Milan will be in the final of the Champions League but which of its clubs? The Lombard capital will experience, Wednesday, May 10, a necessarily boiling "euroderby" between AC Milan and Inter for a place in the final of the Champions League, a double confrontation that acts the return of Italian clubs to the top of Europe.
If the other half between Pep Guardiola's City and Carlo Ancelotti's Real opposes what is probably best in terms of play, the "derbissimo" promises to be a summit of passions and history between the two neighbors opposed for the 236th time.
"It's not a derby, but THE derby. We know what he means for the club, for the players, the tifosi," Inter coach Simone Inzaghi said.
🎙️ Interview with Simone Inzaghi for Mediaset on the eve of the derby:
"We know the importance that the derby represents for everyone, for ourselves, for the club, for our supporters. We're going to have to play a big derby." pic.twitter.com/NaeaYdW20H
— Inter FR (@InterMilanFRA) May 9, 2023
AC Milan unbeaten in Euroderby
In the Champions League, the two rivals of the Madonnina, the name of the virgin overlooking the Milan Duomo, giving its name to the derby, have already faced each other four times. But that goes back twenty years, to a time when Serie A still attracted the biggest stars of football, some of whom are expected in the stands like Andrei Shevchenko or Cafu.
In 2003, it was already in the semi-finals: Milan had qualified thanks to the goal scored "away" (0-0, 1-1), not without irony since the two clubs share the same stadium, San Siro.
Two years later, it was during an electric shift. The second leg did not go to an end after smoke was thrown by Inter tifosi, one of which hit goalkeeper Rossonero Dida. AC Milan, already winner in the first leg (2-0), had won on the green carpet (3-0).
Ancelotti was then the coach of Milan during these four matches and had thus confirmed the supremacy in the European Cup of the Rossoneri, the most successful in C1 behind Real Madrid (14 victories).
The momentum is for Inter
But will the weight of history be enough against Inter Milan's confidence? Simone Inzaghi's team has indeed won the two derbies played in 2023, notably giving Milan the lesson in the Italian Super Cup (3-0) in January before winning the league (1-0).
Despite a bumpy season, the Nerazzurri have always been at the rendezvous in C1, extricating themselves from a strong group, with Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona, both now out of the race in Europe.
They arrive especially towards the end of the season in great form, during a series of five victories, in all competitions, having beaten Juventus, Lazio and Roma while scoring fifteen goals. Romelu Lukaku has chased his spleen with five goals since the beginning of April, regaining his agreement with Argentine Lautaro Martinez.
AC Milan, for its part, may have to do without its offensive arrow Rafael Leao, released quickly Saturday against Lazio (2-0) after an alert to the adductor of the right thigh.
"He will try to force (Wednesday morning) and we will decide what to do," explained coach Stefano Pioli on Tuesday, who knows that his team is not the same without "Rafa": the Rossoneri have won this season only one of the ten games where the Portuguese has not started, whether he has entered the game or not played at all.
Leao had been decisive in the quarterfinals of C1 against Napoli, decisive passer in the first leg (1-0) as in the return thanks to a fantastic ride (1-1).
Milan will still need him at a very uncertain end of the season, both to dream in the Champions League but also to try to return to Serie A in the top four qualifying for the next C1 - the reigning champions are currently 5th.
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