Champions League Semifinals First Leg: Milan – Inter
Against most expectations Milan have made it to the semifinals of the 2022-2023 Champions League. The opponents can claim to have reached the same stage unexpectedly too. Defeating Napoli in the quarterfinals was a victory against form. Milan had started the calendar year in disastrous form but fortunes had improved somewhat by the time the Champoions League quarter finals came around and the “DNA” showed and Milan beat Serie A leaders. Can the same be done against Inter? Both teams are in a tough and tight league fight for the right to be at next year’s European competition. The rivalry will reach another level having to play two matches inside a week.
Leao limped off very early during the weekend match against Lazio. He claimed that he is fine and could be ready for this match but muscle issues demand caution and he is likely to be replaced by Rebic or perhaps by Saelemaekers and therefore start on the bench. The rest of the starting 11 is likely to be very predictable. Maignan will be behind a back four of Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori and Theo. The latter scored another individual highlight goal in the 2-0 win against Lazio. Tonali and Krunic will continue to start as midfield pivots with Bennacer and Diaz further ahead behind Giroud, to be joined by one of the aforementioned wingers. The game is likely to be a tale of fullback against full back – Theo vs Federico Dimarco in particular – and Inter trying to take advantage of Milan’s defensive line by unleashing Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez behind them and onto Milan’s goal. Form, league form especially, is unlikely to matter with a European final at play.
Romelu Lukaku is likely to be on the bench and there is a chance that ex-Milan player Hakan Calhanoglu will be too. Robin Gosens is on the sidelines joining Milan Skriniar on Inter’s injured list.
The game is expected to bring in record revenue for the team and could be a good international showcase for Serie A, something which it has lacked in recent seasons.
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