NAPLES - Inter were held 0-0 for the first time in 53 league matches as Napoli gave José Mourinho's side a hard game at the Stadio San Paolo.
An entertaining encounter saw the woodwork hit three times and some exciting counter-attacking play, but it's points that count and the Nerazzurri, who move seven clear of Roma at the top, will regard this one as a valuable away result.
Mazzarri's men made a strong start in front of their vociferous home fans and Marek Hamsik fired a warning in the 10th minute. Zanetti made a clearance from Gargano's inswinging cross and the Slovakian latched onto the loose ball before cannoning his long-range effort onto the crossbar. Denis chested down the rebound but couldn't get a close-range shot in as Samuel timed his challenge perfectly.
Fabio Quagliarella rifled into the side-netting and smacked a crisp shot wide before Julio Cesar's amazing save from Denis as the Azzurri created plenty of first-half chances. Inter went close on the half-hour when Sulley Muntari's well-taken left-foot shot from the edge of the area bounced back off the bar.
Inter threatened De Sanctis's goal in an attacking start to the second half, the Napoli keeper saving Sneijder's crisp effort from edge of the box before making a punched block from Pandev who brilliantly turned his marker after receiving from Mariga.
Napoli dominated the remainder of the game in terms of chances and were left rueing a series of misses. Julio Cesar narrowed the angle well to thwart Hamsik who diverted Quagliarella's cross-shot on target. Quagliarella then rattled the post with a low effort from Denis' headed pass and the Argentine blazed his follow-up over with the goal gaping.
Hamsik combined well with Denis as Napoli produced two good chances in the closing stages, but his finishing was left wanting as both efforts flew wide as the Azzurri were left to settle for their sixth goalless draw this season.
Napoli 0-0 Inter
Napoli: 23 De Sanctis; 14 Campagnaro, 28 P.Cannavaro, 2 Grava; 16 Zuniga (21 Cigarini 81), 5 Pazienza, 23 Gargano, 6 Aronica; 17 Hamsik; 27 Quagliarella, 19 Denis.
Subs not used: 1 Iezzo, 3 Rullo, 8 Dossena, 9 Hoffer, 18 Bogliacino, 77 Rinaudo.
Coach: Walter Mazzarri.
Inter: 12 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 25 Samuel, 39 Santon; 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso, 11 Muntari (17 Mariga 46); 10 Sneijder; 27 Pandev (9 Eto'o 71), 22 Milito.
Subs not used: 1 Toldo, 2 Cordoba, 7 Quaresma, 8 Thiago Motta, 15 Krhin.
Coach: José Mourinho.
Referee: Roberto Rosetti (Turin).
Booked: Pazienza 2, Maicon 20, Muntari 27, Zuniga 45+2, Sneijder 51, Gargano 86.