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Italy - Serie A
May 5, 2013
• Stadio San Paolo, Napoli
Referee: A. Giannoccaro
• Attendance: 39000
E. Cavani 3', 33', 78'
R. Álvarez 23'
Thank you for tuning in to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Napoli's 3-1 win over Inter! I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to catch you all again next time!
Three Cavani goals wrap up a wonderful night for Partenopei, whose fans will be celebrating now, I imagine! Inter will look towards their coming fixtures to fix their faltering form, as the Nerazzuri currently sit in eighth place.
Aside from Ricky Alvarez winning and converting a first half penalty, the visitors failed to really create any golden chances in the second half. Playing without a conventional striker proved fruitless for Inter, as Alvarez and Guarin struggled a little in their new roles.
That's it, the final whistle blows! Napoli secure their second place position in Serie A with a 3-1 win over a lacklustre Inter side, thanks to a hat-trick from Edinson Cavani.
90' + 3'
MAGGIO! Great work down the left from Armero allows for a near post delivery, but Maggio can't turn the ball past Handanovic!
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Valon Behrami
90' + 2'
Behrami fouls Alvarez wide on the right touchline, allowing Inter another opportunity to flight in a free-kick. The visitors choose not to, however, instead passing the ball short. Bizarre decision, given their distinct lack of a killer ball.
There are three minutes of stoppage time.
Napoli are back to retaining possession in their own half again, receiving cheers from their home fans after every successful pass. Spirits are high, this win will secure the hosts' second placed position for the season.
Ooh! Good ball from Insigne! The substitute plays a teasing ball just inside the Inter area, but Handanovic is quick off his line to take the ball off Cavani's foot.
Inter are struggling to really trouble Napoli's defence. They've had a reasonable amount of possession in midfield areas in this second half, but they're lacking that creative spark to carve the hosts open. If only Cassano was fit!
Alvarez goes down on the edge of the area, claiming he was fouled, but the referee ignores him. Cambiasso almost manages to turn into the Napoli area, but his way was blocked by Britos.
CAVANI! After a quick break, the hat-trick hero tries his luck once again, but this time from a tight angle. He does quite catch it right, and the ball flashes out of play at the near post.
Jubilant cheers ring out from the home fans, encouraging their team to hold onto the ball. They oblige, passing the ball all the way back to De Sanctis - who has only had one save to make in this second half.
Inter remain devoid of any real offensive ideas, there don't seem to be too many players on the field for the visitors who look particularly comfortable in advanced areas. Napoli are easily keeping Inter at bay.
Assist Goran Pandev
Goal Edinson Cavani
GOOOOAL! CAVANI! It's his hat-trick! The Uruguayan taps home at the back post, and it seems to be game over!
Pandev was again the architect, sliding the ball across to the back post for Cavani to expertly tap home. The pairing of the two has worked well tonight, that's Pandev's second assist.
Yellow Card Andrea Ranocchia
Behrami is penalised for coming through the back of Guarin, and Inter have a free-kick in Guarin territory. The Colombian passes it short to Jonathan, who delivers a cross, but Cavani heads clear for the hosts. Wasteful again for Inter.
With around twenty minutes left to go, Stramaccioni will probably be considering making another change soon. It seems a matter of time before Napoli score again, as Inter don't look capable of it themselves.
OFFSIDE! Kuzmanovic makes a forward run, finding himself waiting to control the ball in the Napoli area, but he's pushed to the ground. As the Inter midfielder looks around as though he's getting a penalty, he notices that play was stopped for an offside decision.
Pandev tries to skip past Chivu, just inside the Inter penalty area, but sees himself muscled off the ball by the Romanian defender. He half-considered appealing for a penalty there, but he seemed to decide against it.
Napoli look far too comfortable here, Inter are barely penetrating through their midfield lines. Rolando has been on the field for at least five minutes, yet the Portuguese defender has had nothing to do whatsoever.
OOOOH! The whole ground thought it was in! After good interplay between Zuniga and Armero, Cavani gets across the front of his man to meet Zuniga's cross at the near post! He stabs at the ball, but he can't quite turn it home, for a minute it looked as though he'd got his hat-trick!
Inter are still looking toothless, and it might be due time for a conventional striker in the form of Rocchi to come into the fray. Guarin has been non-existent in this second half.
Handanovic tested! Dzemaili tries his luck again from range, this time from a free-kick, and Inter's Slovenian shot stopper can't quite get the ball into his grasp! After wriggling free at the first time of asking, Handanovic pounces on the second ball.
Yellow Card Juan Jesus
Ranocchia has gotten lucky here! The Italian defender looked to barge Cavani in the back as the goalscorer enters the Inter penalty box, but the referee had already called back play for a rash, late challenge from Juan Jesus.
Gamberini has returned to the field after seemingly suffering momentarily from cramp. The defender hasn't been a regular starter for Napoli this season, so he might feel the physical strains a little quicker than his teammates.
