Inter Milan 0-1 Napoli: Fabian Ruiz fires visitors to crucial first stage victory over San Siro in Coppa Italia semi-final
- The first half was boring with neither party able to create many clear opportunities
- Visitors then took the lead in the second half when Fabian Ruiz broke the deadlock
- Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines
- Romelu Lukaku has a great chance of being close by Napoli
- Second stage will be played on March 5 and winner will play Juventus or AC Milan
A stunning goal from Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz gave Napoli a 1-0 win at Inter Milan in the first leg of their semi-final at Coppa Italia after the visitors dominated a cage match in the San Siro on Wednesday.
Ruiz curled a great shot with the left foot past Inter-keeper Daniele Padelli after 57 minutes after a one-two with right back Giovanni Di Lorenzo.
Inter lacked energy after Sunday’s spectacular 4-2 comeback victory against bitter city enemies AC Milan in their league-doorby and Napoli was in charge of midfield in the first half.
Fabian Ruiz broke the deadlock in the second half with a curling in the top corner
Ruiz celebrated noisily while the San Siro sat behind his opener in astonished silence
The midfielder made a clean connection and saw his shot fly in with a slight deflection
The Napoli players came together to celebrate a vital away match in the first leg
Dries Mertens fired the crossbar with a first shot in the 16th minute and the visitors also came close to the break when Padelli denied Piotr Zielinski.
Padelli, however, was powerless when Ruiz unleashed a sublime attempt that left the keeper in the air.
A tired-looking Inter threw men forward in the final phase, but Napoli comfortably stood out to gain the upper hand for the return on March 5.
Antonio Conte was animated on the sidelines when he saw his side frustrated by Napoli
Daniele Padelli was forced to make a major save from Piotr Zielinski in the first half
Lautaro Martinez struggled to have his usual impact on the game for Inter Milan
The home team missed their best chance of saving a draw in the standstill time, when Napoli’s goalkeeper David Ospina smothered a shot from close range by substitute Danilo D’Ambrosio.
Conte will know that a huge task awaits in the second leg with hostile San Paolo Stadium next month.
AC Milan hosts Juventus in the first leg of the other semi-final on Thursday, with the return scheduled for March 4.
Romelu Lukaku and Co have a big job in their hands in the second leg away from home