Runaway Serie A leaders Napoli and defending champions AC Milan face off on Sunday at Stadio Maradona, setting up their clash on Europe’s biggest stage.
This will be only the second time in their history that Napoli will face Milan with a 15-point advantage over their rivals, signifying a possible changing of the guard from one Italian champion to another. The match is scheduled for Sunday evening.
Napoli is coming off a strong performance, having secured a 4-0 victory over Torino before the international break. This win followed their defeat to Lazio at the start of March, after which they bounced back by beating Atalanta BC 2-0 and Champions League opponents Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 in Naples.
Napoli’s impressive victory over Frankfurt has cemented their position as strong contenders for glory in Europe’s premier club competition. However, before focusing on their European campaign, they must overcome Milan in this month’s quarter-finals.
Napoli Serie A Form: W W L W W
They suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Udinese just before the break, despite Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring from the penalty spot and becoming the club’s oldest goalscorer. Unfortunately, his efforts were insufficient to secure the team’s win.
Milan’s struggles have been particularly evident regarding defending against headers. They have now conceded the most headed goals in Serie A, and only four teams in Europe’s top five leagues have conceded more goals in that manner. This is an area they will need to work on to improve their performance in future matches.
Furthermore, Milan’s return to European competition next season is not guaranteed. They are trailing behind Lazio and city rivals Inter in the second-place race. Several other teams are also vying for a spot in European competitions, including a resurgent Juventus.
AC Milan Serie A Form: W W L D L
Osimhen sustained an adductor injury while representing Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. As a result, he has been ruled out of action for at least two weeks.
Unfortunately, they will be without their star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who picked up a thigh injury while on international duty. This is a significant blow for Milan, as Ibrahimovic had just returned to the team after a long layoff.
In addition to Ibrahimovic, Milan will be without Pierre Kalulu, who is out injured. As a result, Stefano Pioli may be considering a return to a four-person defense for the upcoming match.
Napoli’s expected starting lineup:
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Kim, Rrahmani, Rui; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Politano, Simeone, Kvaratskhelia
AC Milan’s expected starting lineup:
Maignan; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Hernandez; Bennacer, Tonali; Diaz, Krunic, Leao; Giroud
Head to Head
According to available data, Napoli and AC Milan have faced each other 28 times in the last several seasons.
Out of these 28 meetings, Napoli has emerged victorious in 12 matches, while AC Milan has won 5. There have also been 11 matches between the two teams have ended in a draw.
Time, Date & Venue
Date: Sunday, April 2
Time: 06:45 pm, UTC
Venue: Stadio Diego Armando Maradona stadium, Naples city
Napoli has been in excellent form in Serie A lately, with 21 wins in their last 23 matches and no draws in the same period.
However, the absence of their star striker Victor Osimhen due to injury and the disruption caused by the international break may make things more challenging for them in their upcoming match against Milan.