Napoli closer to national title again with win over Lecce, baaldag Milan and Inter
Serie A leader Napoli won 2-1 at low-flyer Lecce in the hunt for its first league title since 1990 (then with Diego Maradona).
The lead over number two Lazio Roma is nineteen points with nine games to go. Lazio does still have a match remaining.
Another points loss to Inter
Earlier in the day, with Stefan de Vrij and Denzel Dumfries in the starting line-up, Internazionale played a disappointing 1-1 draw at number fifteen Salernitana. It is already the fourth points loss in a row for the Milan club after defeats against Spezia, Juventus and Fiorentina.
In Italy, the main question was whether frontrunners Napoli could recover from last week’s 4-0 home defeat against AC Milan and whether they could score easily without top scorer Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian already stands at 21 goals, but is out for the time being.
Clumsy own goal nails Lecce
Without Osimhen, Napoli took the lead in the eighteenth minute through a crisp header by right back Giovanni Di Lorenzo. Napoli did not really press in Lecce, a place in the heel of the boot, and just after halftime Lecce took advantage. Federico Di Francesco got the ball back off the crossbar, was allowed to turn in Napoli’s sixteen and shot low inside: 1-1. It was already his sixteenth goal of the season.
Napoli seemed upset for a moment but had all the luck in the world in the 65th minute with an own goal by Lecce. Antonino Gallo received a cross unhappily on the body, goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone did not expect it and let the ball slip through his hands tamely: 1-2.
De Vrij wore the captain’s armband at Inter due to the absence of the first four (!) captains, while in recent weeks he more often does not start in the base than he does. At opponent Salernitana, Tonny Vilhena started in midfield.
Mexican World Cup hero stands in Inter’s way
Already in the sixth minute, former Heracles Almelo player Robin Gosens broke the spell for Inter after a passed ball from Romelu Lukaku. With inside foot, German international Gosens shot the ball in, behind Mexican veteran Guillermo Ochoa.
The 37-year-old goalkeeper, who participated in no less than five World Cups on behalf of Mexico, landed back in Europe after three years at home with Salernitana this season.
Despite many chances for Inter, and a ball on the crossbar by Salernitana, it remained exciting until the end. In the 90th minute, the misses cost Inter dearly.
Former Ajacied André Onana, currently first goalkeeper at Inter, misjudged a cross from Antonio Candreva, hurting his old team in the process: 1-1. In four minutes of injury time, Inter did not manage to avoid their fourth consecutive point loss.
Milan plays a draw
Whereas Napoli straightened its back after the 4-0 home defeat against AC Milan, five days later the same Milan could not win at home against Empoli. At San Siro, it came no further than 0-0 against the number fourteen.
Olivier Giroud, France’s all-time top scorer after the last World Cup, thought he had made 1-0 for Milan a minute before time during a siege of the Empoli goal, but he hit the ball with his arm before scoring.