Champions League semi-final preview: AC Milan vs Inter
Milan have scored a total of three goals in this Champions League knockout stage so far; that this modest total has been enough to get them to the semis shows that Stefano Pioli’s side might not be goal machines, but they are effective. In their last nine games in all comps they’re unbeaten.
When these sides met in a Champions league semi-final 20 years ago, goals were scarce then too. Though each game took place at the San Siro (as does Wednesday’s match), Milan progressed via the away goals rule, drawing 1-1 as “visitors” in the second leg. The first game, when Milan had been the hosts, had ended goalless.
With away goals no longer a consideration, how does this one pan out? Well, Milan may be without the influential Rafael Leao, which would undoubtedly be a blow; he has produced four assists in this CL campaign, but is recovering from a muscle injury.
Meanwhile, Inter are in lively mood, with five back-to-back wins in all comps. That run includes a win over Juventus, and victory against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico last time out. Plus, they put six past Verona a week ago.
Romelu Lukaku is looking more like his old self for the Nerazzurri, too. Lukaku scored against Roma last time out, and nabbed a brace against Empoli in April. The Belgian scored a penalty against Benfica in the CL quarter-final last month too.
Does that mean Inter coach Simone Inzaghi will play Lukaku from the start? He’s not always been the first choice since his return to Serie A, and didn’t start in either of the quarter-finals against Benfica.
Whoever starts for Inter, the side’s recent excellent form means they go into this one as favourites. But perhaps Milan’s formidable ability to prevent the opposition from scoring can still win out, at least in this first leg.
Even without Leao, Pioli’s Rossoneri may still be canny enough to edge this one. Milan won 1-0 against both Tottenham and Napoli at home in the previous two rounds, and you can back that result at 7/1 here.
Otherwise, you could simply back under 1.5 goals at 9/5. After all, Inter have also been less than prolific at times in this campaign, scoring one goal in their two games against Porto in the round of 16.
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