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The odds for AC Milan vs Inter have been provided by the DraftKings sportsbook. Bet $5 and get $150 in free bets instantly.
This will probably be a close encounter, but we think the Nerazzurri have the edge. Back Inter to beat AC Milan in the first leg of this Champions League semi-final. (+145)
There is no overwhelming favorite in either Champions League semi-final. Just as it would not be a huge shock to see either Manchester City or Real Madrid contesting the Istanbul showpiece next month, both AC Milan and Inter have a decent chance of advancing beyond the last four.
By common consensus, though, Inter are the likelier finalists. That might actually suit Milan. Stefano Pioli will no doubt exaggerate the extent to which his team are unfancied in discussions with his players. It could be a powerful motivating tool.
Not that either group will need much firing up. In fact, both managers will preach the importance of cool heads in such a fiery atmosphere. “Play the game, not the occasion,” will be an instruction heard on both sides of the divide.
Milan won the Serie A title last term, but they have not been able to keep pace with a magnificent Napoli side this time around. At the time of writing they are outside the top four, leaving their participation in next season’s Champions League in doubt.
The Rossoneri deserve huge credit for eliminating Napoli in the quarter-finals, though. A 2-1 aggregate victory represented a major upset, with most tipsters expecting the Serie A leaders to advance.
Still, it is notable that Pioli’s men have won only half of their 10 European fixtures this term. They did not exactly light up the group stage, taking 10 points from a possible 18 against Chelsea, Red Bull Salzburg, and Dinamo Zagreb.
However, you cannot fluke your way to a Champions League semi-final. Milan deserve to be here - and they do not want their adventure to end yet.
Were it not for their run to this stage of the Champions League, Simone Inzaghi might well be unemployed right now. Inter went on a five-game winless streak in Serie A in March and April, denting their chances of a top-four finish.
Thankfully for Inzaghi, he guided Inter past Porto and Benfica in the Champions League around that time. In fairness to the former Lazio head coach, he has a reputation for being a good cup manager. Inter won the Coppa Italia last term and are through to this year’s final. In knockout competitions, they tend to come alive.
More broadly, Inter have rediscovered their top form at the best possible time. They have won five matches on the bounce domestically, including victories over Juventus and Lazio at San Siro, and an impressive 2-0 win at Roma on Saturday with a semi-rotated XI.
Their recent run will have boosted Inter’s confidence ahead of this first leg. When they are operating at full throttle, few teams in Italy can match them. Based on the quality at Inzaghi’s disposal, the Nerazzurri should be much closer to Napoli in the Serie A title race.
Still, reaching the Champions League final for the first time since 2010, when Jose Mourinho led Inter to a historic treble, would more than make up for their shortcomings in Italy’s top tier.
Far from being out of a job, Inzaghi would instantly become a club legend were he to lead Inter to European glory.
UEFA’s decision to scrap the away goals rule in 2021 was controversial. But even supporters of the rule are glad it will not be in use on Wednesday.
Exactly 20 years ago, Milan and Inter went head-to-head in the Champions League semis. The first leg ended 0-0. The second was a 1-1 draw.
Milan, officially the away team in that second match, advanced on away goals. Both games took place at San Siro, the stadium these two clubs share.
It was a highly unsatisfying conclusion to what was a tight tie with little to choose between the sides. We anticipate a similarly cagey couple of games this month. The stakes are high and both Milan and Inter will prioritize the avoidance of errors, especially in the first leg.
So while this is set to be an engaging affair, do not expect a seven-goal thriller on Wednesday. One strike might be enough to win it. Neither team, you feel, would be too disappointed with a draw with another 90 minutes (or more) to come.
On balance, though, we fancy Inter to come out on top. This is a team for the big occasion. Inzaghi’s side have already beaten Milan twice in 2023, once in the Italian Super Cup and once in Serie A.
Inter have played some excellent soccer in recent weeks, and they probably have a stronger starting XI man for man. We agree with the assessment of the best online sportsbooks that the Nerazzurri are the narrow favorites - back them to triumph in this week’s first leg.
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Teams: AC Milan vs Inter
Location: San Siro, Milan, Italy.
Date and Time: May. 10, 2023, 3 p.m. ET
How to Watch: CBS, Paramount+
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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