On Wednesday AC Milan and Inter Milan will square off in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final clash at San Siro. Last week, Napoli formally stole the Scudetto from the hands of the Rossoneri, leaving Stefano Pioli’s team with the most coveted European championship as the only way to escape a trophyless season. Milan regained some confidence after defeating fellow Serie A top-four opponents Lazio 2-0 at home on Saturday, keeping them within two points of fourth-placed Inter. However, they may have paid a steep price, though, as outstanding attacker Rafael Leao walked off the ground with a thigh injury that might keep him out of Wednesday’s Derby della Madonnina.
Simone Inzaghi’s club, like their arch-rivals, won against another strong side from the capital, as the duo of Federico Dimarco and Romelu Lukaku had spurred them to a 2-0 triumph against Roma later that day. However, Nerazzurri failed to secure Champions League participation through Serie A for the following season, emphasizing the importance of reaching the championship for the first time since 2010. Despite never challenging Napoli for the Scudetto this season, Inter might still win the double when they face Fiorentina in their Coppa Italia championship later in May. Also Read: Barcelona beats 10-man Osasuna with the help of Jordi Alba’s goal.
AC Milan News
Milan has gone one further after reaching the last eight of the Champions League for the first football since 2013/14, with aggregate wins against Tottenham Hotspur and Napoli helping them set up a first semi-final participation since a winning 2006/07 season. However, unless the Rossoneri find a method to deal with Inter, this may be the last stretch of the road with the seven-time European champions, who have already lost their previous two competitive head-to-heads without scoring.
While this may cause concern in the home side, Milan’s near-perfect six-game record in the previous six tournament semi-final legs hosted at San Siro (W4, D1, L1) may calm their fears. Apart from a 1-0 loss to Barca in 2005/06, Milan had a perfect record.
Inter Milan News
After finishing second in Group C to Bayern Munich, Inter defeated Primeira Liga powers Porto and Benfica in the previous two Champions League playoff rounds. The Nerazzurri’s 5-3 aggregate victory against the Eagle in the quarter-finals enabled Inzaghi to become the first Inter manager to reach the semifinals since Jose Mourinho led them to the title in 2009/10. Defensive consistency has been Inzaghi’s side’s characteristic in the Champions League this season, with wins in ten games and the possibility of seven in just one season for the first time. They will, however, have to overcome a big psychological barrier to beat Milan in this tie, having lost all four past European meetings against them (D2, L2).
Aside from Leao, who is still questionable, Milan manager Stefano Pioli will be missing experienced striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who did not make the Champions League squad. Inter’s Robin Gosens has joined long-term veteran Milan Skriniar on the injured list following a shoulder injury suffered against Lazio a week ago.
AC Milan’s predicted starting lineup is as follows: Mike; Calabria, Tomori, Kjaer, Theo; Tonali, Krunic; Saelemaekers, Bennacer, Diaz; Giroud.
Inter Milan’s predicted starting XI: Onana; Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Martinez, Lukaku.
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