Napoli will have to make do with the league title this season. After an unlucky evening against AC Milan, they were again unable to win in the quarter-finals of the Champions League (1-1). Our compatriots played no significant role at Milan.
It was a cannon start from Napoli. Under the impulse of the Georgian revelation Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, they received one corner kick after another in the opening quarter, Milan had to fold back completely. However, there were no great opportunities: the Neapolitans did not get much further than a shot from Kvaratskhelia, parried by Milan goalkeeper Maignan.
Out of the blue, Milan won a penalty after just over twenty minutes after a mistake by Mario Rui on Rafael Leão. Normally a piece of cake for Olivier Giroud, but Alex Meret went to the right corner. It was only the second time in his career that the French striker has missed a penalty, the previous one dating back to 2012.
Third time good time
For a moment it seemed to be a real bad luck evening for Giroud, because a few minutes later he encountered the strong goalkeeper Meret again. Five minutes before the break, Rafael Leao then unleashed his devils. The Portuguese speed demon started his run deep in his own half and offered Giroud the opening goal. Now he really couldn’t miss: 0-1.
In the meantime, it was a real bad night for Napoli. The Neapolitans saw two players injured with Politano and Rui just over the half hour. They did not receive a penalty after a dangerous tackle by Leao on Lozano and just before half-time Osimhen’s equalizer was (rightly) disallowed for handball.
Even after the break, things did not work out for the league leader in Italy. Again Kvaratskhelia and Lozano couldn’t frame their attempts, top scorer Osimhen couldn’t break open the Milan wall either. Ten minutes before the end, they did get their penalty kick, but Kvicha Kvaratskhelia missed. The Georgian revelation did not disappoint, but had a lot of bad luck in the finish. Osimhen’s equalizer in minute 93 came much too late.
Better without Belgians
At Milan, none of the four Belgians were in the starting line-up. Aster Vranckx is not on the European list, the year-old Divock Origi (28) and Alexis Saelemaekers had to make do with a substitute, Charles De Ketelaere did not leave the bench. Last weekend, all four of them were still in the starting line-up and then Milan did not get any further from 1-1 on the field of Bologna. The Milan-Belgians may be in the semi-finals of the Champions League, but they will have to raise their level if they want to play a significant role in it.