AC Milan will be aiming to turn the tide and advance to the Champions League final when they lock horns with arch-rivals Inter Milan in the second leg of the semi-final at the San Siro on Tuesday.
The Rossoneri trail Inter by a two-goal margin after the first leg of the Champions League semi-final. They have not been at their best in recent weeks and slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Spezia in Serie A at the weekend. Stefano Pioli’s side are fifth in the Serie A standings and have a point to prove this week.
Inter Milan, on the other hand, were in the ascendancy right from the off against Milan and secured a vital two-goal advantage in the first leg. First-half goals from Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan did the job for the Nerazzurri, and Simone Inzaghi’s men will now be favourites on paper at home. As far as their league status is concerned, Inter lie third in the table and head into the derby following a fine 4-2 win over Sassuolo.
Inter Milan vs AC Milan – Team News
Inter coach Simone Inzaghi heavily rotated his side in the league fixture against Sassuolo on Sunday. Eight changes were made in total to the team that had beaten Milan in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final last week.
Robin Gosens and Danilo D’Ambrosio recovered from their respective injury problems and returned to the squad against Milan in the first leg, but Milan Skriniar is expected to miss out again.
Likewise, AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli also made changes to his starting XI against Spezia in Serie A. However, that move backfired as Milan fell to a shock 2-0 defeat to Spezia and missed a chance to go joint-fourth with Lazio in the table.
The biggest concern for Milan going into the game will be Rafael Leao, who suffered a muscular injury against Lazio and has missed the last two games. Leao has been a key player this season and Pioli’s side sorely missed his absence in the first leg. Encouragingly for Milan, the Portuguese winger reportedly took part in training sessions with the team on Sunday and should be available against Inter on Tuesday evening.
In addition to Leao, Pioli could also welcome back Rade Krunic, who was forced to sit out against Spezia with a knee problem.
Inter Milan vs AC Milan – Predicted Lineups
Inter Milan predicted lineup (3-5-2): Andre Onana; Matteo Darmian, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni; Denzel Dumfries, Nicola Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Federico Dimarco; Lautaro Martinez, Eden Dzeko
AC Milan predicted lineup (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Fikayo Tomori, Simon Kjaer, Theo Hernandez; Ismail Bennacer, Sandro Tonali; Rafael Leao, Brahim Diaz, Alexis Saelemaekers; Olivier Giroud
Inter Milan vs AC Milan – Key Players
Inter Milan – Nicola Barella
Nicola Barella hasn’t enjoyed a great season as per his high standards. Yet, he remains one of Inter’s most important players, and the central midfielder showed why he is so coveted across Europe with a strong performance against Milan in the first leg.
On Tuesday, Barella will need to bring his A-Game out and create opportunities for the forwards in the final third. How the Italian dictates the game in midfield will go a long way in deciding Inter’s fortunes in the competition.
AC Milan – Rafael Leao
Milan fans will be hugely heartened with the fact that Rafael Leao has returned to training and will be fit to face Inter in the decisive return leg of the Champions League semis.
Leao has been Milan’s MVP for the last two years, delivering eye-catching displays. If the Rossoneri have any hope of turning the deficit and advancing to the final, the Portuguese has to produce his best performance of the season at the San Siro.
Prediction: Inter Milan 2-1 AC Milan
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.