Olivier Giroud and Mike Maignan send the Rossoneri to the semi-finals of the Champions League

Thanks to Olivier Giroud’s goal, and Mike Maignan’s penalty saved at the end of the match against Naples (1-1), AC Milan validated their ticket to the last four of the Champions League. A first since 2007 for the Lombard club.

AC Milan can thank its French players. Already decisive in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final won a week ago (1-0) by AC Milan against Naples, Mike Maignan saved a penalty at the end of the game in the draw on Tuesday April 18 , of the Rossoneri (1-1). Before this decisive stop by the tricolor goalkeeper, Olivier Giroud had done the hardest part to allow the Rossoneri to qualify for the semi-finals of the competition. At the very end of the match, the reduction in Victor Osimhen’s score for the Neapolitans was ultimately anecdotal (90th + 3).

If Maignan was in sight at the end of the match, Giroud had been at the start. In this meeting, the Milanese did not attack much but the top scorer in the history of the Blues was in all the shots. Of the six shots attempted by the Rossoneri, three are from the French. The first on a penalty conceded by Mario Rui and that Giroud did not ensure enough, allowing Alex Meret to push him back (22nd). His first failure in the exercise since 2012.

Giroud catches up

A few minutes later, Giroud was once again defeated by the Neapolitan goalkeeper, when he was in an ideal position (28th). Two huge missed opportunities that shook Milan fans, aware of the difficulty of qualifying for the last four on the lawn of the Diego Maradona stadium, where a great Naples is playing this season, undisputed leader of Serie A.

But unlike its opponent in this double confrontation, AC Milan was able to make the difference. By Olivier Giroud, therefore, who took advantage of a comeback from his camp and a perfect serve from Rafael Leao to score in the empty goal (42nd). Touched in the first period in the right leg, Giroud gave way in the 68th minute and witnessed a tense end to the match from the bench.

Until the additional time of the second period, Mike Maignan believed to achieve a new clean sheet. Facing him, the Neapolitans shot on goal for a long time without finding the target. Before this hand from Fikayo Tomori in his area, offering a penalty and the possibility of reviving Naples to Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. The Georgian, huge this season but completely muzzled during these home and away matches, came forward lacking in confidence.

A 100% Milan duel in the semi-finals?

A lack of assurance that does not forgive against Maignan, very good in the exercise of penalties – 31% of stops outside the penalty shootout -, as he proved against the Netherlands with the Blues on March 24th. Excellent against Tottenham in the round of 16 second leg and against Naples in the first leg, the tricolor goalkeeper took out the attempt from Kvaratskhelia (82nd), before repelling the Georgian’s center shot at the start of additional time (90th + 1).

The goalkeeper of the Blues was too short on the head of Victor Osimhen a minute later (90th + 2) and this quarter-final second leg therefore ended in a draw which allows AC Milan to qualify for the semi-finals. The Rossoneri find the last four of the Champions League for the first time since the 2007 edition of the competition, which they then won. In the semi-finals, they could find their best enemies Inter Milan, who play their quarter-final second leg against Benfica on Wednesday.

source site-18