Serie A: Top-two battle ends all square as Dzeko earns Inter draw at Napoli

The result leaves the Italian champion one point clear of Napoli below it with a game in hand, but third-placed AC Milan will go top if it beats Sampdoria on Sunday.

Inter Milan's Nicolo Barella shoots at goal during the match.   -  REUTERS

 Inter Milan retained the top spot in Serie A with a 1-1 draw in a top-of-the-table clash at Napoli on Saturday, as Edin Dzeko responded to an early Lorenzo Insigne penalty.

The result leaves the Italian champion one point clear of Napoli below it with a game in hand, but third-placed AC Milan will go top if it beats Sampdoria on Sunday.

Insigne fired the hosts in front in the seventh minute after Stefan de Vrij trod on Victor Osimhen's foot in the box, and Piotr Zielinski almost made it two with a shot that thumped the post.

Inter struck back early in the second half when Dzeko profited from a fortuitous deflection to hammer home a finish, as Simone Inzaghi's side avoided a second damaging defeat in a row following last weekend's Milan derby loss.

The Nerazzurri's derby defeat opened up the title race and handed Napoli the chance to go top with a win in its bid for a first league title since the Diego Maradona-inspired 1989-90 season.

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The hosts took an early lead when referee Daniele Doveri awarded a spot-kick after a look at the pitchside VAR monitor, which captain Insigne dispatched.

Zielinski was inches away from doubling Napoli’s lead with a curler from the edge of the box that struck the woodwork, while Denzel Dumfries dragged a shot well wide from a good position with Inter’s best chance of the first half.

Inter levelled less than two minutes after the restart when Dzeko’s header struck Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s foot and bounced back into the path of the Bosnian, who drilled a finish off the bar and in from close range.

The visitor had captain Samir Handanovic to thank for keeping it level, as the Slovenian reacted sharply to stop an Osimhen strike before superbly charging down an Eljif Elmas effort at the back post.

Elsewhere, Mattia Zaccagni scored a double to add to a Ciro Immobile penalty as sixth-placed Lazio beat Bologna 3-0 in Rome to move three points behind Juventus in fourth.

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