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Coppa Italia: Napoli Out to Spoil Inter’s Double Dream

Inter Milan vs Napoli

It’s all going Inter Milan’s way at the moment. The Nerazzurri are now back in the lead in Serie A after a big 4-2 win over rivals AC Milan in the derby. Meanwhile, they also remain in contention for the double as they’re still alive in the Coppa Italia.

Inter will look to take another step toward that double as they host Napoli at the San Siro for the first leg of their semi-final tie.

Napoli’s recent winning run finally came to an end over the weekend as they suffered a shock defeat to Lecce.

But while Gennaro Gattuso’s men will be underdogs according to the Coppa Italia 2020 predictions, they still possess more than enough quality to pull off a big upset at the San Siro.

 

Talking Points

Inter regaining winning touch

After a recent string of draws, Inter appear to have rediscovered the winning formula. They’ve now three matches on the bounce after their thrilling 4-2 win against AC Milan in the derby.

They were seemingly headed toward their first defeat in 16 Serie A matches against Milan as they fell behind 2-0 in the first half. But they staged a stirring second-half comeback to claim all three points, which sent them to the top of the table by goal difference after Juventus’ shock defeat to Verona.

It’s perhaps not a coincidence that their return to form has aligned perfectly with Romelu Lukaku rediscovering his scoring touch.

The Belgian put the finishing touches in the win against Milan with a stoppage-time goal, his 17th in Serie A. Inter have won all but two of the 14 league games where Lukaku has scored this season.

Which team will win between Inter Milan and Napoli in the  Coppa Italia semi-finals
                                           Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring in Derby della Madonnina against AC Milan

It’s also very encouraging for Inter that other players apart from Lukaku and strike partner Lautaro Martinez are chipping in with goals. Midfielders Antonio Candreva, Matias Vecino, Marcelo Brozovic, and Nicolo Barella have all found the net during their recent winning run.

Manager Antonio Conte also has a couple more options in attack with Alexis Sanchez and new signing Christian Eriksen.

Their defence isn’t quite as good as Conte would prefer; they’ve kept just two clean sheets in their last eight matches in all competitions. But they still have the best defensive record in the league with only 20 goals conceded.

 

Napoli revival suffers setback

After a rough start to his spell as Napoli boss, Gennaro Gattuso had seemingly steadied the ship in Naples with three wins on the bounce. That included huge wins over Lazio in the cup and Juventus in the league.

However, that impressive run finally came to an end over the weekend with a shock 2-3 defeat at home against relegation-threatened Lecce.

Gattuso has shaken up his midfield in recent matches, with new signings Stanislav Lobotka and Diego Demme — both defensive midfielders — taking up prominent roles.

Veteran Allan hasn’t started since their 0-2 loss to Fiorentina on Jan. 18. Meanwhile, Fabian Ruiz hasn’t featured in the last two games.

The two both started in their first meeting against Inter back in December, but it remains to be seen if they will be included this time around.

Lorenzo Insigne has been responsible for most of Napoli’s Coppa Italia 2020 highlights, as he’s scored all three of the team’s goals thus far in the tournament.

But Arkadiusz Milik has been in fine form and will be a major goal threat. The Polish striker has struck in his last two matches on the bounce and also scored Napoli’s goal in their 3-1 defeat to Inter earlier in the year.

 

History

The Napoli-Inter matchup has been quite a competitive one for some time now. Since 1993, the two sides have played each other 41 times. Inter hold a slight edge in wins, 17-15, while there have been nine draws.

It’s been much of the same in their last 13 encounters. Napoli hold a slight 5-4 advantage in terms of wins, with four draws.

However, Inter came out on top in their first league meeting back in January. A first-half brace from Lukaku sent the Nerazzurri on their way to a 3-1 victory. That was Inter’s first win at the San Paolo since 2016, which was in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia.

 

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