At Stadio San Paolo,  Inter were expected to overcome the Napoli threat and longhorns with Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus for the Coppa Italia final and in fact, the match went according to the script.

Fabian Ruiz’s goal at San Siro in the first leg prior to the coronavirus outbreak had put Napoli in control of the semi-final tie at the halfway stage, only for Inter to erase the deficit inside two minutes of the second leg.

Christian Eriksen’s curling corner slipped beyond the players gathered at the front post and also David Ospina, quickly leveling the tie.

However, Napoli’s goalkeeper overcame the early embarrassment to play a key role in helping his side progress in the competition.

Ospina made key saves, which denied Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Candreva before setting up the equalizer late in the first half.

A well-directed clearance from Ospina triggered a swift counterattacking move that left Inter at bay.

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His precise kick picked out the run of Insigne, who passed the ball towards the advancing Dries Mertens, who made history four minutes before half-time.

Mertens became the best goal-scorer with Napoli in all competitions, overtaking Marek Hamsik (121) and reaching 122 goals for the Azzurri.

Napoli held on to a draw and reached the finals.

Such a victory meant a lot for the Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso, who lost his sister a few weeks back.

Francesca died aged 37 earlier this month and the Napoli coach dedicated his side’s progression to her while hailing his boys.

“I dedicate this result to my sister and my family,” he said

“The guys were extraordinary for the dedication they put on the pitch. I thank them because they played for me and they were close”.

“I have a team that has great quality, but there was [a will] to suffer because not all the mechanisms went in the right direction. After the first very naive goal conceded it was not easy to go back up”.

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“We showed character and I have to say that in terms of intensity we started from where we left off. We went through a very hard period, it wasn’t even easy to train for the health emergency”.

“We lost thousands of people. The world has changed.”


“Even coming to the stadium with masks and sitting far away from people in the street – all of it is strange but none of it compares to the devastation of losing so many people”.

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