Napoli on brink of Italian title after Lazio lose at Inter


Lautaro Martinez of FC Internazionale celebrates with teammates after scoring the team's third goal during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and SS Lazio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on April 30, 2023 in Milan, Italy. 

Napoli are one win away from ending a 33-year wait for the Serie A title on Sunday after Lazio lost 3-1 at Inter Milan.

Runaway league leaders Napoli will secure their first Scudetto since 1990 if they beat Salernitana after Inter came back from a goal down at half-time at the San Siro thanks to a Lautaro Martinez brace and another strike from Robin Gosens.

Inter’s three strikes, which all came in the final 13 minutes, moved Inter into Serie A’s Champions League places, ahead of AC Milan and Roma on goal difference, and also unleashed a wave of joy at the Stadio Maradona in Naples, which was already almost full of supporters.

Napoli remained 17 points clear of second-place Lazio who now have six games left.

Fans had been queueing outside the stadium in Naples nearly five hours before the 1300GMT kick-off, with flags, flares and horns creating a colourful, cacophonous atmosphere.

One man driving around the stadium had mounted an electrically amplified horn on the bonnet of his car. When asked by AFP to set if off, let rip with an ear-splitting sound accompanied with a loud “Forza Napoli!”.

However as the Stadio Maradona slowly started to fill a series of false alarms caused supporters to celebrate and then fall silent in disappointment.

With 26 minutes gone at the San Siro, Inter’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan rolled in Joaquin Correa’s low pass, only for the strike to be ruled out because Argentine attacker Correa was offside before receiving Marcelo Brozovic’s through ball.

Three minutes later Anderson silenced fans both in Milan and Naples with his fine low finish for the visitors after ex-Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi gifted the ball to his former teammates on the edge of the penalty area.

Inter pushed for the leveller, with Nicolo Barella lashing a volley just wide in the 40th minute, but Lazio were unlucky not to be two ahead at break.

Acerbi again lost the ball in a dangerous position and Ciro Immobile’s low curling shot was pushed away by Andre Onana to Anderson, whose finish was deflected over the bar by Alessandro Bastoni.

Federico Dimarco forced a fine save from Lazio’s Ivan Provedel on the hour mark and moments later Inter’s Denzel Dumfries shanked his finish when trying to force home an inviting cross from Romelu Lukaku.

Lautaro Martinez missed a brilliant chance when clean through on goal in the 71st minute but six minutes later made up for his error when he finished low past Provedel.

A huge cheer erupted in the stands in Naples after news of Martinez’s equaliser filtered through and the noise levels nearly took the roof off after Gosens forced home Lukaku’s cross with seven minutes remaining.

Martinez’s second in the final minute put the cherry on the cake for Inter and Napoli, who are ready to claim the title in front of a sea of blue and white.

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