AC Milan leads 1-0 on agg.
This is the biggest match of the season for both of these clubs. Napoli has looked like an unstoppable force all year. They have recently struggled without star striker Victor Osimhen leading the attack. It is looking like Osimhen will be fit and ready to play for this match. Napoli would love a spark from the Nigerian international in order to dig out of this one goal deficit in front of the home crowd. AC Milan is struggling in Serie A. Last year’s Scudetto winners are currently stuck in 4th on the Italian table, and risk missing UCL next year if they are eliminated from the competition. Inter is only three points behind AC Milan. Only the top four teams from Italy will make it into UCL qualifications next season, unless of course, one of them wins this year’s UCL. The reigning champion is always an automatic bid.
Napoli had a really rough outing last week and will be without some very important players for this fixture. Andre Zambo Anguissa received a Red Card for a bad tackle and will be suspended from the match. Big number 99’s name doesn’t frequently appear on the score sheet (3 goals / 7 assists across all competition) but he is a key distributor in the midfield. Anguissa’s physicality and precision passing will be missed. Min-Jae Kim is also suspended for this one and that’s a MAJOR blow to Napoli’s back line. Kim has played like a top 5 center back in the world this season. Always in good position, never afraid to be the last man back, stepping and sliding into the right spots to cover teammates, the list goes on. He is also a dangerous guy on set pieces. He is a big physical target. This is worth noting because Napoli have a Serie A leading 15 goals off corners this season. It is a significant strength for them and the loss of Kim will likely have an impact. However, the return of Osimhen will be the biggest impact for Napoli. Osimhen has scored four goals in five UCL matches this year. He also has 21 goals in 24 matches in Serie A and leads the league. Osimhen being the tip of the spear in this Napoli attack is the key to victory. I do not think Napoli can advance unless Osimhen scores. He is a threat from open play, corners, free kicks, and the penalty spot. Get him the ball and watch him work.
AC Milan has a lot going for them. They are facing no player suspension after the last fixture and are sitting on a one goal lead. AC Milan’s defense is very stout and difficult to break down. They also have a prestigious UCL history and have lifted the trophy seven times. (Second only to Madrid’s 14 wins). For me, this match will come down to Fikayo Tomori on the back line. If he is able to have another phenomenal game and limit Osimhen’s chances, AC Milan might be able to grind out an advancement. I believe that with the lead and being on the road, AC will mostly look to defend. I think that if they score, it will be from a quick counter attack. For me, that means Leao would be a player to target over the older and significantly slower Giroud.
Ultimately, I think Napoli wins this match by one and we see our first extra time match of the tournament. It will come down to who makes the fewest mistakes, if any, in extra time. I think Napoli advances in the PK shootout.
- Osimhen Anytime Goal +115 @ FanDuel
- Special K (Khvicha Kvaratskhelia) assist +375 @ PointsBet
- Napoli to qualify +120 @ Barstool