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Insigne gets Napoli back winning, Inter’s woes continue

Milan (AFP) – Lorenzo Insigne’s second-half goal got Serie A runners-up Napoli back winning 1-0 against Fiorentina on Saturday ahead of next week’s Champions League trip to Red Star Belgrade, but Inter Milan’s woes were compounded with a shock 1-0 defeat to Parma ahead of their European opener against Tottenham.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli had fallen to their first defeat of the season before the international break 3-0 in Bologna.

But Insigne broke through after 79 minutes in the San Paolo Stadium, whipping in his 50th Serie A goal following a cross from substitute Arkadiusz Milik, to inflict the first defeat of the season on Fiorentina.

“You can have an off day and that happens, but we gave a strong response on the pitch today,” said Italian international Insigne. 

Napoli move up to second with nine points, equal with champions Juventus who host Sassuolo on Sunday with Cristiano Ronaldo still waiting for his first goal.

Inter Milan’s troubles deepened with a brilliant winner from their on-loan defender Federico Dimarco, who sealed victory for his new club Parma after 79 minutes in the San Siro.

“It’s a painful defeat,” said Inter coach Luciano Spalletti whose side drop to 12th in the table just ahead of Parma.

Inter have only four points from as many Serie A games ahead of their return to the Champions League for the first time since the 2011-2012 season.

“When you find yourself with four points from four games in front of this crowd and considering the fixture list, it becomes difficult to find excuses,” added Spalletti. 

“We need to do more.”

– ‘Brave’ –

The 20-year-old Dimarco came on as a substitute just after the interval and unleashed a fierce long-distance strike into the top corner to score his first Serie A goal.

It gave promoted Parma their first league win this season, and first victory at the San Siro since May 1999.

The two-time UEFA Cup winners were declared bankrupt and demoted to the amateur leagues in 2015, before back-to-back promotions saw them return to Serie A.

“It might seem unthinkable to come here against a great side like Inter and take three points, but I applaud the lads for all their hard work this season and the determination they showed,” said Parma coach Roberto D’Aversa.

“Some of our players were making their debuts in Serie A, so it was important to have the experience from the likes of Bruno Alves and Gervinho.

“We were brave and I think fortune favours the brave.”

Spalletti rang the changes with a view to Tuesday’s Champions League opener, resting last year’s top scorer Mauro Icardi who had been struggling with a muscular problem with right-back Sime Vrsaljko out with a knee injury.

But the hosts failed to consistently threaten despite early chances for new signing Radja Nainggolan and Marcelo Brozovic, with Ivan Perisic also forcing a save from Parma goalkeeper Luigi Sepe.

Icardi came on after the break for Keita Balde and was also denied by Sepe.

But Parma opened the scoring in style when full-back Dimarco dispossessed Brozovic in midfield and fired past Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

Former Arsenal and Roma winger Gervinho nearly added a second but saw his shot saved by Handanovic.

Inter had a penalty appeal for a Dimarco handball turned down after consultation with VAR.

“On the one hand I’m sorry to have scored at Inter because I’m an Inter fan, but I know that this is a very important goal for us,” said Dimarco, an Inter youth academy graduate who also scored in a 3-1 win for the Italy Under-21 side against Albania during the week.

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