We look ahead to the first leg of this historic UEFA Champions League semi-final with our AC Milan vs Inter Milan prediction and preview.

Milan vs Inter: Quick Stats

Match Preview

Are the glory days of Serie A back? José Mourinho’s Roma are in the Europa League final a year after winning the Conference League. Fiorentina are in the Conference League semi-finals. And, while we don’t know which way this tie will go, one of the Milan clubs will contest the Champions League final. Italy will once again have a representative in the final of Europe’s biggest club competition, six years after Juventus lost to Real Madrid in 2016-17.

For both AC Milan and Inter Milan, it’s been a long time since they last sat at Europe’s top table.

The Rossoneri are participating in their seventh UEFA Champions League semi-final but first since 2006-07. They’ve lost the first leg in each of their last two (vs. Barcelona in 2005-06 and Man Utd in 2006-07), although they did manage to come back and progress to the final in the most recent.

For Inter, it’s just the third time they’ve advanced this far in a UCL season. They lost the first leg in 2002-03 against their opponents for this tie, Milan, and were eliminated, while they won the first leg in 2009-10 against Barcelona and went on to win the competition that season.

This will be the fifth time Milan and Inter have faced each other in European competition, with Milan unbeaten across the previous four (W2 D2). They previously met at this stage of the UEFA Champions League in 2002-03, with Milan progressing to the final on away goals (1-1 on aggregate).

But that was then. And this is now. The two sides have already met on three occasions across all competitions in 2022-23, and while Milan won 3-2 in their meeting last September, Inter have won each of the last two (3-0 in the Italian Super Cup and 1-0 in Serie A). Simone Inzaghi’s side are favourites on the night to win at 6/4 but given their excellent recent defensive record against their great rivals, you can boost that to 11/4 by selecting them to win to nil.

It can be said that both sides have reached this stage in the competition by being rock solid at the back. Milan have only conceded one goal in their last six matches in the competition, with that lone strike coming in the 93rd minute against Napoli last time out. They’ve rode their luck at times facing 86 shots, 27 shots on target and an xG against of 6.8 in that timeframe, but they’re allowing their opponents shots worth just 0.08 per attempt. There’s something robust about Stefano Pioli’s backline.

For their part, Inter have been solid too. They’ve kept a clean sheet in six of their 10 matches in the Champions League this season, while they’ve never previously managed seven in a single campaign in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League. The Nerazzurri have lost just one of their last six away games in the Champions League (W3 D2), keeping four clean sheets in the process.

With that in mind – and especially as this is a first leg – opposing goals might be the way to go. Under 1.5 goals in available at 3/1, while 0-0 is a 7/1 shot.

Additionally, with news emerging that Rafael Leão is an injury doubt, Milan lose their most potent player and could be content to keep the game close for when he returns in the second leg.

Key Players

Milan: Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud just keeps on delivering. Despite missing an early penalty in the second leg against Napoli, the Frenchman was on hand to make amends 20 minutes later to put Milan ahead on the night. It was his fifth goal in the competition this season, and with two assists, he’s been involved in more Champions League goals than any other Milan player (seven). It’s Giroud’s best return in a single season in the competition, while the last Milan player to be involved in more was Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2011-12 (nine).

He is 13/5 to scoring anytime in the tie, and 6/1 to score first.

Olivier Giroud Champions League Goals 2022-23

Inter: Romelu Lukaku

While 2022-23 has been a lean year for Romelu Lukaku, there are signs he’s starting to wake up at just the right time. He’s scored just six goals in Serie A this campaign, but three of those have come in his last four games, while he’s also created three assists across that time.

There’s no denying his pedigree on Europe’s biggest stage either. The Belgian has scored 21 goals in 28 appearances in the knockout rounds of major European competitions.

Lukaku has an excellent penalty record – including scoring one in the last round against Benfica – and he is 3/1 to score in this fixture. Lukaku to score and Inter to win 1-0 is a huge 22/1.

Recent Form

Since progressing past Benfica in the quarter-finals, Inter’s form has been exemplary. They’ve won five matches on the bounce, scoring 15 and conceding just one goal across those games. That run includes a 1-0 victory over Juventus in Coppa Italia and a 2-0 away win at Roma as Inzaghi and Co. hunt a top-four finish.

