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Post-Match Recap: Napoli 4-2 Inter

The Nerazzurri fell to fifth place following their disappointing loss to Napoli at the San Paolo...

Giuseppe Bellini

It wasn't supposed to be like this ladies and gents. A new era was supposed to dawn upon the club but as we found out tonight the more things change, the more they stay the same at Inter.

Things did not go as planned early on as a lazy clearance allowed Napoli to open the scoring, which was the last thing we wanted to happen in an emotional encounter such as this.

Yuto Nagatomo directed his header straight into the path of Gonzalo Higuain, who volleyed past Samir Handanovic to start the first-half goal parade for the Partenopei.

Napoli almost doubled its lead in the 25th minute but Lorenzo Insigne's effort caromed off the crossbar with Handanovic well beaten.

Fredy Guarin played well it must be said although you might imagine his display was meant to impress his Premier League suitors, who will be vying for his attention in January. That may be a bit cynical I admit but that doesn't mean it's not true.

Anyways, the Colombian played a major role in Inter's equalizer with a low cross that Rodrigo Palacio let run to Ricky Alvarez, who swept the ball to Esteban Cambiasso and 'El Cuchu' made no mistake from close range.

The Nerazzurri's joy was short lived though as Dries Mertens took the ball off the foot of his own teammate before blasting past Handanovic to make it 2-1 in the 39th minute.

Things went from bad to worse mere moments later when Hugo Campagnaro tried to beat three players leading to a Napoli counter that culminated in Blerim Dzemaili pouncing on a loose ball, while the Inter defenders stood around, to score the easiest of goals.

Inter clawed one back on the cusp of halftime when Nagatomo tapped in at the far post after a mistake from Rafael. Suddenly it was game on and as shambolic as our defending was in the first 45 minutes we were still hanging around going into the second stanza.

And maybe that was the problem. Napoli should have been clear and dry but weren't and that's when our dear friend Paolo Tagliavento decided to rectify that problem.

TB warned me earlier this week that Tagliavento would be up to his old tricks and he certainly was as he gave Ricky Alavrez his marching orders for an innocuous looking handball.

Inter had gone close to leveling matters in the 66th minute when Palacio's delicious cross was met by Guarin who couldn't lift the ball past Rafael and maybe that was the last straw for Tagliavento.

Tagliavento is like the traffic cop who hands out speeding tickets to motorists driving one kilometre or mile over the speed limit. Technically it's the letter of the law but some common sense would go along way in these types of situations and help alleviate suspicions of a money grab.

So instead of a riveting finish in a high-stakes affair with major bragging rights and compelling story lines attached to it we were subjected to an inevitable conclusion. Same old Italy unfortunately.

Tagliavento wasn't the reason why the Nerazzurri conceded three goals in the first half but he ensured there would be no way back following his harsh decision.

Imter were down to 10 men and it was only a matter of time before it conceded the fourth and it was Jose Callejon who did the honors by tapping into an open net in the 81st minute.

And just like that our eight-game unbeaten run came to a screeching halt and we now find ourselves seven points behind Napoli in the race for the last Champions League spot.

Not only that but we are 15 points behind Juventus at the top of the table with our old foes Milan on deck. For the second straight year we are limping into the Christmas break so please excuse me for acting like a Scrooge during the holiday season. Bah! Humbug!