The Rossoneri have their work cut out against their city rivals if they are to reach the Champions League final. Here’s our Inter Milan vs AC Milan prediction and preview.

Inter Milan vs AC Milan: Quick Stats

Match Preview

As if the latter stages of the Champions League weren’t already an exciting enough prospect, throw in a semi-final also being a fierce local derby and you have the ingredients for an occasion that surely could only provide excitement and intrigue. Then one of the teams goes 2-0 up inside 11 minutes of the first leg and the wind kind of goes out of the sails.

Yes, it was pretty much the worst possible scenario for Milan, designated as the home team for the first leg despite San Siro playing host to both games, with the only advantage having more of their own fans present to watch Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan swing the tie heavily in Inter’s favour very early in proceedings.

It was the fastest Milan had ever gone two goals behind in a Champions League match, with the only plus point on the night for the Rossoneri being that they at least didn’t concede more. That performance coupled with Saturday’s Serie A defeat at Spezia led to Milan’s players having to go over to their supporters at the end of the game to face their criticism head on.

AC Milan players face the fans

Inter will be confident of completing the job in the second leg, having beaten Milan three times this season across three different competitions (Serie A, Supercoppa Italiana and Champions League). Should they win on the night, it will be just the second time they have beaten their rivals four times in one season, previously doing so in 1973-74 in Serie A (twice) and Coppa Italia (twice).

Stefano Pioli’s men did beat the Nerazzurri 3-2 in September, though have lost their last three meetings since without scoring despite having 31 shots across those games. They have never gone four games in a row without finding the net against Inter in their history, but their form at the moment is really poor. Inter are favourites to win the game at 21/20, but getting them to win to nil at 12/5 might be a better way to get to a bigger price.

Despite technically being able to play the away leg in their home stadium, Milan have an uphill task. Only one team has ever come back from losing a UEFA Champions League semi-final by two or more goals to advance. However, if you’re looking for omens, the one occasion that happened heavily involved Milan striker Divock Origi, who scored twice as Liverpool overturned a 3-0 first leg deficit to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate at Anfield in 2018-19. Milan are a huge 12/1 to qualify for the final if anyone is feeling superstitious.

Simone Inzaghi will surely have faith in his team seeing out the task at hand. Inter haven’t been behind at any point in the knockout stages of this season’s Champions League (W3 D2) and have kept four clean sheets from five games.

Key Players

Inter: Federico Dimarco

Arguably one of the more underrated players for the Nerazzurri, Dimarco has had a big influence on their Champions League campaign in particular.

The left wing-back has assisted five goals from open play in the competition this season, the most of any player. It is also the joint-most by an Inter player in a single Champions League campaign since records began in 2003-04, along with Samuel Eto’o in 2010-11 and Wesley Sneijder in 2009-10. He’s a juicy 7/1 to break that record in this tie.

Dimarco has six goals and seven assists in all competitions this season from 45 games, while only Antonio Candreva and Emanuele Valeri (both 33) have recorded more successful open-play crosses in Serie A in 2022-23 than his 32.

Federico Dimarco Champions League expected assists

Milan: Rafael Leao

While the Rossoneri struggled with their neighbours last week, a lot of the focus was on who wasn’t in the team. Rafael Leao missed out with a thigh issue and could be seen agonising on the sideline with Zlatan Ibrahimovic as he watched his team-mates get overran by Inter for large parts of the first leg.

When Milan beat Inter in September, Leao scored two of the goals and was a constant thorn in the Nerazzurri’s side, and the expectation is that he will return for the second leg after also not being risked in Saturday’s defeat at Spezia.

Last season’s Serie A player of the year has scored one more goal in the league (12) than he did in the Rossoneri’s title win in 2021-22 (11), but has just one goal in 10 Champions League outings. He is still having a big influence in the competition though, averaging 4.0 attacking sequence involvements per 90, with only Alexis Saelemaekers recording as many but having played less than half the minutes of Leao.

Leao is 10/3 to score anytime in this tie, but given Milan really need to go for it to have any chance of progressing, combining that with both teams to score (9/2) or over two goals in the game overall (11/2) might be better ways to attack.

AC Milan attacking sequence involvement

Previous Meeting

Milan 0-2 Inter: 10 May 2023 (UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg)

It wasn’t meant to be this way for Stefano Pioli. After the impressive elimination of Serie A champions Napoli in the quarter-finals, Milan would have been confident of being able to do similar to their city rivals, only for Inter to become the third-fastest team (10:16) to lead by two goals in a UEFA Champions League semi-final, after Juventus against Manchester United in 1999 and Man United against Arsenal in 2009 (both 10:15).

Dzeko hooked in the opener with a superb left-foot volley from an in-swinging Hakan Calhanoglu corner to put Inter in front in the eighth minute, before Mkhitaryan ran onto a pass from Dimarco just three minutes later to double the lead.

It could have been worse when referee Jesús Gil Manzano awarded Inter a penalty after Lautaro Martinez appeared to be fouled by Simon Kjaer, but the video assistant referee recommended a second look, which led to an overturn as contact on the Argentinian seemed minimal at best.

Courtesy of Dzeko and Mkhitaryan, Inter became the first team to have two players aged at least 34 to score for them in a Champions League knockout match. In fact, Dzeko (37 years and 54 days) is now the second-oldest scorer in a knockout stage game in the Champions League after Ryan Giggs on 26 April 2011 in the semi-final for Manchester United against Schalke (37y 148d).

AC Milan 0-2 Inter Milan xG race

Recent Form

Inter are actually the form team in Italy right now, winning their last five Serie A games, while a Coppa Italia victory over Juventus and last week’s first-leg win against Milan mean they are on a seven-game win streak in all competitions.

It has been quite the turnaround from a run prior to that which saw them win just one of nine games in all competitions (D4 L4), and they are now on the verge of a top-four finish in the league and a Champions League final appearance.

Milan, on the other hand, are floundering and looking in serious danger of not even qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Since their 1-0 win over Napoli in the first leg of their quarter-final, Pioli’s side have won just two of their last eight games in all competitions (D4 L2) and followed up that disappointing loss to Inter last week with an insipid 2-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Spezia at the weekend to leave themselves four points off the top four with three games remaining. It was no wonder their players went over to the fans to apologise.

Inter Milan vs AC Milan Prediction

Things look bleak for Milan as far as the Opta supercomputer is concerned, estimating just a 5.5% chance of them turning things around to reach the final.

As far as the game itself goes, we think Pioli’s men have a 24.4% chance of at least winning on the night, with Inter made favourites at 48.5%, which leaves a 27.1% chance of a draw.

We mentioned that Inter looked like value on the outright market in last week’s preview, and that’s been proven right. The Nerazzurri are at 36.8% to win the competition in June, and that still makes their 3/1 price on the outright market value to us. Unsurprisingly, Manchester City are our favourites to win the whole thing (45.6%) while Real Madrid are the third favourites at 16.1%.

Should any supremely optimistic Milan fans be interested, Opta sees just a 1.4% chance of them managing to claim their eighth European Cup/Champions League trophy.

Inter Milan vs AC Milan Opta prediction

Inter vs Milan UCL Squads

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.

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*.

*Player List B 

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