Napoli inflicted 10-man Inter Milan's second Serie A defeat of the season in a gripping match at Stadio San Paolo.

A five-goal first half saw Gonzalo Higuain volley Napoli in front only for Esteban Cambiasso to equalise.

Rafael Benitez's men went two-goals up after Dries Mertens and Blerim Dzemaili struck, only for Yuto Nagatomo to give Inter hope with a tap-in.

Ex-Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri's loss was secured when Jose Callejon pounced after Ricky Alvarez was dismissed.

Tale of two bosses

Rafael Benitez and Walter Mazzarri

Walter Mazzarri ended a four-year spell in charge of Napoli this summer, in which he re-established the Neapolitans as a force in Serie A.

Rafael Benitez had less fond memories of his time with Inter, with whom he won the Fifa Club World Cup but was dismissed after a disappointing six-month period.

Benitez, who was sacked by Inter after a difficult six-month spell in 2010, was also facing his former club

The Spaniard also had to deal with his side's midweek Champions League exit after being denied knockout stage qualification by Borussia Dortmund despite beating Arsenal 2-0.

Regardless, the result saw third-placed Napoli open up a seven-point gap to their fifth-placed opponents. This difference could prove valuable in the months ahead as third is the final qualifying spot for Europe's premier club competition in the Italian top flight.

Mazzarri's return to Naples after deciding to end a four-year spell in charge this summer appeared to be going well when his new team started the brighter, only for Higuain to volley in expertly after latching on to a sloppy Nagatomo header in the host's opening attack.

Cambiasso levelled things after sweeping home a flowing counter-attack, only for Mertens to fire in first time from the edge of the box and Dzemaili to double the advantage after reacting quickest to a fine Samir Handanovic save.

Nagatomo then made amends for his poor defensive error with a tap-in following a smart cross from the impressive Fredy Guarin, before the referee called time on a thrilling first 45 minutes.

Inter's push for an equaliser was tempered with 20 minutes to play as midfielder Alvarez was harshly dismissed for a second booking after handling the ball.

With the Nerazzurri now weakened, former Real Madrid forward Callejon found his seventh league goal of the season after being presented with the easiest of finishes by Lorenzo Insigne's drive across goal.

There was even time for ex-Inter man Goran Pandev to miss a penalty before the final whistle signalled an impressive victory for Benitez's challengers.

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (5)

Napoli

  • 01 Barbosa
  • 11 Maggio
  • 02 Réveillere (Pandev - 91' )
  • 20 Dzemaili
  • 21 Fernández
  • 33 Albiol
  • 07 Callejón
  • 88 Inler Booked
  • 09 Higuaín (Behrami - 78' )
  • 14 Mertens (Armero - 86' )
  • 24 Insigne Booked

Substitutes

  • 03 Uvini
  • 05 Britos
  • 13 Bariti
  • 15 Colombo
  • 19 Pandev
  • 22 Radosevic
  • 25 Reina
  • 27 Armero
  • 28 Cannavaro
  • 85 Behrami
  • 91 Zapata

Internazionale

  • 01 Handanovic
  • 02 Cicero Moreira
  • 55 Nagatomo
  • 35 Da Fonseca
  • 23 Ranocchia Booked
  • 14 Campagnaro (Icardi - 82' )
  • 21 Sliti Taider (Kovacic - 61' )
  • 11 Álvarez Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 08 Palacio
  • 13 Guarín
  • 19 Cambiasso

Substitutes

  • 04 Zanetti
  • 05 Nunes Jesus
  • 06 Andreolli
  • 07 Belfodil
  • 09 Icardi
  • 10 Kovacic
  • 12 Castellazzi
  • 16 Mudingayi
  • 17 Kuzmanovic
  • 18 Oliveira dos Santos
  • 30 Carrizo
  • 31 Pereira
Ref: Paolo Tagliavento

Match Stats

Shots

13 11

On target

9 6

Corners

5 6

Fouls

12 9

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Napoli 4, Inter Milan 2.

90:00 +4:58 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Napoli 4, Inter Milan 2.

90:00 +1:30

Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Samir Handanovic.

90:00 +1:27

Penalty saved! Goran Pandev (Napoli) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, left footed shot saved in the bottom right corner.

90:00 +1:07 Booking

Booking Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90:00 +0:43

Penalty conceded by Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan) after a foul in the penalty area.

90:00 +0:43

Penalty Napoli. Goran Pandev draws a foul in the penalty area.

90:00 +0:33 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Napoli. Goran Pandev replaces Anthony Réveillere.

89:44

Attempt missed. Blerim Dzemaili (Napoli) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by José Callejón.

85:06 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Napoli. Pablo Armero replaces Dries Mertens.

83:15

Attempt missed. Dries Mertens (Napoli) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by José Callejón with a cross following a fast break.

81:30 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inter Milan. Mauro Icardi replaces Hugo Campagnaro.

80:35 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Napoli 4, Inter Milan 2. José Callejón (Napoli) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Lorenzo Insigne.

78:55

Attempt blocked. Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Hugo Campagnaro.

77:16 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Napoli. Valon Behrami replaces Gonzalo Higuaín.

76:34

Foul by Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan).

76:34

Christian Maggio (Napoli) wins a free kick on the right wing.

74:57

Offside, Inter Milan. Andrea Ranocchia tries a through ball, but Jonathan is caught offside.

