in

Napoli knock out Inter Milan to reach Coppa Italia final

Napoli 1-1 Inter Milan (2-1 agg): Dries Mertens strike sets up Coppa Italia final against Juventus, becoming the hosts’ all-time top scorer in the process.

Napoli to face Juventus in Coppa Italia final www.africanstand.com
Dries Mertens’ 42nd minutes leveller secured Napoli’s place in the Coppa Italia final.

Dries Mertens became Napoli’s record scorer after his goal edged out Inter Milan and sent the five-time winners into the Coppa Italia final.

Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Napoli’s advantage was quickly wiped out when Christian Eriksen scored directly from a corner.

Belgium forward Mertens made it 2-1 on aggregate after an assist from Lorenzo Insigne following a counter-attack.

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

Mertens, who is nicknamed ‘Ciro’ by Napoli fans 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 meet Juventus in the final without any fans present on Wednesday (20:00 BST) at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Fabian Ruiz’s goal had given Napoli a semi-final first-leg lead in front of 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.

Ericson Mangoli

Written by Ericson Mangoli

Ericson Mangoli is the founder of African Stand, based in Nairobi Kenya, Ericson leads a splendid group of correspondents, independent writers, investigators, analysts, and supporters from around the globe to run African Stand as a supervisor and the chief editor.

Ericson Mangoli's editorial experience ranges more than 5 years and covers all the sports news, and at times including business and venture, data innovation, legislative issues, strategy, basic freedoms, science detailing, and significantly more.

Bayern Munich on verge of Bundesliga title www.africanstand.com

Bayern Munich on verge of Bundesliga title

Egypt accuses Ethiopia of holding it “hostage” in Nile dam talks