Napoli overtake hapless Inter
Inter Milan were jeered off the pitch by their own fans at the San Siro today after their latest humiliation, a 3-0 Serie A defeat to lowly Bologna.
This latest defeat, their fifth in six winless games and also the fifth time in that period they've failed to score, came hot on the heels of a home loss to rock-bottom Novara. Over those six games Inter have conceded 15 goals, scoring just four times.
This run, which included a Cup defeat to Napoli, has badly hit their UEFA Champions League chances, leaving them down in sixth and six points behind third-placed Lazio, who have played a game less. To make matters worse they were also leap-frogged by Napoli, who won 3-0 at Fiorentina.
Veteran Marco Di Vaio scored a first-half brace within 60 seconds and Robert Acquafresca added insult to injury late on. It was no less than Inter deserved for another performance devoid of confidence or invention in the final third. But what really cost them, particularly in view of under-fire coach Claudio Ranieri's pre-match assertion that they must stop conceding goals, was how catastrophic their defending was.
And yet Inter started in total control of this match as Maicon lept to meet a corner only to see goalkeeper Jean-Francois Gillet kick away his downward header. Maicon was then picked out in the box again by Wesley Sneijder, but this time he headed wide.
Uruguay forward Diego Forlan was presented with a glorious chance following a defensive mistake. Gillet came out well to block his shot with his feet.
And suddenly Inter went into meltdown as Di Vaio scored twice within a minute from defensive errors. On 37 minutes Inter's entire defence got drawn to their right as Bologna attacked down that side only for Diego Perez to pick out Di Vaio unmarked at the back post. The forward cut inside Yuto Nagatomo's desperate last-ditched sliding tackle and then shot home.
And a minute later Andrea Ranocchia switched off when taking down a long ball on his chest, allowing Di Vaio to steal the ball from him and go on to finish calmly.
In the second period Nagatomo set up Forlan, but he couldn't get any power on his shot and Gillet managed to get across to stop the ball crossing the line. Five minutes from time Ranocchia was again guilty of weak defending, leaving Nagatomo with a one-on two and Acquafresca surged past him before finishing low to Julio Cesar's right.
Napoli move up
Edinson Cavani was the two-goal hero while Ezequiel Lavezzi added the injury-time cherry on the cake to give Napoli the perfect preparation for their Champions League clash against Cheslea on Tuesday.
Napoli were off to a dream start after just three minutes as Marek Hamsik played in Cavani who fired home. And they should have had a second when Christian Maggio rose unmarked to meet a corner, but his header crashed back off the bar.
It wasn't all one-way traffic as Cesare Natali rose to meet a corner at the other end only to hit the outside of the post with his header. Stevan Jovetic shot inches wide for the hosts while Miguel Britos missed another gilt-edged opportunity to double the lead as he fired over from just two yards out with the goal gaping.
Ten minutes into the second half, Napoli did at last kill off the game as Hamsik again put the Uruguay forward in beyond the backline and his finish was clinical.
It could have been worse for the home side, but goalkeeper Artur Boruc pulled off a fine save to deny Lavezzi from Cavani's pass. And yet, in injury time, Lavezzi escaped on a break and sent a precise finish inside the post.