A cracking goal from Stevan Jovetic, another Samir Handanovic masterpiece and a Roberto Mancini red card were only some of the highlights in an entertaining game.
Napoli started the stronger and Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic beat away a Dries Mertens curler and pulled off a one-handed save on Jose Callejon, while Geoffrey Kondogbia’s strike was charged down from the edge of the box after great work to set him up from Jovetic.
Handanovic flew to palm away a Manolo Gabbiadini volley from close range, but the ex-Sampdoria forward was caught offside.
Mertens over-hit a return pass that would have sent Gabbiadini clear on goal and Handanovic smothered a scuffed Gabbiadini free kick.
Mertens, Callejon and Jovetic attempted from distance, but both teams remained uninspired and Gary Medel’s difficult volley was just over the bar.
Gonzalo Higuain was thrown on for the final 19 minutes, but it was Inter who broke the deadlock. Marek Hamsik gave the ball away to spark a counter and Jovetic curled a ferocious right-foot finish into the top corner.
Adem Ljajic hit the side-netting and Higuain nodded wide, while Handanovic had to use his legs to parry a Mertens snapshot and flap it away under pressure from Pipita.
Mertens went down in the box under a slight Joao Miranda challenge, but was booked for simulation and it proved his second yellow card.
As Napoli were pouring forward seeking an equaliser, Ljajic struck on the counter, firing past on-rushing Reina into an empty net. It was a tense finale, as Roberto Mancini was sent off for a scuffle with the Napoli bench. Handanovic still had time to make a stunning fingertip save from Higuain’s curler under the bar.