Inter Milan and Napoli played out a goalless draw at the San Siro on Saturday, though it wasn't for the lack of trying. Both sides created good chances throughout the game, though the finishing was poor and the defending last-gasp. Still, the point is enough for the nerazzurri to extend their gap over sixth-placed Parma to six points, while Napoli open up an eight-point lead over fourth-placed Fiorentina.
Inter were just about more threatening in the game's early exchanges, with Hernanes forcing a diving stop from Pepe Reina with a long-range attempt after 10 minutes, though Napoli immediately hit back on the break, José Callejón squandering the best chance of the entire half after taking receipt of a wonderful chipped pass by Dries Mertens in the box.
The punch and counter-punch continued with Rodrigo Palacio firing wide of the Napoli goal just short of 20 minutes in, before Callejón's decision-making let him down at the other end, playing in his teammate Gonzalo Higuaín rather than going for goal himself.
Napoli were lucky to not find themselves down to 10 men when Palacio was brought down by Miguel Britos in what looked like a last-man tackle, with the referee adjudging a yellow card to be sufficient punishment. From there both teams had a couple of long-range attempts on goal, though neither goalkeeper was seriously tested before halftime.
That changed within five minutes of the restart, as Handanović got down to make a close-range stop on Mertens after Higuaín's initial attempt was blocked by Inter defender Nagatomo. The Neapolitan visitors were still vulnerable at the back, and Palacio almost punished them with a close-range header which skimmed just wide of the far post.
However, it was certainly Napoli who were the more offensive as the game drew to a close, going closest though Gökhan Inler inside the final 10 minutes. Some fancy footwork from the Swiss midfielder saw him face-to-face with Handanović, though he drilled the ball against the base of the post with the goal gaping. It summed the game up as a whole; plenty of chances, and just as much profligacy.
Making matters worse for Napoli was the stretchering off of their star striker Higuaín in the last four minutes. With the Coppa Italia final and the World Cup on the horizon, let's hope it's not quite as serious as it looked.
Inter Milan: Handanović; Andreolli, Ranocchia, Campagnaro; Nagatomo, Cambiasso, Kovačić, Hernanes (Guarín 74'), D'Ambrosio (Zanetti 68'); Palacio, Icardi (Kuzmanović 81').
Napoli: Reina; Ghoulam, Britos, Albiol, Henrique; Jorginho, Inler; Insigne, Mertens (Hamšík 70'), Callejón; Higuaín (Pandev 87').