MILAN – It was a thrilling encounter at the San Siro, with the visitors scoring twice, only to receive an immediate counterpunch from the Nerazzurri on both occasions. And once again, the Inter fans played their part to the fullest by urging the team on to make it a true group effort.
Obi sparked the game to life after five minutes with his shot from the right. Napoli were clearly struggling under Inter’s high-pressure approach, and on one occasion Britos was called into action to snuff out a Nerazzurri attack. On ten minutes Hernanes found Icardi, who attempted a first-time angled shot that Rafael did well to save for a corner. Icardi was still hungry though, and nearly notched the opener when he soared to meet Dodo’s cross, sending it narrowly off target.
Napoli were against the ropes and tried to respond when Hamsik tested Handanovic. In the 39th minute Hernanes showed a wonderful piece of skill by chesting the ball down before blasting it off the post. The first half ended with the fans struggling to catch their breath.
The second half began precisely how the first one ended: with the ball crashing off the woodwork once again, this time courtesy of Insigne. The Nerazzurri took off on a quick counter on 55 minutes with Hernanes serving Kovacic; the number 10 shot, only to see his effort blocked in the box. Then on 79 minutes Callejon capitalised on some indecision in the Inter box to put the ball beyond Handanovic and into the net. Napoli were ahead.
It felt like a sucker punch for the Nerazzurri, but they quickly showed they were capable of responding: Icardi headed Dodo’s corner to the far post, where the newly entered Guarin pounced to sidefoot the ball past a surprised Rafael. And the San Siro crowed roared their approval.
On 90 minutes Callejon struck again with a well-placed volley. And once again Inter showed they were still in it as Hernanes launched himself skyward to smash his header into the net for an injury-time equaliser. The San Siro erupted, the Prophet celebrated with his traditional somersault, and a thrilling encounter finished 2-2.
Inter 2-2 Napoli (HT: 1-1)
Scorers: Callejon 34, Guarin 37, Callejon 90, Hernanes 90+1.
Inter: 1 Handanovic; 23 Ranocchia, 15 Vidic, 5 Juan Jesus; 20 Obi (Mbaye 58), 88 Hernanes, 18 Medel (Guarin 81), 10 Kovacic, 22 Dodo; 8 Palacio (M’Vila 88), 9 Icardi.
Unused subs: 30 Carrizo, 46 Berni, 6 Andreolli, 17 Kuzmanovic, 44 Krhin, 97 Bonazzoli.
Coach: Walter Mazzarri.
Napoli: 1 Rafael; 5 Britos (Ghoulam 48), 33 Albiol, 26 Koulibaly, 18 Zuniga; 88 Inler, 19 Lopez; 7 Callejon, 17 Hamsik (Jorginho 62), 24 Insigne (Mertens 69); 9 Higuain.
Unused subs: 45 Andujar, 15 Colombo, 4 Henrique, 6 De Guzman, 11 Maggio, 16 Mesto, 21 Michu, 91 Zapata.
Coach: Rafael Benitez.
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Schio).
Booked: Hernanes 37, Britos 45, Higuain 70, Jorginho 73, Juan Jesus 84.
Sent off: Pecchia 70, Mazzarri 83.
Added time: 1 + 4 minutes.