Mertens Rewrites History as Napoli Defeat Inter To Reach Coppa Italia Final

Belgian  forward Dries Mertens became Napoli’s highest ever goalscorer after his goal edged out Inter Milan and sent the five-time winners into the Coppa Italia final.

Up by a solitary first leg goal, Napoli’s advantage was quickly wiped out when Christian Eriksen scored direct from a corner.

Former Anderlecht star Mertens made it 2-1 on aggregate after an assist from Lorenzo Insigne following a  quick counter-attack.

It was his 122nd goal for Napoli, one more than Slovakia’s Marek Hamsik.

Mertens,  nicknamed ‘Ciro’ by Napoli faithfuls to reflect his longstanding relationship with the club and city of Naples, is now seven goals clear of club legend Diego Maradona,

Napoli, who last won the competition in 2014, will battle Juventus in the final without any fans present on Wednesday at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

 

Fabian Ruiz’s goal had given Napoli a semi final first leg lead in before almost 60,000 fans in Milan on 12 February.

There were no supporters present as Napoli finished off the job – despite conceding after two minutes.

The visitors were level on aggregate when former Tottenham midfielder Eriksen bent a corner straight into the back of the net, eluding keeper David Ospina.

Inter twice went close to extending their advantage but former Arsenal keeper Ospina, who was excellent after his error for the opener, produced fine saves to deny Romelu Lukaku and then Antonio Candreva.

Shortly before half-time Mertens made club history and handed back control to Napoli after the former PSV Eindhoven player’s composed finish from Ospina’s long clearance.

Insigne went close to winning it on the night for Napoli but sent his shot just wide of the post before Ospina made a superb late save to keep out Eriksen and substitute Victor Moses put the follow-up over the bar.

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