NEWS
Wednesday February 12 2020
Coppa: Napoli stun Inter in semi-final

Napoli earned a shock first leg Coppa Italia semi-final victory over Inter at San Siro, thanks to a deflected Fabian Ruiz left-foot curler.

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The second leg of this semi-final will be at the San Paolo on March 5, with Milan and Juventus in the other semi.

Lorenzo Insigne and Kalidou Koulibaly weren’t fit to start, with Elseid Hysaj suspended, so Eljif Elmas joined Dries Mertens in the trident attack. The Nerazzurri welcomed Lautaro Martinez back after his two-match Serie A ban, with Stefano Sensi in midfield, but Sebastiano Esposito and Samir Handanovic were injured.

Mertens fired over the bar from the edge of the box, while Lautaro Martinez nodded over, but Daniele Padelli mistimed his punch on a cross and risked an own goal.

Cristiano Biraghi’s free kick bent wide, then Padelli just got his fingertips to a dangerous Elmas cross. Napoli had the best chance of the half in stoppages, as a well-worked team move saw Mertens spread the play down the right for Piotr Zielinski, whose shot was crucially deflected by Padelli’s arm as he came rushing out. The deflection took it on to Stefan de Vrij’s hand, but it was in a natural position.

Danilo D’Ambrosio came on for the second half and Romelu Lukaku couldn’t get enough power on the header from his cross to surprise Ospina.

Despite Inter keeping the ball for long periods, Napoli were again more clinical in front of goal. Fabian Ruiz cut inside from the edge of the area for a left-foot curler that took a slight deflection off Nicolò Barella to curl into the far top corner.

Christian Eriksen came off the bench and blasted off target, then there was chaos in the Napoli six-yard box when Lautaro Martinez pulled back for Lukaku, it pinballed around and Ospina was somehow eventually able to smother.

Eriksen saw his strike deflected wide and D’Ambrosio went down far too dramatically when he felt an Elmas hand on his back. D'Ambrosio also had the last chance of the game, as Mario Rui did just enough to put him off, allowing Ospina to smother at his feet.

Inter had been unbeaten in 10 competitive games and lost only once this season to Italian opposition, Juventus in Serie A. After knocking holders Lazio out of the quarter-finals, Napoli took another surprising scalp, even if the second leg remains open.

Inter 0-1 Napoli

Fabian Ruiz 57 (N)

Inter: Padelli; Skriniar (D’Ambrosio 46), De Vrij, Bastoni; Moses (Alexis Sanchez 74), Barella, Brozovic, Sensi (Eriksen 65), Biraghi; Lautaro Martinez, R Lukaku

Napoli: Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Maksimovic, Mario Rui; Fabian Ruiz, Demme, Zielinski (Allan 83); Callejon (Politano 78), Mertens (Milik 73), Elmas

Ref: Calvarese

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