Antonio Conte claimed a milestone 100th win as a coach in Serie A, with Inter beating Napoli 3-1 at the Stadio San Paolo on Monday evening
A huge night for the Nerazzurri in their hunt for the Scudetto saw them pick up their first Serie A win in Naples since 1997, moving level on points with Juventus at the top of the table.
Romelu Lukaku’s brace saw him further extend his record for scoring in consecutive Serie A away games – 10 in nine outings – more than any other player in the three points for a win era, as he continues to impress.
Lautaro Martinez made sure of the win for Inter, after Arkadiusz Milik had pulled one back for the home side just before the break.
The game started hectically, flowing from an end-to-end with both sides fashioning early chances.
Firstly, Lorenzo Insigne’s cross was headed over by Milik after great movement from the Polish striker in the box as Gennaro Gattuso’s side looked to build on their win over Sassuolo before the winter break.
Lukaku saw an effort cleared off the line after brilliantly rounding Alex Meret with a few step-overs, but the Belgian was adjudged to be in an offside position.
Inter’s talisman then struck a right-footed effort straight down the throat of Meret, before Lautaro and Insigne smashed shots wide for Inter and Napoli, respectively.
The Belgian did hand Conte’s side the lead after capitilising on a Giovanni Di Lorenzo slip, once again leaving Elseid Hysaj on the deck with another Ronaldo-esque skill before firing in emphatically off the upright with his left foot.
Milik had the ball in the net for the home side but his joy was short lived as is was ruled out for a foul by Jose Callejon on Samir Handanovic.
A wonderful point-blank save from Meret denied Lautaro as Inter continued to look the more likely to score on the break. The Nerazzurri poured forward in numbers time-after-time with Di Lorenzo looking suspicious in an unfamiliar central defensive role.
Lukaku got his second of the game and 14th of the season, with a venomous effort which was calamitously fumbled into the net by Meret.
The Partenopei pulled one back through Milik on 39 minutes, after Callejon did superbly to knock Piotr Zielinski’s hooked cross back across the face of goal for the Polish striker to tap in.
Milik then wasted the chance to double his tally and pull the home side level, but he completely messed up an attempted header, only for the ball to drop harmlessly wide, coming off his shoulder.
After the break, the two sides were more settles and it was Napoli who looked the brighter as they tried to find the equaliser with the Stadio San Paolo growing increasingly restless.
However, it was Inter who got their third of the game, again capitalising in a Napoli error as Lautaro bagged his ninth of the season after Kostas Manolas failed to clear a Matias Vecino cross.
Insigne’s brilliantly executed free kick bounced off the crossbar as he tried to drag his side back into the game, but to no avail as Inter ran out winners.