The changing of the guard on the boot continues to take shape. At the end of the 14th Serie A matchday, the strong league leaders Inter Milan scored some great goals to beat the reigning champions Napoli 3-0. The lead grew to eleven points – and the stadium curse was conquered.
For those who watched the Derby d’Italia live on the 13th Serie A matchday, this 14th round late on Sunday was eye-opening. In contrast to the largely tranquil duel between championship contenders Juventus and Inter (1:1), this time there was plenty on offer in the comparison between reigning champions Napoli and the previous league leaders from Milan.
Both sides dominated the opening 45 minutes from the outset, running the ball around and showing their class in one-on-one situations and with final passes. However, the southern Italians had the clear advantage in terms of chances: Elmas immediately tested the reaction of Sommer, who made a strong save (3rd minute), before Elmas challenged the former Gladbach and Munich player again (19th) and the advanced Rrahmani was just blocked (23rd).
Politano is unlucky, Calhanoglu has power
But Politano had to be the most annoyed in the Campania camp, firing the ball against the top left of the crossbar with a great finish in the 36th minute.
The Neapolitans really had reason to be annoyed – and again in the 44th minute. Here, the Inter team, who had only managed to get as close to the Neapolitan box as a narrow offside goal from Thuram (12′) and two dangerous finishes from Lautaro Martinez (27′, 39′), suddenly made it 1-0. After a clever and, above all, half-blind pass from Dimarco into the back of the SSC defense, the onrushing Calhanoglu thundered the ball into the bottom left corner (44′).
Napoli only suffer in the end
This goal carried weight – and did not allow the home side to really get back on their feet that evening. Instead, Milan took control after the break with clever defensive work and constant pinpricks – in true front-runner style.
And, above all, garnished with another spectacular goal to make it 2:0 (61′). Lautaro Martinez was played free on the left during an attack, broke away cleverly and passed superbly centrally to Barella, who ran in. The technically adept midfielder finished off the ball at top speed, skipped past Östigard and Natan with a hook and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner at top speed
without a trace of humor.
This magnificent solo run of a few meters was the sporting end for Napoli on this evening, even though Kvaratskhelia (58), Osimhen (69) and Osimhen again (81) created danger. But it was jinxed. Either the strong Sommer stood in the way – or they simply didn’t finish accurately enough to achieve a goal of their own.
At the very end, the increasingly silent crowd at the Diego Armando Maradona (previously San Paolo), where FC Internazionale had only won one of 17 games since October 19, 1997 (2-0) (January 6, 2020 with a 3-1 win under former coach Antonio Conte), even had to suffer again. Barella played in joker Cuadrado on the right wing, who passed inside – and Thuram coolly slotted home for the final 3:0 (85′).
While the Nerazzurri thus defended their lead at the top of the table ahead of their constant pursuers Juventus, the reigning champions from Naples slipped to fifth place behind the up-and-coming Roma (2:1 after 0:1 at Sassuolo) – and now also have an eleven-point gap to Inter to digest