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Inter Milan 2-0 Napoli: 5 Talking Points as Nerazzurri close in on a top-two finish

Lautaro Martinez scored as Inter won 2-0 against Napoli.
Lautaro Martinez scored as Inter won 2-0 against Napoli.
Modified 29 Jul 2020, 04:06 IST

Inter Milan put themselves in pole position to finish second in Serie A after a 2-0 win over Napoli at San Siro on Tuesday night.

Inter Milan were far from their best, but it proved to be enough as an early goal from Danilo D'Ambrosio was followed by Lautaro Martinez's strike midway through the second half to ensure all three points for Antonio Conte's side.

The win means Inter go into the final matchday of the 2019-20 Serie A season, against Atalanta in Bergamo, a point ahead of their opponents. A draw in that game will be enough to secure a second-placed finish for Inter Milan in Antonio Conte's first season back in his homeland.

Inter went into the game against Napoli with seven changes from the side that beat Genoa 3-0 on Saturday, with Samir Handanovic, Cristiano Biraghi, Marcelo Brozovic and Romelu Lukaku the only players to start both games.

Napoli made six changes as well, with Lorenzo Insigne, Elseid Hysaj, Kalidou Koulibaly, Piotr Zielinski and Arkadiusz Milik surviving the cull from the 2-0 win over Sassuolo in the weekend.

On that note, let us have a look at five talking points in the game between Inter Milan and Napoli.

Five talking points in the 2019-20 Serie A game between Inter Milan and Napoli:

#1: Inter Milan's overlapping centre-halves - The good and the bad

Alessandro Bastoni (left) had another strong showing at the heart of the Inter Milan defence.
Alessandro Bastoni (left) had another strong showing at the heart of the Inter Milan defence.

With both Milan Skriniar and Diego Godin on the bench for Antonio Conte's Inter Milan, Danilo D'Ambrosio and young Alessandro Bastoni started as the wide centre-halves in a back-three, with Stefan de Vrij playing in the middle.

Bastoni and D'Ambrosio both made a significant impact in the game, especially in the first half. The duo ventured high up the pitch to support Cristiano Biraghi and Antonio Candreva, who started as the full-backs for Inter Milan, which was a massive aspect of the home side's game plan.

Inter Milan opened the scoring when Biraghi and Bastoni combined devastatingly on the right flank. Biraghi got to the touchline and cut the ball back for D'Ambrosio to sweep home a smart left-footed finish past the Napoli custodian Alex Meret.

But after half-time, Napoli made a smart switch, with their two full-backs - Elseid Hysaj and Mario Rui - tucking in. The visiting wide players - Lorenzo Insigne and Matteo Politano - stayed high and wide up the pitch to keep the Inter Milan wing-backs and centre-backs in their positions.

During this period, Napoli were able to match Inter Milan's numbers up the field, which meant that the likes of Bastoni and D'Ambrosio were pinned back.

Eventually Conte was forced to make a change: D'Ambrosio moved into a wing-back role and Godin came on at centre-back to soak up the pressure from Napoli.

#2: Inter Milan lacked athleticism in midfield

Marcelo Brozovic was at the heart of an Inter Milan midfield that tended to get outrun.
Marcelo Brozovic was at the heart of an Inter Milan midfield that tended to get outrun.

Without the likes of Matias Vecino and Stefano Sensi from the start, there was a distinct sense that the Inter Milan midfield could be overpowered by a side that could move the ball around swiftly.

After a lethargic start to the game, Napoli sensed an opportunity in that area of the field, especially after the first-half cooling break.

It seemed like Gennaro Gattuso insisted on aggression in the Napoli midfield. The visitors harried and closed down the Inter midfield a lot quicker than they had done previously in the game.

All three of Marcelo Brozovic, Nicolo Barella and Borja Valero are superb technicians with the ball at their feet, but not quite the most agile when it comes to covering ground sharply.

Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas got on the ball more often and drove Napoli forward, with Diego Demme sitting deep and allowing the other two to move forward and link with the likes of Insigne and Politano.

In the end, however, the move paid little dividends as Napoli lost steam after the break before eventually getting hit by a sucker punch from Lautaro Martinez straight after the second-half cooling break.

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Published 29 Jul 2020, 04:06 IST
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