Christian Eriksen’s precise hit from outside the box helped Inter Milan avoid a defeat against Napoli, for whom Lorenzo Insigne was the only positive.
Inter Milan’s run of 11 consecutive wins in the Serie A came to an end, after being held 1-1 by Napoli on Sunday. This result is unlikely to make too much of an impact in the title race, but it has left Napoli afloat in their pursuit of a top four finish.
It was a rather cagey game of football as both sides tried hard to have a go at each other, in regards to their offensive play. Although they were able to create certain opportunities, clear cut chances came at a premium. In fact, it needed a defensive error from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to break the deadlock 36th minute as Napoli took the lead going into half-time.
Inter Milan, however, continued to look dangerous on the counter and even hit the post twice throughout the ninety minutes. Ultimately, it was Christian Eriksen, whose rocket strike from outside the box left Alex Meret clueless, thus levelling the game just before the hour mark.
Neither side were able to find the third breakthrough, with the two teams combining for a total of just three shots on target in the entire game. As a result, they were forced to share the spoils, and here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two teams in their well-contested draw this weekend.
Alex Meret: 6/10
Alex Meret couldn’t have done anything to keep out Eriksen’s precise and powerful strike from outside the box. Didn’t have to do anything much otherwise.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo: 6/10
Giovanni Di Lorenzo had an excellent opportunity to score the winner late in the game but he was too late to react. Had occasional struggles in dealing with Matteo Darmian, which speaks a lot about his performance.
Kostas Manolas: 7/10
Kostas Manolas produced a solid defensive display at the heart of the Napoli backline. One of his blocks, in particular, was key in denying Lautaro Martinez while the Greek international was competent in restricting the two attackers from Inter.
Napoli and Inter are held to a stalemate, ending Inter’s winning streak 🙅♂️ pic.twitter.com/UEOeR2hnVE
— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) April 18, 2021
Kalidou Koulibaly: 6.5/10
Kalidou Koulibaly had his struggles in physically overpowering Romelu Lukaku, but he was mostly solid at the back for Napoli, notably winning four ground duels.
Mario Rui: 5.5/10
Mario Rui was always going to struggle defensively in dealing with Achraf Hakimi and Nicolo Barella. The left-back, though, was useful going forward at times.
Fabian Ruiz: 6/10
It was a decent midfield display from Fabian Ruiz who tried his best to avoid the second line of press from Inter. Looked defensively unaware at times and lacked creativity in his game, though.
Diego Demme: 6.5/10
Diego Demme produced a rather impressive display in midfield, exhibiting immense work ethic and versatility to keep Inter Milan midfielders quiet for the most part.
Matteo Politano: 6/10
Matteo Politano couldn’t make much of an impact on the right hand side, often struggling to penetrate the lines of the opposition. Made a tactical foul late in the game.
Piotr Zielinski: 6/10
Piotr Zielinski occasionally offered some useful forward ball at times, notably being involved in the build-up to Handanovic’s own goal. Looked anonymous for the most part.
Lorenzo Insigne: 7/10
Lorenzo Insigne was the lone spark in the Napoli attack, often causing trouble for the opposition with his dynamism runs and clever movements in the final third. His contribution was immense in forcing Hadnanovic to make the error.
Victor Osimhen: 5/10
Victor Osimhen strolled around the park, for the most part, struggling to shine against Stefan de Vrij. He wast taken off during the final phase of the game.
Dries Mertens: 5/10
Did not make the desired impact after coming on for Osimhen for the final 15 minutes.
Eljif Elmas: N/A
A late replacement for Zielinski. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Tiemoue Bakayoko: N/A
A late replacement for Ruiz. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Elseid Hysaj: N/A
A late replacement for Politano. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Samir Handanovic: 4/10
Handanovic was culpable for spilling Insigne’s cross, with the error eventually leading to Napoli’s opener. Wasn’t troubled much afterwards, but had to remain vigilant.
4 – Since he joined Inter in 2012/13 season, Samir Handanovic has scored the joint-most own goals in the top-5 European leagues among the goalkeepers (four, level with Anthony Lopes). Oversight.#NapoliInter
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) April 18, 2021
Milan Skriniar: 5/10
Milan Skriniar wasn’t at his usual best and may have done just a bit more to keep Insigne quiet on the flanks. That said, the Partenopei may have failed to score had it not been for Handanovic’s error.
Stefan de Vrij: 6.5/10
Stefan de Vrij deserves a lot of credit for restricting any pace or freedom for Osimhen. But, the Inter centre-back’s collusion with Handanovic led to the own goal from the ‘keeper.
Alessandro Bastoni: 6/10
Alessandro Bastoni was defensively solid for the most part, but he couldn’t offer those trademark runs forward. He wasn’t involved much in the build-up play at all as Napoli dominated possession.
Achraf Hakimi: 7/10
Hakimi had a relatively slow start to the game but his contributions in the second half were immense as he often delivered crosses from wider areas while linking up well with teammates.
Nicolo Barella: 6/10
Barella offered excellent work ethic, but there was a lack of creativity in his game as Inter struggled to create too many opportunities going forward.
Marcelo Brozovic: 6/10
Marcelo Brozovic was a vital cog in the Inter midfield, especially in a game where Antonio Conte’s men were devoid of possession. His composure, therefore, was critical in aiding his team in the approach play.
Christian Eriksen: 6.5/10
Christian Eriksen didn’t have the best of games either, but the former Tottenham man deserves credit for rifling the ball into the back of the net with sheer precision.
24 – Christian #Eriksen has scored 24 goals from outside the box in the top-5 European Leagues since he joined Tottenham in 2013/14: only Lionel Messi (59) has more in this period. Range.#NapoliInter pic.twitter.com/Pb0eNexHJd
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) April 18, 2021
Matteo Darmian: 6.5/10
Darmian certainly has room to improve in his offensive game as well as his decision making in the final third. However, he was solid in the defensive unit and could turn out to be an ideal long-term replacement for Ashley Young.
Romelu Lukaku: 6/10
Romelu Lukaku looked threatening on multiple occasions, notably hitting the bar once. His physical prowess made things difficult for Napoli defenders to settle into the game. The forward, though, struggled to offer the penetration that was required.
Lautaro Martinez: 6.5/10
Lautaro Martinez looked quite inspiring, at times, particularly with his movement on the ball. He also created a brilliant opportunity for Barella, but the midfielder couldn’t capitalise on the excellent through ball.
Ivan Perisic: 6/10
Ivan Perisic replaced Darmian midway through the second half to add more offensive prowess to the Inter side. Couldn’t make the desired impact.
Alexis Sanchez: 6.5/10
Alexis Sanchez was introduced for the final 15 minutes of the game. Offered some useful movements in the final third.
A late replacement for Gagliardini. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.