AC Milan will aim to accomplish a rare feat by becoming the first team to beat Napoli in three different matches in a single season since Lazio achieved it in 1994-95.
If they manage to do so, they will secure a spot in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, where they will face either Inter Milan or Benfica.
Milan have won their last three away matches against Napoli, which is their joint-longest winning streak against them on the road. The last time Milan defeated an opponent away from home twice in a single competitive season was against Sampdoria in 2015-16.
Milan holds a 1-0 advantage from the first leg at San Siro and could qualify for their first UCL semi-final since 2006-07. However, Milan fans should be cautious as the team has been eliminated twice before from UCL knockout rounds after winning the first leg, against Deportivo de La Coruña in the quarter-final (4-1 first leg, 0-4 second leg) in 2003-04 and against Barcelona in the last 16 (2-0 first leg, 0-4 second leg) in 2012-13.
Napoli fans should also worry about their team’s history, as they have been eliminated from their last 10 European knockout ties after losing the first leg. The only time they progressed to the next round after trailing in the first leg was in the 1988-89 UEFA Cup quarter-final against Juventus, overturning a 2-0 first-leg defeat to win 3-2 on aggregate before going on to win the tournament that year.
Milan secured a victory in the first leg of their UCL tie against Napoli at the San Siro, thanks to Ismaël Bennacer’s goal in the first half.
This marked the sixth goal that Milan scored against Napoli across all competitions in 2022-23, which is twice the number of goals scored by any other opponent against Napoli.
Milan is the only team to beat Napoli more than once in the season, with 40% of Napoli’s defeats coming from them. Milan is also the only team that prevented Napoli from scoring on more than one occasion this season, with a 4-0 win in Serie A and a 1-0 victory in the first leg of their UCL tie.
Napoli will miss André-Frank Zambo Anguissa due to his suspension following his dismissal in the first leg, becoming only the second Napoli player to receive a red card in a UCL game, but the return of star striker Victor Osimhen will surely be a huge boost for the Partenopei.
In their second trip to Naples this season, Milan hopes to replicate their recent success, where they beat Napoli 4-0 in their Serie A clash.
The goals scored by Rafael Leão, Brahim Díaz, and Alexis Saelemaekers led to Napoli’s heaviest league defeat since December 2007 and their biggest margin of defeat in a home league game in nearly 23 years (October 2000). In the match, Milan had eight shots on target, the most Napoli faced in a Serie A game this season.
Milan’s recent form has been inconsistent, but they seem to perform well against Napoli. Despite winning only two of their last eight matches since March, both victories came against Napoli, the current Serie A leaders. Milan drew their last two Serie A matches, a 0-0 at home against Empoli and a 1-1 away draw against Bologna.
Milan has lost four and won two away games since January 14, losing to Lazio, Inter Milan, Fiorentina, and Udinese in Serie A but defeating Monza and Napoli. Napoli, on the other hand, hasn’t won their last two matches, having lost to Milan in the first leg of the UCL tie and drew 0-0 at home against Verona in Serie A.
This is the first time Napoli have gone winless in two consecutive matches since August, and they haven’t failed to score in two consecutive games since December 2020.
Napoli won Group A in the 2022-23 Champions League ahead of Liverpool, Ajax, and Rangers, scoring 20 goals in the process, the fifth-highest in a UCL group stage. In the round of 16, they defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0 on aggregate.
Although they drew a blank in the first leg against Milan, they are still one of the highest-scoring teams in the Champions League this season, with 25 goals, tying with Manchester City.
Milan progressed to the quarter-finals of the UCL after beating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 on aggregate in the last 16, winning 1-0 at the San Siro before drawing 0-0 in London. They finished second in Group E, behind Chelsea, but ahead of RB Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb.
Napoli – Victor Osimhen
Victor Osimhen’s return to the Napoli squad for the second leg against Milan is definitely a boost for the Italian side. With 25 goals already in his bag, he has been their most prolific scorer this season.
Osimhen’s form has been impressive, with a better minutes-per-goal ratio than all but two of the top five European league scorers this season. Additionally, he has scored four goals in his last four UCL appearances, which makes him a significant threat to Milan’s defense.
However, Osimhen has yet to score in two previous appearances against Milan. Napoli will need him to be at his best and break that streak if they want to have any chance of overturning their first-leg deficit.
A quick goal from Osimhen would certainly set the tone for Napoli and could put Milan under pressure.
AC Milan – Rafael Leao
Rafael Leao will surely be a key player for Milan in this second leg against Napoli. His impressive performance in their last meeting will give him confidence, and Milan will be looking to him to create chances and score goals once again.
With his ability to beat defenders with his dribbling, take shots from distance, and provide assists for his teammates, he could prove to be a match-winner for Milan on Tuesday night.
Napoli has a 55.5% chance of winning the fixture against Milan at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Tuesday, while Milan has a 44.5% chance of getting either a draw or win to take them through to the potential Milan derby in the semi-finals against Inter.