Napoli end Inter's unbeaten record
© AFP

Napoli produced a stunning display to inflict the first league defeat of the season on defending champions Inter Milan today and breathe new life into the Serie A title race. Thanks to the result - and Roma's 4-0 win over Parma yesterday, the gap between the top two in Italy is down to six points.

The 1-0 loss was only Inter's second defeat in their last 65 league matches, the previous one being back in April at home to Roma. It was also Inter's third match in a row without a win and suggests that some cracks are finally starting to show in their previously impenetrable armour.

Napoli came flying out of the traps and unsettled their opponents, and it took them just three minutes to score the game's only goal. Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar lost possession to Marcelo Zalayeta, who scored with a sumptuous chip.

The leaders responded briefly but Napoli stopper Matteo Gianello was equal to Honduran striker David Suazo's snap-shot. Julio Cesar then dived full length to keep out a sliced attempted clearance from Marco Materazzi as Napoli finished the first half the way they began it.

Julio Cesar's erratic afternoon continued with a quarter of an hour to play when he was penalised for bringing down Walter Gargano. But he got up to dive the right way and beat out Zalayeta's spot-kick.