For the first time since 2005, two Italian teams will play against each other in the Champions League as Milan will host Napoli tonight at San Siro in the first leg of the quarter finals.
The winner of this match up will face whoever will get through to the semi-finals between Benfica and Inter with football predictions suggesting an all Italian semifinal are really high after the Nerazzurri beat 2-0 the Portuguese side away in the first leg.
Milan have reached the Champions League quarter finals for the first time since 2012 after they have eliminated Tottenham in the last 16. The last time they reached the semifinals was in 2007 when they managed to win the competition.
Napoli have reached the quarter finals stage of the Champions League for the first time in club’s history. No teams has scored more goals than Luciano Spalletti’s side in this Champions League (28) and only Bayern Munich (8) have won more matches than Napoli.
On the other hand, Milan have recorded four consecutive clean sheets in Champions League and they have beaten Napoli 4-0 away the last time the two teams played against in Serie A on April 2nd.
Results from their last five matches in all competitions:
W L W W W
D W L D D
Napoli cannot count on Victor Osimhen and Giovanni Simone as both strikers are out injured. To add bad news to bad news, Giacomo Raspadori in not fully fit as he just came back from an injury only recently.
Luciano Spalletti, during yesterday’s press conference, has stated that it is still not clear if he’ll start the game or not.
If the Italian will be starting from the bench, then Elif Elmas will be deployed as false nine with Hirving Lozano likely to be favoured over Matteo Politano to play on the right and Kvicha Kvaratskhelia to play on the left.
There is one doubt in the defense too as Mathias Olivera is likely to start over Mario Rui as left back. There are no question marks for Milan after coach Stefano Pioli played the second line against Empoli in the last league game.
Olivier Giorud will be the lone striker with Ismael Bennacer playing as number ten. The offensive line will be completed by Brahim Diaz on the right and Rafael Leao on the left.
Pierre Kalulu is back from a calf injury but he won’t be starting the game as Fikayo Tomori’s partner in the center will be Simon Kjaer.
Milan (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Theo Hernandez; Krunic, Tonali; Brahim Diaz, Bennacer, Leao; Giroud.
Napoli (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, KIm, Oliveira; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Lozano, Raspadori, Kvaratskhelia.
Andrea Agostinelli I GIFN