(Watch Video Highlights) Bennacer’s solitary goal makes difference in AC Milan-Napoli clash

April 13th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Ismael Bennacer finished off a clinical Milan counter-attack to give them the 1-0 lead going into the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final, as Napoli had Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa harshly sent off.

These sides met in Serie A only 10 days ago with a 4-0 Rossoneri triumph in Naples, but this was the first leg of the quarter-final in Europe’s top competition.

It was a very aggressive Napoli start, as in the opening 90 seconds Rade Krunic gifted the ball to Kvicha Kvaratskhelia and Davide Calabria made the goal-line clearance.

Mike Maignan pushed long-range Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Piotr Zielinski strikes over the bar, but Rafael Leao sprinted forward from his own half and drilled inches wide of the far bottom corner in a sign of what he’s capable of.

It was another Milan counter-attack that broke the deadlock, as Brahim Diaz turned between two defenders to sprint forward, tried to combine with Leao, but the over-hit return pass came to Ismael Bennacer to fire in at the back post. It was Bennacer’s first Champions League goal, but also the first conceded by any Italian club in the knockout rounds this season.

They almost had another in first half stoppages, Simon Kjaer’s header on a corner thumping the underside of the bar and bouncing back out off the line.

After the restart, Elmas saw his looping header fingertipped onto the crossbar by Maignan when back-pedalling furiously and Giacomo Raspadori came on for the final 20 minutes.

However, Anguissa received two yellow cards in under four minutes, both for challenges on Theo Hernandez, although on the second he seemed to get the ball.

Kim Min-jae was also booked for a slight push on Alexis Saelemaekers and will be suspended for the second leg, although the card was perhaps more for the dissent than the foul itself.

Nonetheless, 10-man Napoli still threatened with Maignan denying Di Lorenzo at the near top corner and moments later Mathias Olivera nodding a Di Lorenzo cross over from six yards.

Photo Credit: ChampionsLeague/Twitter

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