Internazionale – Napoli: Stale Inter Unable To Breach Gennaro Gattuso’s Stern Defense (0-1)
Gennaro Gattuso’s defensive plan once again caught an Italian top team unprepared, as clinical finishing placed Napoli in the lead despite only sporadically breaking through Inter’s pressing. Antonio Conte desperately searched for an equalizer by discharging all of the weapons at hand, but came up empty-handed.
Tactical analysis and match report by Kareem Bianchi.
Sunday’s Derby della Madonnina saw Inter in trouble against Milan’s pressing system. Inter were able to complete an unexpected comeback through their sheer quality and intensity, and so they entered the Coppa Italia’s semi-finals’ first leg oozing with confidence.
Napoli, on the other hand, had just lost against seventeenth placed Lecce at home - holding them eleventh - and hoped to redeem themselves in the cup by taking down yet another big dog.
Antonio Conte made four changes to the derby-winning eleven, replacing both wing-backs with Victor Moses and Cristiano Biraghi and starting Alessandro Bastoni and Stefano Sensi.
Gennaro Gattuso also made his fair share of changes, as the attacking trio was completely re-modelled. Dries Mertens started as the center-forward, flanked by Josè Callejón and Eljif Elmas. At right midfield, Fabián Ruiz replaced Stanislav Lobotka, while Kostas Manolas took over in defense from Kalidou Koulibaly.
Under Gattuso, Napoli have abandoned the idea of controlling the ball against the top sides, something they had become . . .