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Milan facing uphill battle against Inter

Mission Impossible? Why things REALLY don't look good for Milan's UCL final hopes

May 15, 2023 By Michelle Bonsu
The Rossoneri come into the second leg of their UCL semi-finals game 2-0 down, and will need to overcome an Inter side who were by far the better team in the first leg.

On Tuesday, Milan will face Inter in the fifth Derby della Madonnina of the season. The Rossoneri come into this tie at a huge disadvantage following their 2-0 defeat to the Nerazzurri last week, and now will need to stage one of their biggest comebacks ever if they hope to feature in the showpiece final in Istanbul next month.

However, it's safe to say that things will not be easy for Stefano Pioli's side, for a wide range of reasons. Here are some of the glaring troublesome facts that Milan will need to overcome if they wish to take on either Real Madrid or Manchester City in this season's Champions League final.

1. History is NOT on their side

Had Milan lost 1-0, or even 2-1, things might be a lot different. But losing by two goals or more - things get a lot more dicey, especially at this juncture. To date, only one team have been able to book their spot in the Champions League final after losing by more than two goals in the first leg of a semi-final.

We don't need to rewind too far back to find out who that side is; in fact, that historic comeback will probably still be fresh in most football fans' minds.

Back in 2019, Liverpool were beaten 3-0 by Barcelona, leading many to believe that it was all over for the English powerhouse. But the Reds had other ideas as they successfully put the Blaugrana to the sword, scoring four sans reply to turn the tie on its head and earn a ticket to the final, where they beat Tottenham 2-0 in an all-English affair.

As noted, this has happened only once in history, but as the saying goes, if something happens once, it could certainly happen again. Will Milan be able to look to Liverpool (ironic, given the history between the two teams) for inspiration as they hope to find a way past their cross-town rivals?

2. Milan's poor form

The Rossoneri will come into this contest having lost 2-0 to Spezia at the weekend, a shocking result given the gulf between the two clubs. That isn't exactly how any manager would want to prepare for an upcoming game - especially not one in which his team need to overhaul a significant deficit in a knockout tie.

Overall, Milan have lost their last three meetings with Inter, all without scoring a single goal. They've never gone four without scoring against their familiar foes, but will need to do more than just grab one if they want to have any hopes of featuring in their first Champions League final in well over a decade.

3. Worrying injuries to key players

Star striker Rafael Leao cut a very frustrated and dejected figure in the stands, as the Portuguese international was forced to watch from the sidelines due to an injury. Milan will be really hoping that he will be able to be involved in some capacity on Tuesday, as the team's attack looked stagnant without his pace and trickery.

To compound matters, Ismael Bennacer is now out for the rest of the season after suffering a nasty knee injury that will require surgery. The Algerian international has proven to be another key player for Pioli's side and his absence will be really worrisome for a team desperately needing some kind of creative spark.

This interesting stat shows just how importance Leao is to his team:

For Milan fans, these stats will not present encouraging reading. However, as we have seen time and time again, anything is truly possible in football, but will this be a bridge too far for the Rossoneri?

Well, after 90 minutes (or possibly more) of football at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Tuesday, we will know the answer to that question.

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