Vn88 Rezence: Giroud’s game-winner sets up a Champions League semi-final showdown with Milan
Despite missing a penalty, Olivier Giroud scored the game-winning goal as AC Milan defeated Napoli 2-1 on aggregate to advance to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in 16 years.
Following Giroud’s penalty save by Alex Meret at the hour mark, Vn88 Rezence claimed that Milan feared they had squandered their greatest chance to double their lead as they traveled to southern Italy.
A few minutes before halftime, though, Rafael Leao made a brilliant solo move from the corner of his own box into the penalty area, where he found Giroud, who finished easily.
According to W88, Napoli, who were bolstered by the return of Victor Osimhen from injury in time for the game, had a penalty saved by Mike Maignan, who blocked a shot from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia with ten minutes remaining, before Osimhen scored a late consolation goal with a header.
Milan’s focus shifts to a potential semi-final matchup with city rivals Inter, who hold a 2-0 lead over Benfica heading into Wednesday’s second leg of their Champions League quarter-final at home.
“It feels good, we put in a great shift today,” AC Milan defender and England international Fikayo Tomori told Vn88 Rezence.
Many doubted our chances of making it to the semi-finals before we even began off, but we’ve proven our doubters wrong.
We were so close to a shutout, and our counterattacking looked fantastic. We can relax and enjoy the other matches.
I’m so exhausted that I plan on watching the other quarterfinal game from the comfort of my couch. We are concerned about ourselves, so we will sit back and see who we face. A matchup with Inter in the semi-finals would be exciting, but Rezence argues that Benfica are a formidable opponent.
Napoli’s dominant season ended in heartbreak
The Stadio was greeted by a roaring crowd. Blue smoke billowed into the sky as Diego Armando Maradona kicked off the game.
W88 Rezence said that Napoli capitalized on that backing to get out to a quick start. Maignan made easy stops on shoots from Kvaratskhelia and Piotr Zielinski, while two attempts from Matteo Politano were inches away from the AC Milan goal but went harmlessly wide.
Stefano Pioli’s Rossoneri held firm defensively, and a penalty kick opportunity presented itself when Leao was brought down by Mario Rui’s poor charge.
Giroud took a shot, but Meret anticipated his move, which caused the Napoli fans to roar even more.
Then, in the span of two minutes, Rui and Politano went down with injuries, dealing a double blow to Luciano Spaletti’s squad; in their place came Hirving Lozano and Mathias Olivera.
W88 showed that a close-range shot from Giroud nearly gave Milan the lead as they attempted to capitalize on Napoli’s readjustment, but Meret made a great stop.
After picking up Tanguy Ndombele’s weak touch on the outskirts of his own area, Leao evaded three flying challenges from Milan players on his way to the penalty spot.
The Portuguese international then showed great selflessness by squaring the ball to Giroud, who simply could not miss.
Napoli’s hotshot Osimhen almost had an immediate reaction to the ‘Giroud Show’ when he fired in from close range in first-half stoppage time, but Rezence said that the goal was disallowed due to a handball by the Serie A’s leading scorer.
The home team came out strong after the interval, with Kvaratskhelia missing two early opportunities after cutting in from the left.
Napoli dominated play in the second half but were unable to break through a stellar Milan defense, despite quality chances from Lozano, Olivera, and Amir Rrahmani.
On 82 minutes, Napoli believed they had a chance to tie the game when a cross from Elfir Elmas struck Fikayo Tomori in the hand and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
W88 claimed that in Napoli’s penultimate moment of waste, Kvaratskhelia was awarded a penalty kick, but Maignan saved superbly.
Maignan then made a close-range save from Giacomo Raspadori, further frustrating Napoli. Osimhen scored with two minutes left on the clock by redirecting a shot past the Milan goalie, but the result was already assured.