Milan face the Champions League rematch against Napoli on Tuesday, after gaining a small advantage. At the San Siro stadium, the Rossoneri won 1-0 in the first leg of the tie that guarantees the presence of an Italian team in the semifinals of Europe’s most important club competition. This Tuesday, however, everything could be different, as in this match that pits small teams against giants, it will be the southern Italians who will be looking to make history… against a historic side.

The Milanese side made the difference with a goal from Ismael Bennacer. Stefano Pioli’s men were able to put the pressure on their opponents for all that Milan means in the Champions League. Seven-time winners of Europe’s most important club competition, the Rossoneri had not reached this stage since the 2011/2012 season, when they were eliminated by Barcelona of Spain. There is no doubt that the Milanese team will try to respect their memory and will seek to reach the semifinals, something they have not achieved since the 2006/07 season, when they were crowned for the last time in the Old Continent.

In any case, Napoli is the one with the best sporting momentum. The difference can be seen in Serie A, where Napoli are top of the league and 22 points clear of Tuesday’s opponents, who are in fourth place. In addition, the Gli Azzurri will be able to count on their striker, Nigerian Victor Osimhem, who has recovered from a left thigh injury and will be present in the offense of the team coached by Luciano Spalletti, which faces one of the most important matches in its history. Without their star striker – he has 21 goals in Serie A, top scorer, and 4 in the Champions League – who returned injured from the last training camp in Nigeria at the end of March, Napoli has lost in recent weeks that differential element, able to offer depth and efficiency.

However, there is a close antecedent between the North and the South, besides the first leg of the Champions League. Last April 2, Milan visited Napoli in the Italian championship and thrashed them 4-0. Of course, this quarter-final is a different kind of match, and neither the history nor the badge of one or the other will play a role. The rematch will be played at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, in Naples, from 16:00, Argentina time.

An almost certain absence for the Neapolitans will be that of Giovanni Simeone, who is still in doubt for the second leg. The Argentine striker is suffering from an injury in the flexor muscle of his right leg and it is not yet known when he will be able to return.

On the away side, 36-year-old Olivier Giroud leads Milan with 12 goals in 37 games. But the Frenchman did not train on Sunday and left coach Stefano Pioli with the dilemma of having to turn to Ante Rebic or Divock Origi as replacements, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic also ruled out. “He is fine and is fit to play,” Pioli said of Giroud on Monday. “He had a small problem during the week, but he recovered,” he added.

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