Serie A - Napoli fail to take chances in draw with Inter

Napoli missed a chance to secure Champions League football next season when they shared a goalless draw at Inter Milan in an entertaining encounter.

Reuters
Serie A - Napoli fail to take chances in draw with Inter
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Inter Milan's Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic (L) fights for the ball with Napoli's Brazilian midfielder Jorginho during the Italian Seria A match Inter Milan vs Naples

Rafael Benitez's third-placed Napoli have 69 points and extended their lead over Fiorentina, in fourth, to eight points with three games to play.

Benitez's men created plenty of chances but failed to capitalise on their superiority, particularly in the second half.

Jose Callejon was the worst culprit, volleying wide from Dries Mertens's pinpoint through ball in the 13th minute with the goal at his mercy, while Gokhan Inler struck the inside of the post with nine minutes left.

"I could have finished the match. It wasn't easy but I was in front of (Inter keeper Samir) Handanovic and all I could do was shoot. It's a shame," said Inler.

Vincenzo Montella's Fiorentina, who take on Napoli in next Saturday's Italian Cup final, crushed relegation-threatened Bologna 3-0 thanks to a double from Juan Cuadrado and a deflected strike from Josip Ilicic.

Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain may miss the final after leaving the field on a stretcher four minutes before the end following a thumping challenge from Marco Andreolli on the edge of the box just as the Argentine striker was set to shoot.

Inter, who created chances of their own in a frantic first half, are fifth on 57 points. They are four points behind Fiorentina and six ahead of AC Milan, who lost 2-0 at AS Roma on Friday, and Parma who travel to Cagliari on Sunday.

Napoli and Inter came roaring out of the blocks and the home team had marginally the better of the opening exchanges.

Mateo Kovacic did well to spin away from tight marking and force a good save from Pepe Reina with a drilled shot from just outside the area with 11 minutes gone.

The best chance of the first half fell to Callejon who timed his run perfectly to meet a beautiful pass from Mertens only to screw his volley wide from 12 metres.

Napoli turned the screw in the second half and would have come away with the three points had it not been for solid Inter defending and some bad luck in front of goal.

Yuti Nagatomo did well to block Higuain's 50th-minute shot when he looked set to score while seconds later Mertens flashed Jorginho's lobbed pass across goal and through the legs of Inter defenders only to see the ball roll wide.

Inter looked dangerous when they ventured forward, with Nagatomo hitting a shot into Reina's legs from a tight angle.

However, if Inler's shot had gone in rather than crashed against the post Walter Mazzarri's Inter could have had no complaints.

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