Since dispatching Napoli 4-0 in Serie A back at the start of April, Milan haven’t lost a game, and upheld that streak at the weekend against Lazio. But they’ve not been blowing teams away, scoring just eight goals in those seven fixtures since Naples, and drawing four of those matches. However, they are clearly a tough team to beat and the victory over Napoli in their UCL quarter-final has shown their serious resilience.

Before that tie, Milan slugged out a 1-0 aggregate victory over Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in the last 16. After winning 1-0 at the San Siro via an early Brahim Díaz strike, they played out a goalless draw in London to make it to the last eight. They finished second in the group stage behind fellow quarter-finalists Chelsea but ahead of RB Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb in Group E.

Inter made it through the UCL group stages after finishing second in Group C behind Bayern Munich but ahead of Barcelona and Viktoria Plzeň. The Serie A side then beat Porto in the last 16, before getting past Benfica in the previous round.

Last Meeting

Inter 1-0 Milan: 5 February 2023 (Serie A)

Inter 1-0 Milan Serie A 2023 xG shot map

Milan and Inter have already met on three occasions across all competitions in 2022-23, and this game was the third of those encounters. Inter made all the running in the first half, with Lautaro Martínez twice going close to open the scoring. The Argentine broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark, heading in a Hakan Calhanoglu corner past Ciprian Tatarusanu in goal. Calhanoglu’s whipped in-swingers were something that Milan really struggled to deal with and could be an aspect of the game to look out for.

Martínez thought he’d sealed the game late on, but his goal was chalked off by VAR for offside.

Milan registered just four shots on the night and accumulated a measly 0.32 expected goals, their lowest in a Serie A game this season.

Inter 1-0 Milan Serie A 2023 xG race

AC Milan vs Inter Milan Prediction

AC Milan vs Inter Milan Prediction

The Opta supercomputer predicts this one to be a very close affair, with Inter (39.2%) just shading it on the night. Milan at 31.7% aren’t too far behind, while the draw is rated at 29.1%.

Overall in the tie, Inter are our favourites to progress to the final, with the supercomputer given them a 62.1% of doing just that. Should they progress, they’ll then face the winner of Manchester City vs Real Madrid.

And it’s on the outright market where some value might lie. Man City are unsurprisingly the supercomputer favourites to win the competition this year at 48.6%, but Inter (22.9%) are next ahead of Real Madrid (16.9%). That means the 13/2 outright price on Inter to win the whole thing could be value if you trust what the supercomputer is laying down.

Milan vs Inter UCL Squads

Milan: Mike Maignan, Andrea Bartoccioni*, Antonio Mirante, Lapo Nava*, Fotios Pseftis*, Davide Calabria, Fodé Ballo, Theo Hernández, Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori, Simon Kjær, Alessandro Florenzi, Malick Thiaw, Matteo Gabbia, Dorian Paloschi*, Andrei Coubis*, Andrea Bozzolan*, Davide Bartesaghi*, Adam Bakoune*, Ismaël Bennacer, Sandro Tonali, Brahim Díaz, Tommaso Pobega, Rade Krunić, Alexis Saelemaekers, Kevin Zeroli*, Antonio Gala*, Christian Foglio*, Olivier Giroud, Ante Rebić, Rafael Leão, Divock Origi, Junior Messias, Gabriele El Hilali*, Jordan Longhi*, Charles De Ketelaere, Federico Mangiameli*, Gabriele Alesi*.

Inter: Samir Handanovič, Alex Cordaz, André Onana, Nikolaos Botis*, Denzel Dumfries, Stefan de Vrij, Raoul Bellanova, Francesco Acerbi, Federico Dimarco, Danilo D’Ambrosio, Matteo Darmian, Milan Škriniar, Mattia Zanotti*, Alessandro Fontanarosa*, Alessandro Bastoni, Roberto Gagliardini, Robin Gosens, Kristjan Asllani, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Nicolò Barella, Valentin Carboni*, Marcelo Brozović, Edin Džeko, Lautaro Martínez, Joaquín Correa, Romelu Lukaku.

*Player List B 

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