Napoli 'teenagers' held to 1-1 draw by Sassuolo in Serie A
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MILAN — Napoli was again made to count the cost of missed opportunities as it was held 1-1 by Sassuolo in Serie A on Monday.
"We should have killed the game off, when I saw two, three lost chances in the area when we were 1-0 up, I got angry," Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said. "We're not in a bad patch but in a period where the results don't match our performances.
"Tonight the team put on a very high-level performance, but we sat back when we could have killed off the game. In that the team showed themselves to be teenagers and not adults, also because as soon as they equalized we again started to press, with the same attitude again that we should have also had at 1-0 up."
Lorenzo Insigne fired the hosts in front three minutes from the break, cutting inside and curling in under the crossbar. The ball went in with the aid of a slight deflection off former Napoli defender Paolo Cannavaro — who had been given a warm welcome by the Partenopei fans at the start of the match.
It was Insigne's third goal in two matches.
Napoli has struggled to score goals with Arkadiusz Milik sidelined until at least February after tearing a cruciate ligament in his left knee in October.
"We miss him, but I think almost every team in the league would miss a player like him," Sarri said.
Milik was signed to replace Gonzalo Higuain, who transferred to Juventus for an Italian-record 90 million euros ($100 million) after breaking a 66-year-old Serie A record with 36 goals for Napoli last season.
Napoli again failed to close out the match, wasting several chances to do so, and paid the price when substitute Gregoire Defrel powerfully volleyed home Marcello Gazzola's cross to equalize eight minutes from time.
The home side almost snatched a late win but Jose Callejon hit the right post in stoppages.
Sassuolo had also hit the woodwork, with Simone Missiroli's header coming off the crossbar shortly after the hour.
Napoli remained seventh, four points behind second-placed Roma and AC Milan, and eight points behind league leader Juventus.
Sassuolo, which became the first side to field an all-Italian starting 11, stayed 16th.
INTER MILAN 4, FIORENTINA 2
Inter Milan almost let another commanding lead slip but held on for a first victory under new coach Stefano Pioli, piling more pressure onto Fiorentina counterpart Paulo Sousa.
Inter scored three goals in the opening 19 minutes.
"We have shown that we can do important things," Pioli said. "When we slow down we get in difficulty ... I saw a lot of positive things, and so many other things that we need to work on.
"I think the squad has the qualities to play a certain type of football, we didn't manage the ball well in the second half. We want to control matches. The idea is to win them. Now we have to immediately think about the next match against Napoli."
Inter took the lead with less than three minutes on the clock after Fiorentina defender Gonzalo Rodriguez attempted to clear Cristian Ansaldi's cross but it fell to Marcelo Brozovic, who smashed it into the back of the net.
Fiorentina goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu could only parry Ivan Perisic's low cross six minutes later and Antonio Candreva slotted in the rebound from six yards.
Mauro Icardi scored a magnificent third, turning Gonzalo and dribbling past Davide Astori before firing past Tatarusanu.
Inter had let a two-goal lead slip in Thursday's 3-2 defeat to Hapoel Beer-Sheva and there were fears of a similar collapse when Nikola Kalinic got in front of Danilo D'Ambrosio to reduce the deficit.
However, any hopes Fiorentina had of pulling off an astonishing comeback diminished when Gonzalo was controversially sent off for barging over Icardi.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Fiorentina got back into the match on the hour as Josip Ilicic finished off a counterattack.
Icardi sealed matters in stoppage time, with his 12th goal of the season, moving him level with Roma forward Edin Dzeko at the top of the goalscoring charts.
Inter moved into eighth place, a point above Fiorentina.
Last week Fiorentina fans hung banners on the gates of the stadium calling for Sousa to resign.