Leaders Inter Milan held by reigning champions Napoli

By Sports Desk March 17, 2024

Runaway Serie A leaders Inter Milan were held to a 1-1 draw by reigning champions Napoli at the San Siro.

It is the first time Simone Inzaghi’s side have dropped points in 2024 as Juan Jesus’ late goal against his former club cancelled out Matteo Darmian’s opener to secure a point for Napoli.

It has been a week to forget for Inter, who were knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid in midweek, during what is a fine domestic league campaign.

Marcus Thuram had the first clear-cut chance of the game but Jesus was on hand to make the block.

Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret then somehow kept the score level with a quick-fire double save, pushing away a Darmian header before clambering up and keeping out Lautaro Martinez on the rebound.

Inter were not at their fluent best and Hamed Traore could have punished them but headed wide as the visitors looked to take a half-time lead.

Instead, they were caught out just moments later as Darmian tucked home from inside the box for his second goal of the campaign.

After the break, Martinez stung the palms of Meret early in the second half before fluffing his lines with another opportunity shortly afterwards.

Napoli, though, with leading goalscorer Victor Osimhen watching on from the substitutes’ bench, started to enjoy more of the ball and push for an equaliser.

Despite having more possession, the champions – who sit seventh in the table following a dismal defence of their title – struggled to create chances.

That was until they were gifted a corner which Matteo Politano sent into the middle and Inter’s Alessandro Bastoni could only flick into the direction of Jesus, unmarked at the back post to turn home.

Neither side could muster a winning goal as Inter’s lead at the top of the table now sits at 14 points, with rivals AC Milan the closest of the challenging pack.

The point does little to help Napoli’s prospects of qualifying for the Champions League as they still have to make up a nine-point gap to the top four.

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