MILAN — There have been plenty of expectations round Napoli within the UEFA Champions League’s quarterfinals in opposition to AC Milan, however the workforce coached by Luciano Spalletti misplaced 1-0 within the first leg in Milan after the deciding purpose scored by Ismael Bennacer on the San Siro. Napoli are at the moment main and dominating the Serie A season, having a 16-point benefit over Lazio and probably can win their first Scudetto in 33 years in few weeks, however European glory was all the time going to be way more troublesome.
Spalletti’s workforce have been thought-about, most likely, the principle candidates to go to the Champions League remaining this season when the quarterfinal and semifinal draw occurred, contemplating they’re dealing with AC Milan within the quarters and would face one between Inter and Benfica within the semifinals in the event that they get by way of.
However, Napoli misplaced the primary match in opposition to AC Milan and must flip issues round within the second leg subsequent Tuesday on the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. After shedding 4-0 at house ten days in the past to Milan, Napoli already misplaced twice in opposition to Stefano Pioli’s workforce this month, conceding 5 targets with out scoring as soon as. Napoli must be frightened massive time, and here is why.
First of all, Napoli must take care of some key absences. Korean defender Kim Min-Jae was booked within the first leg at San Siro and can miss the second match in Naples, and the identical goes for midfielder Zambo Anguissa, who bought a pink carded and can routinely miss the second leg as properly. These are undoubtedly two massive absences for Spalletti, who must depend on depth. At the identical time, striker Giovanni Simone can even miss the second leg after additionally lacking Wednesday’s recreation after medical examinations confirmed a first-degree pressure of the precise hamstring and can be out for the entire month.
The solely excellent news comes from Spalletti himself, who introduced after the match in opposition to AC Milan that Victor Osimhen can be again subsequent week.
“Victor will 100% be out there for the second leg on the Maradona on Tuesday. He can be there with us,” he mentioned.
The comeback of the Nigerian striker could be big information for the Azzurri as Napoli have struggled with out him recently, shedding two of their final three, each of the video games in opposition to Milan.
Talking concerning the video games in opposition to their Italian counterparts, Napoli must be frightened about how Stefano Pioli managed to win each clashes in lower than ten days. Pioli’s tactical system (he is again taking part in with the 4-2-3-1) and Ismael Bennacer taking part in as a defensive quantity ten modified the way in which the Rossoneri performed these two video games. The place of Bennacer, who scored the profitable purpose within the first leg, creates a difficulty for Napoli when they should come from behind. Stanislav Lobotka is the important thing participant when Napoli begin to create from their defensive midfield and the strain of Bennacer, who can be supported by Sandro Tonali and Rade Krunic, turned a profitable consider each Serie A and Champions League clashes. It’s not a coincidence that Napoli’s exceptional performs of the primary leg occurred solely after they managed to interrupt that strain.
Lastly, Napoli shouldn’t be affected by the strain of the surroundings, which isn’t simple to maintain underneath management. The metropolis and the followers are buzzing to have a good time a historic league title for the primary time in 33 years, however on the identical time, that is additionally including most likely an excessive amount of strain to this present squad. Spalletti is aware of that and was very clear within the post-match interview on Wednesday, referring to the clashes that occurred between Napoli followers in the course of the match in opposition to AC Milan ten days in the past, which have been as a result of an outdated controversy between some ultras teams and the proprietor of the membership, Aurelio De Laurentiis.
“If it occurs once more within the second leg, I depart the bench and I am going away. Even the boys, who’re distinctive however delicate, deserve it. We performed in an surroundings that did not assist us and it is troublesome to elucidate.”
Napoli are nonetheless in a very good place to overturn the results of the primary leg, contemplating they misplaced solely by one purpose. While AC Milan may have taken extra benefit of it and are most likely a bit disenchanted, Napoli’s finest information of the evening was that they solely conceded one purpose and something can occur subsequent week.
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