Milan and Inter clash in historic Champions League semi-final

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Christina Remley спросил 1 месяц назад

Hands up… who expected and Inter Milan to be contesting this year’s semi-final? Anyone?Realistically, no fan would have bet a penny on the all-Italian last-four clash, which acts as an advert for football, itself experiencing somewhat of a crisis in the face of the massive dominance of top English and Spanish clubs.Milan have not made the semi-final since 2007, while it is Inter’s first since 2010, and the pair last met in the last four of Europe’s top club competition back in 2003. Technically, the players in that game were a world apart from today’s: Shevchenko, Maldini, Pirlo and Seedorf lining up against Crespo, Recoba, Martins and Zanetti.
Now the oldest and most historic derby in the world will decide which bitter intra-city rival, each with European pedigree woven into their DNA and running through their veins, will represent the city of Milan in the final. And below, Mail Sport‘s Alvise Cagnazzo runs the rule over the two Italian giants and who is in best shape ahead of their decisive clash. AC Milan saw off Napoli in the quarter-final Inter got past Benfica to reach the last four AC Milan and Inter Milan are poised to go head to head in the Champions League semi-final  The two intra-city rivals will battle it out to represent Milan in the Istanbul final on June 10 The two intra-city rivals will battle it out to represent Milan in the Istanbul final on June 10  AC MILAN: KEY PLAYERS Olivier Giroud Milan seem to be riding their luck with Giroud. The almost-37-year-old striker is still decisive but at his age is susceptible to numerous muscle injuries.No spring chicken, he can no longer play 50 games a year but is certainly one of the only players in the attack that manager Stefano Pioli can count on.Ante Rebic, Charles De Ketelaere, Divock Origi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have all been disappointing for various reasons, and club chief Paolo Maldini could overhaul the attack by getting rid of everyone except Giroud.If the French striker is ruled out, Milan are only half as likely to reach the final, and Pioli will have to make smart choices to protect the veteran’s fragile physique.Five goals in 10 Champions League games, eight in 26 in Serie A: these are the numbers of an ageless ‘Peter Pan’ striker who dreams of flying with Milan to Istanbul to bring back to Italy a Champions League that has been missing for too many years.Mike Maignan No one would have ever imagined seeing Pioli’s team beat runaway Serie A leaders Napoli but football very often springs surprises. Crucial to that victory was influential goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who has replaced double World Cup winner Hugo Lloris in goal for a dominant France side. Striker Olivier Giroud (centre) and Brahim Diaz (right) will be key players for Stefano Pioli's side Striker Olivier Giroud (centre) and Brahim Diaz (right) will be key players for Stefano Pioli’s sideMaignan kept out star winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s penalty in the quarter-final second leg, securing a massive boost at a crucial time. He will need to be in top form against Internazionale as well.Another to be mentioned is right back and captain Davide Calabria, who cancelled out Kvaratskhelia against Luciano Spalletti’s men. As in the ancient myth, David (Calabria) beat Goliath (Kvaratskhelia), fulfilling their winning philosophy in Europe. Similarly, Simon Kjaer had been neglected for a long time amid Malick Thiaw and Pierre Kalulu’s good form but this week he returned to bark out orders and rule the whole defence.Brahim Diaz The on-loan Spanish midfielder is one of only three players superior to those in the Napoli team — who they beat in the quarter-final — along with Maignan and forward Rafael Leao.No 10 Diaz could make his temporary move from Real Madrid permanent this summer for around £22million (€25m) and his performances in Europe have been at the top level, belying his often underwhelming domestic showings. Portuguese wide forward Rafael Leao can be unplayable at times but at others very disappointing — his Jekyll and Hyde performances reflect the team and if he suffers, everyone at Milan does.  INTER MILAN: KEY PLAYERS Nicolo Barella Inter is a difficult team to understand. It’s a set of potentially very strong players who can’t find the right balance, largely because of Simone Inzaghi, the first Italian coach to lead Inter to the semi-finals of the European Cup since Eugenio Bersellini back in 1980-81.Reaching the semi-final of the Champions League is a sporting miracle considering their 11 defeats in Serie A, three of which occurred consecutively at home.This team has tactical and character problems and the nervousness of their spiritual leader Barella weighs heavily, despite his extraordinary goals in both legs of the quarter-final against Benfica.Barella’s performances this season are the most complex to analyse. Sometimes he seems nervous and imprecise, on other occasions he is the best box-to-box midfielder in Serie A. Which one will turn up in the semi-finals?Lautaro Martinez Martinez’ quarter-final second-leg goal could be crucial for his confidence. The bulldozing Argentine striker, 25, has thus far struggled to live up to his stratospherically high standards of last season but has still netted 18 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions this campaign. Nicolo Barella (left) and Lautaro Martinez (right) will be key players for Simone Inzaghi's men Nicolo Barella (left) and son dakika haberleri Lautaro Martinez (right) will be key players for Simone Inzaghi’s menLautaro turning up against AC Milan is even more important given the struggles of erstwhile strike partner Romelu Lukaku, who for close to two years has been playing at 30 per cent of his physical and technical capabilities.The Belgian has never had an understanding with boss Simone Inzaghi and this seems to have penalised him further — with Inzaghi now counting on Martinez to deliver.Denzel Dumfries Crucial to Inter’s system are their wing-backs, and with the left wing-back position seemingly up for grabs between Federico Dimarco and Robin Gosens, one player Inzaghi knows he can trust is Dumfries.The Dutch star is fast, strong, brave and has excellent commitment and technical ability in both attack and defence.It’s no wonder the likes of Manchester United are said to be interested. Left-sided centre half Alessandro Bastoni could be crucial too.  Both legs of the semi-final will take place at the crumbling San Siro stadium - the last-four meeting in Europe's top competition could grease the wheels of a much-needed renovation Both legs of the semi-final will take place at the crumbling San Siro stadium — the last-four meeting in Europe’s top competition could grease the wheels of a much-needed renovationCRUMBLING SAN SIROA full 20 years after their last Champions League semi-final meeting, they will meet again. But is this match a victory for Italian football or a stroke of luck?The situation of the beautiful but crumbling San Siro Stadium the pair share could be hugely affected by the result.According to Italian outlet ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’, the main issue is linked to the place where the new temple of Italian football should be built.After the meeting with the clubs for the new stadium project, as reported by Gazzetta, the mayor of Milan declared: ‘I asked Milan to tell us in two or three weeks if it intends to continue with the Meazza or if he abandons the plan. ‘Do Inter want to build it outside the city? Obviously there are no other suitable areas.’ There is still a lot of confusion and little sharing of ideas between the two teams and even the Italian political sphere is wondering about the future of the old ‘Giuseppe Meazza’ stadium, better known as the San Siro. The duo have already played each other three times this campaign. The teams won one each in the league, with Inter triumphing in the Italian Super Cup. Two more stellar meetings await to underline one’s dominance over the other on the grandest of stages.