Napoli dominated possession at San Siro, but Milan Skriniar had the best chance for Inter when his glancing header hit the upright, as Juventus go top.
Just like the stalemate at the Stadio San Paolo earlier this season, Luciano Spalletti managed to successfully neutralise Maurizio Sarri’s stylish football.
The Partenopei had to win in order to recapture top spot from Juventus, who beat Udinese this afternoon, and shake off the shock of last week’s 4-2 home defeat to Roma, but instead they are leapfrogged by the Bianconeri – who have a game in hand.
Marek Hamsik was back in the starting XI after suffering from flu, though Mauro Icardi made his comeback after six weeks out with a muscular problem and Rafinha was given the trequartista role.
Napoli had lost only one of their last 10 Serie A meetings with Inter, home and away, along with four draws. The lone victory was 2-0 at San Siro in April 2016. The hosts were particularly eager to win, as this weekend was the club’s 110th anniversary.
Mario Rui made costly errors against Roma and almost had another in the opening minutes, caught in possession by Antonio Candreva.
Napoli kept the ball for long periods, trying to prise open the Inter defence, but Hamsik’s finish was weak on a Jose Callejon knock-down and Milan Skriniar timed his tackle perfectly on Lorenzo Insigne.
Antonio Candreva curled just wide of the far post from the edge of the area, though Roberto Gagliardini was perhaps fortunate to only get a yellow card for his studs-up tackle on Dries Mertens.
Straight after the restart, Inter rattled the woodwork, as Joao Cancelo’s free kick found a glancing Skriniar header that bounced off the far post with Pepe Reina beaten.
Insigne’s trademark right-foot curler flashed just wide, then Kalidou Koulibaly almost turned a Candreva cross into his own net.
Napoli should’ve taken the lead on 67 minutes when Insigne burst through the middle, but rather than smash it, he opted for a delicate chip over Samir Handanovic and it landed on the roof of the net.
Eder wasted a golden opportunity on the counter with a poor first touch, but moments later Mertens blasted wide and Eder fired straight at Reina.
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