Late goals from Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Gianluca Gaetano guided Serie A champions Napoli to a 3-1 win over 10-man Inter, denting the Nerazzurri’s bid for a top-four finish.
Simone Inzaghi named a much-changed team with one eye on Wednesday’s Coppa Italia final against Fiorentina, and Inter’s task was made more difficult when Roberto Gagliardini was dismissed after picking up two first-half bookings.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa broke Inter’s resistance when he fired home on the turn, but Romelu Lukaku looked to have stolen a point with a close-range finish eight minutes from time.
Napoli were determined to continue their Scudetto celebrations with another win, however, Di Lorenzo firing into the top-left corner before Gaetano struck on the break to leave Inter vulnerable in the top-four battle.
96’ | #NapoliInter 3-1
— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) May 21, 2023
Anguissa volleyed wide of Andre Onana’s post as Inter sat back early on, before Victor Osimhen miscued an overhead kick after 33 minutes.
Napoli gained the numerical advantage as half-time approached. Having escaped a second yellow card for a late lunge on Di Lorenzo, Gagliardini clattered Anguissa from behind and left the referee no choice but to hand him his marching orders.
Di Lorenzo tested Onana from a tight angle after the interval, before the goalkeeper was at full stretch to tip Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s curling effort away with 66 minutes gone.
However, Onana was unable to keep out Anguissa’s shot on the turn one minute later, getting a glove to the ball before it bounced into the top-right corner.
Inter thought they had snatched a crucial point in their bid for Champions League qualification when Lukaku prodded Federico Dimarco’s cross home, but Napoli would not be denied.
Di Lorenzo restored their lead with five minutes remaining by bending a brilliant left-footed effort into the top-left corner, before substitute Gaetano finished matters in stoppage time with his first Partenopei goal.
What does it mean? Inter’s fate in the balance
Milan’s resounding 5-1 win over Sampdoria on Saturday saw them move within two points of Inter in the Serie A standings, raising the prospect of this season’s Champions League finalists missing out on qualification for next term.
Having looked likely to snatch a point when Lukaku levelled, Inter saw their seven-match winning streak halted by Napoli’s late double.
With the Nerazzurri boasting a slender lead over their city rivals with two games of the campaign remaining, any further slip-ups could prove costly.
Clean sweep for Napoli
Napoli have been able to bask in the glory of a first Scudetto for 33 years since capturing the title on May 4.
However, there was history to be made on Sunday, and Luciano Spalletti’s men did exactly that. Their victory means they have beaten all 19 Serie A opponents in a single campaign for the very first time.
Lukaku’s efforts in vain
While it ultimately meant little as Inter left Naples empty-handed, Lukaku’s goal was his sixth in Serie A since the start of April, the joint-most of any player in that period alongside team-mate Lautaro Martinez.
With finals against Fiorentina and Manchester City to come, Inzaghi will hope his forwards can maintain their excellent form for a few more weeks.
Key Opta facts
- Napoli have won nine games against the teams currently occupying Serie A’s top seven positions this season, more than any other side in the competition
- The Scudetto winners have won their last two home games in Serie A, having only managed one victory in their previous five (drawn two, lost two)
- By assisting Anguissa’s opener, Piotr Zielinski reached 11 goal involvements in Serie A this season (three goals, eight assists), matching his tally from 2021-22 (six goals, five assists)
- Gagliardini’s red card is his first in Serie A, arriving in the midfielder’s 169th appearance in the competition
- Di Lorenzo’s goal was Napoli’s first from outside the box in Serie A since August 21, 2022 (Kvaratskhelia v Monza)
Inter face Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia final at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday. Napoli, meanwhile, face their final road trip of the Serie A season when they go to Bologna on Sunday.
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