74:37

Corner, Inter Milan. Conceded by Anthony Réveillere.

72:33

Fredy Guarín (Inter Milan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

72:33

Foul by José Callejón (Napoli).

70:48 Dismissal

Dismissal Second yellow card to Ricardo Álvarez (Inter Milan) for hand ball.

70:42

Hand ball by Ricardo Álvarez (Inter Milan).

69:18

Attempt missed. Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Ricardo Álvarez with a cross following a corner.

65:56

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

65:53

Delay in match Rafael Cabral (Napoli) because of an injury.

65:21

Corner, Inter Milan. Conceded by Rafael Cabral.

65:18

Attempt saved. Fredy Guarín (Inter Milan) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Rodrigo Palacio with a cross.

64:13

Attempt saved. Gökhan Inler (Napoli) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Dries Mertens.

62:41

Foul by Ricardo Álvarez (Inter Milan).

62:41

Christian Maggio (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

62:18

Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

62:18

Foul by José Callejón (Napoli).

60:27 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inter Milan. Mateo Kovacic replaces Saphir Sliti Taider.

58:28

Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Hugo Campagnaro.

58:26

Attempt blocked. José Callejón (Napoli) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

57:50

Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Rolando.

57:03

Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57:03

Foul by Dries Mertens (Napoli).

54:25

Attempt saved. Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Rodrigo Palacio.

53:35

Attempt saved. Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

52:19

Ricardo Álvarez (Inter Milan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

52:19

Foul by Dries Mertens (Napoli).

51:19

Offside, Inter Milan. Andrea Ranocchia tries a through ball, but Esteban Cambiasso is caught offside.

50:44

Corner, Inter Milan. Conceded by Christian Maggio.

48:35

Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Rolando.

47:42

Rolando (Inter Milan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

47:42

Foul by Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli).

45:27 Booking

Booking Ricardo Álvarez (Inter Milan) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

45:23

Foul by Ricardo Álvarez (Inter Milan).

45:23

Dries Mertens (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00

Second Half begins Napoli 3, Inter Milan 2.

45:00 +2:00 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Napoli 3, Inter Milan 2.

45:00 +1:06 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Napoli 3, Inter Milan 2. Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal.

45:00 +0:38

Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:00 +0:38

Foul by Gökhan Inler (Napoli).

43:46

Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Esteban Cambiasso.

42:30

Attempt missed. Fredy Guarín (Inter Milan) header from the left side of the six yard box misses to the right. Assisted by Yuto Nagatomo with a cross.

42:06

Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan) wins a free kick on the left wing.

42:06

Dangerous play by Dries Mertens (Napoli).

40:54 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Napoli 3, Inter Milan 1. Blerim Dzemaili (Napoli) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal following a fast break.

40:53

Attempt saved. Dries Mertens (Napoli) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lorenzo Insigne.

40:00

Foul by Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan).

40:00

Christian Maggio (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

38:01 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Napoli 2, Inter Milan 1. Dries Mertens (Napoli) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Blerim Dzemaili following a fast break.

36:28

Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

36:28

Foul by Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli).

34:51 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Napoli 1, Inter Milan 1. Esteban Cambiasso (Inter Milan) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ricardo Álvarez.

32:12

Delay in match (Napoli).

31:28 Booking

Booking Gökhan Inler (Napoli) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

31:24

Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan) wins a free kick on the right wing.

31:24

Foul by Gökhan Inler (Napoli).

30:32

Dangerous play by Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan).

30:32

Gökhan Inler (Napoli) wins a free kick on the right wing.

29:33

Attempt missed. Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Saphir Sliti Taider following a set piece situation.

28:35 Booking

Booking Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli) is shown the yellow card.

28:29

Jonathan (Inter Milan) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

28:29

Foul by Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli).

26:36

Offside, Napoli. Dries Mertens tries a through ball, but Lorenzo Insigne is caught offside.

26:06

Foul by Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan).

26:06

José Callejón (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

25:30

Corner, Inter Milan. Conceded by Raúl Albiol.

24:40

Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Gonzalo Higuaín following a fast break.

21:28

Attempt missed. Fredy Guarín (Inter Milan) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Rodrigo Palacio.

16:28

Offside, Inter Milan. Yuto Nagatomo tries a through ball, but Saphir Sliti Taider is caught offside.

15:47

Foul by Anthony Réveillere (Napoli).

15:47

Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan) wins a free kick on the right wing.

14:49

Attempt saved. Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ricardo Álvarez.

14:34

Corner, Inter Milan. Conceded by Federico Fernández.

11:59

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

11:11

Delay in match Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli) because of an injury.

10:24

Attempt saved. Dries Mertens (Napoli) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by José Callejón.

8:48 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Napoli 1, Inter Milan 0. Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

7:28

Foul by Saphir Sliti Taider (Inter Milan).

7:28

José Callejón (Napoli) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

6:38

Attempt missed. Esteban Cambiasso (Inter Milan) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ricardo Álvarez following a corner.

6:13

Corner, Inter Milan. Conceded by Federico Fernández.

5:31

Offside, Inter Milan. Esteban Cambiasso tries a through ball, but Rodrigo Palacio is caught offside.

1:55

Offside, Inter Milan. Hugo Campagnaro tries a through ball, but Ricardo Álvarez is caught offside.

0:48

Rolando (Inter Milan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:48

Foul by Blerim Dzemaili (Napoli).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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