Napoli 1-1 Inter (2-1 agg): Mertens makes history as Gattuso's side reach final

Omnisport

Napoli set up a Coppa Italia final against former coach Maurizio Sarri and Juventus after a record-breaking goal from Dries Mertens saw them draw 1-1 with Inter on Saturday, enough for a 2-1 triumph on aggregate.

Mertens converted Lorenzo Insigne's square pass to score his 122nd goal for the club, in the process moving him clear of Marek Hamsik to sit alone in top spot as their all-time leading goalscorer.

Fabian Ruiz's goal at San Siro in the first leg prior to the coronavirus outbreak had put Napoli in control of the semi-final tie at the halfway stage, only for Inter to erase the deficit inside two minutes of the return meeting.

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Christian Eriksen's curling corner slipped beyond the players gathered at the front post and also David Ospina, quickly levelling the tie.

However, Napoli’s goalkeeper overcame the early embarrassment to play a key role in helping his side progress in the competition.

Ospina made key saves to deny Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Candreva before setting up the equaliser late in the first half, his well-directed clearance triggering a swift counter-attacking move that caught Inter cold.

His precise kick picked out the run of Insigne, who unselfishly passed the ball across for the advancing Mertens to make history four minutes before half-time.

Not done there, Ospina produced a superb save late in the second half to deny Inter a second goal that would have seen them, rather than Napoli, seal a trip to Rome.

What does it mean? Napoli deliver blow to Conte

When Gennaro Gattuso arrived at Napoli in December, the club were in turmoil. The early stages of his reign were rocky, but now he has the chance to secure the club's first trophy since 2014.

In contrast, a debut season of such promise is in danger of falling flat for Antonio Conte at Inter. Seemingly out of the Serie A title race, the Europa League is their last hope for some silverware.

Ospina makes amends

From the ridiculous to the sublime. The Colombian keeper was caught out by Eriksen but showed real sharpness with his contribution for the equaliser. However, a second-half yellow card will see him miss the final through suspension.

Mertens tops the list

The Belgian forward, who had drawn level with Hamsik back in February before the season was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak that hit Italy so hard, clinically finished to show just why Napoli are set to hand him a new contract to extend his stay.

Key Opta Facts

- Napoli have reached the final of the Coppa Italia for the third time in the 21st century, facing Juventus on two of those occasions.
- Napoli have lost just one of their past eight games against Inter in the Coppa Italia (W3 D4), after losing four of their first five encounters with the Nerazzurri in the competition (D1).
- No side has conceded fewer goals than Napoli in the Coppa Italia 2019-20 (one).
- Inter have scored six goals this season in the first five minutes of the game, more than any other Serie A side in all competitions.
- Dries Mertens has been involved in three goals (two scored, one assisted) in his past three games in all competitions, all played at the San Paolo.
- Christian Eriksen has scored two of the past three away Inter goals in all competitions.

What's next?

Napoli meet Sarri's Juve in Rome on Wednesday. Then, Serie A returns. Inter's first league game back is at home to Sampdoria on Sunday, June 21. Napoli, meanwhile, travel to Hellas Verona two days later.

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