ALVAREZ! De Sanctis is called into action to beat away a fierce Alvarez effort, and Cavani manages to clear the rebound away for the corner! Nothing comes from the resulting set piece however, as Juan fouls Gamberini.
Ooh! Britos is fortunate, controlling a cross inside his own box, despite being under pressure from Cambiasso. Coolly done from the Uruguayan!
Inter are being a tad frustrated at the moment, despite having a reasonable spell of possession. Things look a little disjointed, not helped by the lack of a conventional striker, and options are lacking a little for the visitors.
CAVANI! Juan gives away the ball terribly, after trying to switch the play, but Chivu manages to block Cavani's effort! Whenever he gets the ball, Inter look a little perplexed as to how to deal with him.
Oh dear.. Kuzmanovic delivers a corner for the visitors, but fails to even clear Cavani at the front post! When you're trailing away from home, you really can't afford to be wasteful like that.
Inter have moved the ball around a bit better since bringing Cambiasso on, Kovacic has looked lively too. Benassi wasn't really offering anything but effort in the first half, so the substitution by Strama looks to have been a worthwhile one.
Ooh! A deflection almost proved vital for Inter! Ranocchia made a rare run forward, before his curling effort was blocked! The ball bounced out for a corner, before being whipped back in onto the head of Ranocchia - but he couldn't get it on target.
HAMSIK! Ranocchia makes a very important block to deny the Napoli midfielder's goal-bound effort! Napoli have started the second half very positively, Inter are yet to press forward.
PANDEV! The Macedonian mishits his strike slightly, allowing for Handanovic to smother the ball easily! Well held too, as Cavani was prowling.
Inter now have a man capable of great distribution on his day, Esteban Cambiasso, on the field. Maggio goes down heavily after taking a blow to his head, but I think that the Italian will be okay to return to the action.
And we are back underway for the second half! Stramaccioni will hope that his Inter side might offer a little more going forward in the second half. Cavani will be hungry for his hat-trick, I imagine.
Inter's lack of offensive threat will be an area which Stramaccioni will want to improve on, but with such a long injury list and a lack of options, he may be forced to continue with his side the way they are.
The first half whistle goes! Two Cavani goals mean that the home side hold the half time lead, but a Ricky Alvarez penalty leaves the door ajar for Inter to get back into this game.
HAMSIK! Handanovic stands tall to deny the midfielder yet again! A Maggio shot is charged down, before Hamsik picks up on the rebound. Inter are weathering the storm at the moment! They'll want to reach half time without conceding.
Inter are claiming for another penalty! Pereira goes to ground now in the Napoli area, but the referee isn't interested. Rightly so, there didn't seem to be anything untoward.
HAMSIK! The midfielder drives powerfully through the heart of Inter's defence, but smashes his eventual effort over the bar from 20 yards out! Handanovic wasn't troubled.
Good challenge from Behrami! The Swiss midfielder times his tackle well to dispossess Kuzmanovic, who wants a penalty! Napoli break however..
Cavani is causing Inter all sorts of problems. The pace and sheer power of the striker is too much for Chivu and Ranocchia to handle, and their discomfort is evident. The Uruguayan wins a corner, but Handanovic palms the eventual delivery away.
This lack of strikers is really telling for Inter, they just look a bit toothless. Benassi and Alvarez have worked hard, and Guarin has had a few chances, but they're lacking any kind of focal point for their attacks.
GUARIN! The midfielder shoots once again, this time from a very, very tight angle! He drags his effort wide, and it comes to nothing for the visitors. They're really lacking a creative spark going forward.
That was exactly what Stramaccioni didn't want. Inter had sat off their opposition a little bit since their equaliser, wary of Napoli's potency in attack, but they're back trailing with ten minutes to go until the half time break.
Penalty Goal Edinson Cavani
GOOOOAL! CAVANI! There was no doubt! The Uruguayan finds the bottom right corner, and the hosts are back ahead! Composed as ever.
Yellow Card Jonathan
PENALTY NAPOLI! Zuniga, who gave away the first penalty, wins his own now, after being clipped by Jonathan off the ball!
PANDEV! The Macedonian tries his luck from a tight angle, but Handanovic covers his post well and manages to clutch onto the strike. Good hands from the Inter keeper.
DZEMAILI! Great strike from the midfielder! Handanovic beats away a venomous effort from the Swiss international! That was from about 30 yards too.
Corner for Napoli! Good work from Zuniga forces Jonathan to put the ball behind. Nothing comes from it however, as Hamsik is found offside after taking the corner short. Wasteful.
Inter are right back in this game now, despite creating little in the opening stages. The hosts may well rue the opportunity presented to Hamsik by a fantastic Cavani cross!
