Inter Milan and Napoli will go into the final three games of the Serie A season as they were coming into the final four after a goalless draw at the San Siro on Saturday evening.
Only the breadth of the post denied Gokhan Inler a late winner for the visitors in an even game which saw both sides create plenty of chances but neither break the deadlock, with Napoli remaining third in the standings and two places above their opponents. Inter president Erick Thohir was again left disappointed, failing to see the Nerazzurri win once again on his latest visit to the San Siro, where he has only witnessed two home victories, five draws and one defeat.
Only 17 seconds were on the clock when Lorenzo Insigne’s cross was lifted just wide of the far post by Jose Callejon. Inter’s reply came 10 minutes later when Hernanes’ shot from 30 yards was pushed away by Pepe Reina, who then tipped a Mateo Kovacic shot behind for a corner.
Callejon missed an even better chance in the 13th minute when Dries Mertens lifted the ball invitingly in front of him, but he appeared to be too casual about the chance and placed it wide of Samir Handanovic’s post. Early in the second half, Gonzalo Higuain saw his first shot of the evening blocked by Yuto Nagatomo before Mertens’ follow-up shot was deflected behind.
Nagatomo then set up Rodrigo Palacio at the other end, but while he beat Reina to the ball, he could not get enough on his header to turn it in. Nagatomo had Inter’s best chance of the evening saved by Reina in the 82nd minute, and immediately the Azzurri launched an attack which created the best opening of the night overall.
Inler’s determination, and a bit of luck, saw him break into the penalty area, but his left-foot shot bounced out to safety off the inside of the right-hand post. There was a worrying sight for Napoli late on when Higuain was carried away on a stretcher and they will hope to have him fit next weekend for the Coppa Italia final against Fiorentina, the side they lead by eight points with three league games of the season left.