Ac Milan gets advantage on the first leg match
Watch Ac Milan vs Napoli highlights as Ismael Bennacer goal gave lead for Ac Milan on the first leg of the champions league at Giuseppe Meazza.
Ismael Bennacer gave AC Milan a 1-0 home win over runaway Serie A leaders Napoli in the first leg of their all-Italian Champions League quarter-final, as the visitors had Frank Anguissa sent off in the second half.
Ac Milan vs Napoli Highlights
Bennacer scored a first-half winner as he hammered past Alex Meret to put Milan on course for a first Champions League semi-final since 2007, when they won the competition.
Napoli, who are 22 points ahead of Milan in Serie A but were without injured star striker Victor Osimhen for the first leg, had spells of dominance at the San Siro as they saw an effort cleared off the line in the first minute and hit the bar in the second half.
But Anguissa picked up two yellow cards in the space of three minutes and 45 seconds to see red in the 74th minute to halt their momentum, although Giovanni Di Lorenzo saw an effort well saved by Mike Maignan late on.
Milan, who also hit the bar in first-half stoppage time, will take a narrow lead to Naples for the return leg on Tuesday with Luciano Spalletti’s side without both Anguissa and Min-Jae Kim for the game after the defender picked up a second-half booking.
The winner of the tie will either play Inter Milan or Benfica in the semi-finals, with Inter in control after a 2-0 first-leg win in Portugal.
Napoli, in the Champions League last eight for the first time, may be 16 points clear at the top of Serie A and on course for a first title since 1990 but they lost 4-0 at home to AC Milan in the league earlier this month.
However, they started positively at the San Siro and came close to scoring after just 53 seconds as Khvicha Kvaratskhelia saw his shot cleared off the line by Davide Calabria with Mario Rui blazing over the rebound.
Milan came to life though, when Rafael Leao burst through on goal in the 25th minute only to drag his shot wide of the far post.
But 15 minutes later Leao played a huge part in Milan’s opener as he collected from Brahim Diaz’s superb run to play across for Bennacer who fired home, despite Meret getting a foot to it.
Ac Milan boss on Postmatch interview
Stefano Pioli said, “It’s still 50-50, the result is certainly a bonus bit it doesn’t change much, there’s still all to play for.
“We’re halfway up the mountain but normally the last few bends are the hardest to overcome. A hard match awaits us in Naples none of us think we’re already through.
“I am above all happy to enjoy evenings like this with our fans. The history of Milan speaks to many Champions League victories, but the recent years saw us dream of getting here, so we wanted to enjoy it.
“We didn’t build out well from the back at the start, giving Napoli the chance to hurt us, but we got the first home win over Napoli in three years.”
Lucanio Spalletti on postmatch interview
Napoli’s star striker Osimhen, who is Serie A’s top scorer this season with 21 goals, is yet to play this month due to a thigh strain that kept him out against Milan.
But Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti says their talisman will be back for next week’s return leg.
He told interview in Italy: “The chances of him being available are 100 per cent, because the work schedule it was made in that direction.
“He was rested today and in Saturday’s match to complete the work done by the doctors, then anything can happen.”