Penalty Goal Ricardo Álvarez
GOOOAL! Alvarez converts the spot kick which he won himself! Despite jeers from the home side, the Argentine forward smashes the ball through De Sanctis, who may be disappointed!
PENALTY INTER! Alvarez has been brought down by Zuniga, after the tracking-back midfielder barged into the back of his marker!
HAMSIK! CLOSE! Cavani whips in a delicious ball from the left hand side, bouncing temptingly across the six yard box, but Hamsik can't quite stretch to turn it home!
GUARIN! De Sanctis smothers the midfielders' shot easily, after the Colombian cut back onto his less favourable right foot. Inter have to stay switched onto Cavani's movement, as the Napoli forward is playing right on the last man.
Two Pereira deliveries in quick succession fail to cause Napoli any problems, and it's more a case of catching practice of looping headers for De Sanctis. Inter are yet to truly get into the game, despite testing the Napoli goalkeeper once.
CAVANI! The goalscorer is given too much time again, after receiving the ball from Hamsik, opening his body up and curling an effort towards the top right corner. The ball sails harmlessly wide, but Inter need to be careful when this man is on the ball.
HAMSIK! The Slovakian is slipped in on goal, after good work down the right hand side this time from Pandev. Hamsik can't quite manage to find his first touch, eight yards out from goal, and he leaves the ball behind him! Unlucky!
Ooh, that was a nasty challenge from Chivu on Behrami. The Swiss midfielder was caught very late then, he'd been out of possession for about a second before the Inter veteran came crashing in.
PEREIRA! The Uruguayan receives the ball to feet at the edge of the Napoli area, before turning smartly and firing an effort at goal. De Sanctis gets down to his right well, and parries the ball away from goal!
OFFSIDE! Goalscorer Cavani is caught the wrong side of the Inter defence, as it looks like there could be a few goals in the game for him tonight. With only one chance, the Uruguayan has a goal to his name.
MAGGIO! Napoli win a corner, after Hamsik manages to play the ball off Rannochia. The set piece is taken short, before being aimed toward the back post. Maggio gets up well to meet the ball, and does test Handanovic.. a little more to the right and the Inter keeper might have struggled!
Guarin! The Colombian tries a ridiculously ambitious effort, shooting from his own half after spotting De Sanctis off his line. It sails way over the bar, but at least it's taken the pressure off his side momentarily.
Inter look a bit shellshocked and devoid of ideas. De Sanctis has already been called into action a couple of times to claim long balls, despite Stramaccioni's set-up not favouring long, hopeful punts forward.
Maggio! After good work down the left for Napoli, the ball is flighted in towards the back post, with the Italian winger storming in late! The delivery narrowly avoids him, that was unfortunate!
This has been a good start! Napoli look more focused and dangerous whenever they are in possession. Inter look a little more lost, although the game is yet to settle.
Dzemaili! After robbing Kovacic of the ball, the midfielder drives towards goal with options to his left and right! He attempts a long range effort, but he drags it well wide of Handanovic's right post.
OOH! GUARIN! The Colombian tries a 35 yard free-kick and it tests De Sanctis! The veteran beats it away, and Inter can't manage to turn the rebound home! The away side win a corner, but it comes to nothing.
That certainly wasn't what Andrea Stramaccioni would have hoped for! After pressing initially, his side are already behind! It was all too easy for Pandev to find Cavani!
Assist Goran Pandev
Goal Edinson Cavani
GOOOOAL! CAVANI! It's his 24th of the season, and Napoli have a very early lead! First chance of the game for the home side, and their dangerman has taken it with aplomb!
Inter win a corner early on, but it fails to come to fruition after what was a poor delivery. With early forward runs from Alvarez and Pereira, the visitors doesn't seem to have arrived to play for a point.
And we're underway! Referee Antonio Giannoccaro gets the game going! Napoli must be favourites for tonight's game, sitting comfortably in second with home advantages, but Inter can never quite be ruled out of a game.
Inter will be lining up with a back three, allowing Jonathan and Pereira to push on as wide midfielders, of sorts. Stramaccioni is left with little choice, due to injuries for a lot of first team faces.
Inter starting line-up: Handanovic, Chivu, Jonathan, Pereira, Ranocchia, Juan, Kuzmanovic, Guarin, Alvarez, Kovacic, Benassi.
Napoli starting line-up: De Sanctis, Gamberini, Cannavaro, Britos, Behrami, Dzemaili, Maggio, Zuniga, Hamsik, Pandev, Cavani.
TEAM NEWS: Inter are thought to be using Ricky Alvarez and Fredy Guarin as their most advanced players, whereas Napoli are fielding their arguably strongest starting eleven.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you updated with proceedings tonight at Stadio San Paolo, as a Napoli side with four wins in their last five looks to dispatch of weakened foe in the form of Stramaccioni's Inter.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Serie A's evening kick off between Napoli and Inter! With the visitors in faltering form, the hosts will look to cement their position in second place tonight.
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