Coppa Italia: Napoli reach cup final as Mertens breaks record
Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Napoli’s advantage was quickly wiped out when Cristian Eriksen scored directly from a corner straight into the back of the net eluding keeper David Ospina.
Inter Milan twice went close to extending their advantage. However, former Arsenal keeper, Ospina, was excellent after his opener error. Ospina produced fine saves to deny Romelu Lukaku and 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.
Lorenzo Insigne went close to winning it on the night for Napoli. Instead, he 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.
The Belgium forward’s goal was his 122nd for Napoli, one more than Slovakia’s Marek Hamsik.
Mertens, who is dabbed “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.
Fabian Ruiz’s goal had given Napoli a semi-final first-leg lead in front of almost 60,000 fans in Milan on 12th February.
There were no supporters present as Napoli finished off the job despite conceding after two minutes.
Napoli, who last won the competition in 2014, will meet Juventus in the final. The match will be with no fans on Wednesday at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
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