Ivan Perisic (right) celebrates after scoring Inter Milan's second goal in the 3-2 victory over Napoli in Italian Serie A on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (AP Photo / Antonio Calanni)

MILAN (AP) – Forward Napoli suffered its first defeat of the season, succumbing 3-2 on Sunday at Inter Milan, which revived its claims to revalidate the Serie A title.

The Nerazurri came within four points of co-leaders Napoli and Milan after 13 rounds, as well as ending the Neapolitans’ status as the only undefeated undefeated in Europe’s five major leagues.

Dries Mertens, who brought excitement to the agony of the match by scoring Napoli’s second goal, missed the tie in discounts as he shot over the crossbar.

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti has returned to the San Siro stadium since he was fired by Inter in 2019.

The Spalletti players paid tribute to Diego Maradona, who passed away on November 25 last year. Another Argentine was in charge of scoring the winning goal at 61 minutes

Lautaro Martínez scored Inter’s third goal at the end of a counterattack after being enabled by his compatriot Joaquín Correa, who practically ran from area to area.

Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic preserved the win by repelling a shot from Mario Rui in injury time. The ball hit the crossbar prior to Mertens’ failure.

The visitors went ahead at 17 with the definition of Piotr Zielinski after the pass of Lorenzo Insigne.

Hakan Çalhanoğlu leveled a penalty in the 25th after a hand in the area by Kalidou Koulibaly, confirmed by VAR, when he deflected a shot from Nicolo Barella.

Shortly before the break, Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina drowned out Barella’s goal cry. In the back corner kick, Ospina could do nothing against Ivan Perisic’s header towards the near post.

Martinez increased the difference, but Mertens’ goal put excitement at the end as he discounted at 78 – his 137th goal for Napoli.

Earlier in the day, a penalty taken by Brazilian striker Joao Cancelo allowed Cagliari to come out of relegation by rescuing a 2-2 draw at Sassuolo.

Sampdoria’s 2-0 victory at the Salernitana fiefdom left the newly promoted club taking up Cagliari’s place in the fateful zone.

In addition, Nigerian striker David Okereke’s goal in the second half gave Venezia a 1-0 away win over Bologna.

Ivan Perisic (right) celebrates after scoring Inter Milan’s second goal in the 3-2 victory over Napoli in Italian Serie A on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (AP Photo / Antonio Calanni)

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