Champion AC Milan showed the limits in the Italian Champions League duel of SSC Napoli and worked out a good starting position for the second leg of the quarterfinals.
The seven-time title holder won 1-0 (1-0) against the undisputed leaders of Serie A in San Siro at home. Ismael Bennacer (40th) scored for Milan.
Naples had started furiously in front of 74,742 Tifosi, after 50 seconds Chwitscha Kwarazchelia missed the first big opportunity. With anger in their stomachs after the most recent 0: 4 smack in the league against Milan, the guests continued to press – until AC freed themselves: Rafael Leon (25th) missed after a counterattack, Algerian Bennacer did better.
And Milan could have done better before the break. Ex-Wolfsburg player Simon Kjaer, who was preferred to German U21 European champion Malick Thiaw, headed the bottom edge of the bar after a corner (45+3). Napoli, who are on the verge of their first championship in 33 years, looked impressed and saved themselves at the break.
With new momentum, Eljif Elmas missed the equalizer (50′), goalkeeper Mike Maignan directed the North Macedonian’s header, who replaced the injured top scorer Victor Osimhen, onto the crossbar. But after the yellow-red card for Zambo Anguissa (74th), hopes dwindled, and Maignan reacted strongly against Matteo Politano (86th).
If the southern Italians want to continue their run in Europe beyond the quarter-finals, they have to improve and take advantage of their chances in next Tuesday’s second leg. After all: So far, Napoli has won all four home games in this Champions League season, including against Liverpool (4-1) and Eintracht Frankfurt (3-0).