It was an entertaining match between Napoli and Inter at the Diego Armando Maradona as both sides played to a 1-1 draw. Napoli opened the score near half time with Lorenzo Insigne hitting the target from a difficult angle. Inter goalkeeper, Samir Handanovic, did a poor job in making the save as he mishandled the ball and this led to an own goal.
Napoli looked as if they were going to cruise to a victory, however, Inter tied the match right before the hour mark. Achraf Hakimi executed a perfect run down the right flank to beat out his man for the ball and delivered an accurate cross into the goal area. On the ensuing play, Matteo Darmian’s pass into the goal area was cut off by Kostas Manolas, yet was redirected towards an open area outside the Napoli box. Christian Eriksen made his run and delivered a power shot past Napoli goalkeeper, Alex Meret, who had a minimal chance of making the save.
Inter and Napoli came close to scoring a second goal in this match as both sides combined for three posts. A well-deserved point for both sides, who both played well in this contest. Inter inch closer to a Scudetto while Napoli remain within distance of fourth place.
So, who were the winners and losers from Inter’s 1-1 draw versus Napoli?
Winner: Romelu Lukaku
Although Romelu Lukaku didn’t register a goal for his side, he was effective throughout the match. He was strong with his hold up play which allowed Inter to be successful on counter-attacks against Napoli on multiple occasions. He was physical at both ends of the pitch, made key passes and created chances. While Lukaku was able to beat Meret on two occasions, he was denied by the post.
Lukaku continues to be Inter’s most dominant player this season. Even when he doesn’t score for his side, he’s able to contribute in other ways. The striker had a difficult task playing against Kalidou Koulibaly, where on a few plays he managed to break free of the Napoli defender. Nonetheless, it was a great battle between the two players.
Lukaku finished the match two key passes, one aerial duel won, three successful dribbles and three fouls won. Another great performance from the Belgian this season.
Loser: Samir Handanovic
Over the past few months, one of Inter’s best players has been Handanovic, who has made key saves and bailed his side out in difficult situations. That was not the case versus Napoli as the Slovenian wasn’t playing at his best. Napoli’s opening goal came from an own goal by Handanovic, who did a poor job making the save on Insigne. It redirected off the goalkeeper and into the back of the goal. There was a bit of bad luck as Inter defender, Stefan De Vrij, collided into him and forced the ball into the net. Regardless, it was a save that the Inter goalkeeper should have made easily with no rebounds.
Late in the second half, Handanovic was beaten by Matteo Politano as the Italian struck the post with a powerful shot. He was fortunate enough to not surrender a second goal in this match. He looked shaky and frantic at times where he mismanaged the ball or mistimed his jumps. It was a rare poor performance from the Inter goalkeeper but his side managed to help him out.
Loser: Piotr Zielinski
It was a mediocre performance from Piotr Zielinski versus Inter. The midfielder struggled to get involved in this match as he was limited to the second fewest touches after Victor Osimhen with 43. He was unable to contribute in Napoli’s attack as he lost key battles and turned the ball over on a few occasions. When scoring chances came his way, he failed to be decisive and convert when he needed to.
Zielinski was caught out of position at times and wasn’t effective with his passing. Inter’s midfield and defense deserve credit as they allowed him little space and time to create chances. He was dispossessed twice, didn’t register a key pass and second fewest passes among starters with 35.
Winner: Kostas Manolas
It has been a difficult season for Manolas, who has been in and out of the lineup due to injuries. The Napoli defender hasn’t performed up to his standards this year as he’s shown to be inconsistent and poor at times.
Recently returning from injury, he made his third straight start for Napoli and is starting to show good form. He had one of his best matches this season versus Inter as he stepped up in the backend. He was physical and made strong tackles and timely challenges. In the last play of the game, he made a key tackle on Hakimi to cut off a pass and prevent Inter from scoring. The Napoli defender finished with five clearances, one interception and one tackle.
Manolas is starting to look more like the player he was at Roma. These are encouraging signs for Napoli as Amir Rrahmani and Nikola Maksimovic have struggled in the backend for Napoli. Both players have been inconsistent this season and if Manolas continues to play the way he is right now, it will go a long way to help them finish in the top four.
Winner: Stefan De Vri
It was an impressive performance from De Vrij, who led the way in the backend for Inter. He stepped up on multiple occasions for his side but his best moment came late in the second half. With the game tied 1-1, he made a key challenge on Zielinski inside the goal area to strip the ball from him. The Napoli midfielder was in a good position to score yet De Vrij made a good recovery.
Throughout the course of the match, he made key challenges and blocks that prevented Napoli from scoring. He finished with two clearances, one interception and one tackle. Napoli were strong on the attack and created quality scoring chances, yet Inter’s backend rose to the challenge to preserve the draw.