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  • Writer's pictureBruno Asoka

Džeko's header floors Napoli to their first Serie A loss

With a spirited 1-0 victory at the San Siro, Inter Milan handed Napoli its first loss in Serie A this year. Azzurri's loss was their first in 20 league games, and it has cut their lead at the top of the standings to to five points.

Napoli was unable to handle Inter Milan in the opening minutes of the first half due to the Italian team's remarkable zeal and aggression. Despite their excellent forward play and intense pressure, Inter were wasteful in front of goal as Romelu Lukaku and Federico Dimarco both squandered excellent opportunities to score. The visitors didn't begin to take control of the game until halfway through the first half, and even then they appeared rusty, perhaps as a result of the World Cup break, whilst Inter appeared more fit and alert.

The host of chances continued for the home side as a well worked team move which saw Lukaku crossing the ball to strike-partner Edin Džeko, who laid the ball off to Matteo Darmian but the full-back scuffed his effort over the bar. Lukaku was played through right before HT by Nicolò Barella, but as was the theme of the half, his effort went whiskers over the bar. Napoli would have been grateful to see HT with their clean sheet intact, whereas Simone Inzaghi would have been frustrated with his side’s finishing.

After 10 minutes, a brilliant Dimarco cross was met by a thunderous Džeko header, giving Inter the lead they rightly earned. Even after falling behind by one goal, Inter maintained control of the tempo. Luciano Spaletti's team appeared to be a shell of the Napoli that swept the league before the Winter break.

Napoli battled for every ball knowing how crucial the victory would be, but they were unable to penetrate the Inter defense, which dealt with everything thrown their way. In the end, the Nerazzurri hung on to secure the crucial victory as the visiting team was unable to seriously threaten to equalize. After winning, Inzaghi's team moves back into the title battle because they are currently eight points behind Napoli, who still have a five-point lead over AC Milan in second place.

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