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Coppa Italia: Napoli Giving Inter the Blues

Napoli vs Inter Milan

The Partenopei may have taken the first leg of their semifinals clash in the Coppa Italia, but expect the Nerazzurri to try and bounce back on Friday.

Despite dominating possession in the previous match, Inter Milan weren’t able to take advantage of their opportunities down the stretch, and it didn’t help when their defence couldn’t stop Fabian Ruiz from scoring the only goal of the evening.

Napoli have been in fine form since mid-February as they picked up three wins in the last few Serie A match days while holding Barcelona to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Champions League knockout phase.

Meanwhile, Inter Milan have been lacklustre recently. They lost to Lazio in their last match and they slipped to the third spot after leading momentarily in the standings few months ago.

The winner of this semis clash will get to face either AC Milan or Juventus in the finals. Besides this article, SBOTOP fans can check out the preview of the other side of the bracket here in the link for your full coverage of the Coppa Italia.

 

Talking Points

Napoli’s impressive form

Team manager Gennaro Gattuso may be on to something here for Napoli as they have been in dangerous form as of late.

After an unlikely setback against Lecce at the start of February, the Partenopei kicked things up a notch when they have defeated the likes of Cagliari, Brescia, Torino, and Inter during the first leg while drawing level against Barcelona in the Champions League.

While most would point out that they had an easy schedule, their defence has been their main calling card in their unblemished run. Napoli recorded two clean sheets while they limited their other opponents to only one goal in the last three matches.

Despite missing the services of their star defender in Kalidou Koulibaly, who is expected to miss more time due to a troublesome hip, Napoli’s defence has been solid because of their players stepping up to the challenge.

Nikola Maksimovic and Kostas Manolas have provided the necessary toughness and grit to fortify their backline while Lorenzo Insigne and Fabian Ruiz are contributing goals in lieu of Arkadiusz Milik’s absence.

Those aforementioned star players are expected to miss more time on the sidelines, which means that Gennaro Gattuso and his healthy players would have to continue their exemplary performance in order to boost their Coppa Italia 2020 chance of making it to the finals.

Since they’ve won 1-0 in the first leg against Inter, a draw or a win will guarantee their ticket to the finals. So warding off complacency will be the key for them come Friday.

Inter Milan find themselves slipping

Antonio Conte’s side will have their work cut out for them if they plan on advancing to the finals of the Coppa Italia and break out of their mini-slump overall.

Antonio Conte's side aim to reach the Coppa Italia finals
Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte wary of Napoli threat ahead of Coppa Italia semi-final second leg

In Serie A, they are now trailing the likes of Juventus and new table leaders in Lazio who have 60 and 62 points respectively. Since their match against Juventus was cancelled due to the coronavirus scare, the Nerazzurri stood pat at 54 points.

While their chance of winning the Serie A title looks to be slimmer than ever, perhaps they could try to bring home a piece of hardware in the Coppa Italia as the perfect consolation.

Facing a 0-1 deficit after the first leg, Inter Milan would need to have all hands on deck to overcome their slumping form. But it’s a good thing that they have multiple star players at their disposal.

They have two of Serie A’s top scorers in Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez who are capable of catching fire at any given time while producing some of the best Coppa Italia 2020 highlights. At the same time, Alexis Sanchez and Christian Eriksen will provide support upfront.

Daniele Padelli is expected to man the goal post while Diego Godin should be a reliable defensive force since Victor Moses is not expected to play on Friday.

 

History

Inter Milan hold the advantage in terms of their head-to-heads with Napoli as they’ve won 68 while Napoli win 49 times in their 157 total meetings. The other 40 matches have been draws.

Napoli’s last Coppa Italia championship dates back to 2014 while Inter’s previous win in the competition dates back to 2011.

 

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