort in the dying seconds.
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