Ever since the Emirati royals bought Manchester City, the Champions League trophy is the club’s Holy Grail. They came close in 2021 but failed to get their hands on it, losing the UCL final to Chelsea. They are once again in the semi-finals, where they will face the competition’s juggernaut, Real Madrid, for a ticket to Istanbul. It will be an Italian team that will wait there. A team from Milan to be more exact, as AC Milan and Inter will fight for a spot on Europe’s greatest stage.
City fans believe they have the best team in Europe. Do they? Well, they must prove it by knocking out the reigning Champions, the team that has won the trophy with the big ears 14 times. Real Madrid are not an easy opponent, far from it.
Real Madrid and Manchester City met each other in last season’s semi-final as well. The English club won the first leg at home (4-3), but the Spaniards pulled back to win 3-1 in Madrid and get to the UCL Final. Which (of course) they won, beating yet another English club, Liverpool, 1-0.
The Derby della Madonnina, the iconic Milan rivalry between the city’s two great teams, lives again in the Champions League semi-finals. It will be the third time AC Milan and Inter will face each other in European football. The first time was in the 2003 semi-finals when Milan won on away goals, before winning it all in Manchester, beating Juventus on penalties.
When the two Milan clubs were drawn together last time, back in 2005, it was in the quarter-finals. The second-leg match was abandoned, after a flair thrown by Inter fans hit Milan’s goalkeeper, Dida. The Rossoneri ultimately reached the UCL Final (played again in Istanbul), losing to Liverpool in what is regarded as the greatest comeback in European football history.
The last time Milan reached the semis, in 2007, they won the trophy. The last time Inter reached the semis, in 2010, they won the trophy.
Milan will be the “home” team in the first leg, hosting the match in the two clubs’ common stadium. The Rossoneri are 5/4 favourites to win that first match. Inter are offered at 23/10.
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