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AC Milan 1-0 Napoli: Ismael Bennacer strikes as Rossoneri take slender first-leg advantage

Ismael Bennacer celebrates giving AC Milan the lead against Napoli in the Champions League quarter-finals with team-mate Davide Calabria
Ismael Bennacer’s goal was his first in the Champions League

Ismael Bennacer’s first-half goal gave AC Milan a slender advantage over Napoli in the first leg of their all-Italian Champions League quarter-final.

The Algeria midfielder struck home from the edge of the area after Braham Diaz broke superbly on the halfway line.

Napoli had Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa sent off in the second half and were well held by an organised Milan.

Milan also came close to a second goal when Simon Kjaer’s header bounced off the underside of the bar.

Napoli, in the Champions League last eight for the first time, were straight out of the traps, demonstrating a belief that comes from being 16 points clear at the top of Serie A.

Georgia winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia had their best chance of the game in the opening minute after a poor clearance fell at his feet, but his effort from eight yards out was blocked on the line.

Napoli, the highest scorers in the competition this season, continued to push, with former Fulham midfielder Anguissa and Piotr Zielinski having efforts tipped over the bar.

Milan, who won 4-0 at Napoli 10 days ago in Serie A, weathered the storm and then grew into the game as Portugal winger Rafael Leao broke forward from his own half and slid an effort inches wide of the far post.

The 40th-minute winner was sparked by former Manchester City youth product Diaz, who showed great skill to let the ball run and turned to take two Napoli midfielders out of the game.

Bennacer, who played once in two years for Arsenal, then met Leao’s cut-back with a left-footed finish, which was helped into the roof of the net by the outstretched foot of visiting goalkeeper Alex Meret.

Milan’s Danish defender Kjaer was extremely unlucky with his powerful first-half stoppage-time header bouncing about a yard from the line after it struck the bar.

The second half was scrappy, with chances at a premium, but Anguissa earned two yellow cards in less than four minutes.

The first was for pulling down Theo Hernandez as the Frenchman looked to hit Napoli on the counter, before Anguissa caught the Milan left-back again with a high boot in the 74th minute.

Napoli will also be without defender Kim Min-jae for the second leg, which takes place next Tuesday, after he was booked for dissent in a frustrating second period.

Despite being a man down, though, Napoli almost found a late equaliser but Mike Maignan did superbly to claw Giovanni di Lorenzo’s effort behind for a corner.

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AC Milan

  1. Squad number16Player nameMaignan

  2. Squad number2Player nameCalabria

  3. Squad number24Player nameKjaer

  4. Squad number23Player nameTomori

  5. Squad number19Player nameHernández

  6. Squad number33Player nameKrunic

  7. Squad number8Player nameTonali

  8. Squad number10Player nameDíaz

  9. Squad number4Player nameBennacer

  10. Squad number17Player nameRafael Leão

  11. Squad number9Player nameGiroud

  1. Squad number12Player nameRebic

  2. Squad number56Player nameSaelemaekers


  1. Squad number1Player nameMeret

  2. Squad number22Player nameDi Lorenzo

  3. Squad number13Player nameRrahmani

  4. Squad number3Player nameKim Min-jae

  5. Squad number6Player nameMário Rui

  6. Squad number99Player nameZambo Anguissa

  7. Squad number68Player nameLobotka

  8. Squad number20Player nameZielinski

  9. Squad number11Player nameLozano

  10. Squad number7Player nameElmas

  11. Squad number77Player nameKvaratskhelia

  1. Squad number17Player nameOlivera

  2. Squad number21Player namePolitano

  3. Squad number81Player nameRaspadori

  4. Squad number91Player nameNdombélé


AC Milan

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 16Maignan
  • 2CalabriaBooked at 90mins
  • 24Kjaer
  • 23Tomori
  • 19Hernández
  • 33Krunic
  • 8Tonali
  • 10DíazSubstituted forRebicat 80′minutes
  • 4BennacerBooked at 60minsSubstituted forSaelemaekersat 67′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 17Rafael Leão
  • 9Giroud


  • 5Ballo-Touré
  • 12Rebic
  • 20Kalulu
  • 25Florenzi
  • 27Origi
  • 28Thiaw
  • 30Messias
  • 32Pobega
  • 46Gabbia
  • 56Saelemaekers
  • 83Mirante
  • 90De Ketelaere


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Meret
  • 22Di LorenzoBooked at 70mins
  • 13RrahmaniBooked at 90mins
  • 3Kim Min-jaeBooked at 78mins
  • 6Mário RuiSubstituted forOliveraat 81′minutes
  • 99Zambo AnguissaBooked at 74mins
  • 68Lobotka
  • 20ZielinskiBooked at 38minsSubstituted forNdombéléat 81′minutes
  • 11LozanoSubstituted forRaspadoriat 69′minutes
  • 7Elmas
  • 77KvaratskheliaSubstituted forPolitanoat 81′minutes


  • 5Nunes Jesus
  • 16Idasiak
  • 17Olivera
  • 19Bereszynski
  • 21Politano
  • 55Østigård
  • 70Gaetano
  • 81Raspadori
  • 91Ndombélé
  • 95Gollini

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