The reigning Champions of Italy won on Walter Mazzarri’s debut against Atalanta and lost to Real Madrid midweek in a 4-2 thriller. Victor Osimhen was back in the starting XI two months after that thigh injury, but with Mario Rui and Mathias Olivera injured, Natan moved to left-back. Alessandro Bastoni and Benjamin Pavard were still out of action.
Eljif Elmas stepped in for not fully fit Piotr Zielinski and within 100 seconds had stung Yann Sommer’s gloves with a screamer from distance.
Marcus Thuram had the ball in the net on 12 minutes after a give-and-go with Lautaro Martinez, but had wandered inches offside.
There was more bad news for Inter, as Stefan de Vrij limped off with an adductor strain just 18 minutes in, replaced in the back three by Carlos Augusto.
Elmas tested Sommer again at the base of the near post, while Amir Rrahmani did just enough to prevent Lautaro Martinez tapping in the Denzel Dumfries assist after a cheeky Nicolò Barella no-look pass.
Matteo Politano almost scored against his former club with a rocket from range that smashed against the crossbar.
Inter also had a huge opportunity when Lautaro Martinez sprung the offside trap and got in front of Giovanni Di Lorenzo to flick the awkwardly bouncing ball, but Alex Meret bravely rushed out to parry from point-blank range.
The deadlock was broken just before half-time when Dumfries nodded down a Federico Dimarco cross and Barella laid it off for Calhanoglu’s daisy-cutter from 20 metres out, taken first time with the right boot into the bottom corner. Napoli were furious, feeling Lautaro Martinez had fouled Stanislav Lobotka much earlier in the move.
Osimhen went down under a Francesco Acerbi challenge catching the back of his ankle, but the referee waved play on and Kvaratskhelia’s ferocious angled drive was fingertipped inches wide.
Moments later, Inter doubled their lead with Barella’s first Serie A goal of the season. Lautaro Martinez rolled across and the first touch was decisive, steering it between Amir Rrahmani and Leo Ostigard, then with a shimmy of the hips getting himself through the gap to prod home from six yards.
Lautaro Martinez should’ve made it 3-0 only to balloon the Dumfries pull-back over from 12 yards. Osimhen saw his glancing header graze a coat of paint off the far post, then another attempt on a corner was somehow kept out by Sommer from point-blank range.
Inter held out under pressure and added a third late on, Barella finding Juan Cuadrado down the right, with the ball rolled across the six-yard box for a Thuram tap-in.
Napoli 0-3 Inter
Calhanoglu 44 (I), Barella 61 (I), Thuram 85 (I)
(Assist: Nicolò Barella)
(Assist: Lautaro Martínez)
(Assist: Juan Cuadrado)