Luciano Spalletti insisted Napoli "will be ready" and "must not change anything" ahead of their rescheduled Serie A clash – and potential Scudetto-clinching showdown – with Salernitana.

The Partenopei had been set to play on Saturday but will now take to the pitch at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Sunday instead.

It means Napoli now play after second-placed Lazio, meaning the title will be theirs if they win after their nearest rivals fail to beat Inter at San Siro earlier the same day.

Nevertheless, Spalletti says his players remain focused on the task in hand, also urging them not to take anything for granted against in-form Salernitana, who are unbeaten in eight matches.

"We've known for a long time what our direction is," the coach said during his pre-match press conference. "We continue on our path so far, then there are things that are above us that we can't control.

"It's okay to be controlled by other things, and we adapt. But we will be ready to play our game, we would have been ready today anyway. Let's just play.

"We have not entrusted our Scudetto to the judge or to fate, but to our idea of football, to make happy those who wait for us with bated breath for hours at an airport or in the street just to see an Azzurri coach pass by.

"The team must not change anything, and for the desire that I saw this morning, I am convinced that we will play our game.

"I don't know if it will be enough because we will face a strong opponent, they haven't lost in eight games. What happened has motivated the opponents more, but we will do what we had to do today."

Napoli's Serie A clash with Salernitana this weekend has been rescheduled by one day due to public security concerns, it has been confirmed.

The Partenopei had been set to play on Saturday, but will now take to the pitch at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Sunday instead.

The move comes with Luciano Spalletti's side poised to win the Scudetto if Lazio fail to beat Inter at San Siro during an earlier kick-off the same day.

Serie A's decision to postpone the fixture, however, has forced a further reshuffle for Napoli's fixture list, with their game against Udinese affected.

Originally due to take place on Tuesday, the game will now be played two days later on Thursday, in what could be their first game as champions.

It also means Udinese have suffered a further postponement of their own, with their clash against Sampdoria delayed by a day from a week on Sunday to the Monday afterwards.

Massimiliano Allegri was left to rue Juventus' "slow and static" defending after Napoli snatched a dramatic late winner at the Allianz Stadium.

A generally dull contest was settled in the third minute of stoppage time, when Giacamo Raspadori's thumping volley edged the runaway Serie A leaders ever closer to clinching the Scudetto.

The Juve defence were caught napping as Luciano Spalletti's side snatched all three points, and Allegri admitted he expects higher standards from his players.

"It's disappointing to lose a game like that, but we should've done better on the goal," he told DAZN. "We just stopped playing and absolutely need to do better in that sense.

"It’s simple, just look at the move, we are at the 93rd minute and ought to have bodies into the box to defend.

"This is part of the growth process for players, something we take for granted. We were too slow and static in reacting to the ball in that situation."

Juventus saw two goals disallowed in the final 20 minutes, with Angel Di Maria and Dusan Vlahovic both denied, but Allegri refused to blame referee Michael Fabbri for the result.

"We need to stay calm, accept as we always have done the refereeing decisions – good or bad," the head coach added. "Otherwise, we waste energy, because we cannot change the result now.

"The referee was very good today, I congratulate him on his performance."

It was the Bianconeri's first league outing since the reversal of their 15-point deduction, lifting them to third in the table with 59 points - three ahead of Roma and Milan in fourth and fifth respectively.

Nevertheless, Juve still trail Napoli by 19 points and, while praising his players' attitudes in adversity, Allegri hopes they can close the gap and launch a greater title challenge next season.

"This is a surreal situation we were in, and the lads were marvellous," he said.

"We had some difficulties this season, especially after the 15-point penalty. We've still got a lead over Milan and Inter, so now we must pick up the points we are missing.

"This is a season that will help us grow a great deal and next year, we'll be right back up there fighting for the Scudetto."

Luciano Spalletti recalled his long journey to Serie A glory after Napoli took another significant step towards the Scudetto with a dramatic win at Juventus.

Napoli could wrap up the title as soon as next weekend after Giacomo Raspadori's 93rd-minute volley gave them a 1-0 victory in Turin on Sunday.

The gap to second-placed Lazio is 17 points with seven games remaining, meaning it will surely soon be party time for the Partenopei, who have not won the title since the days of Diego Maradona.

Spalletti said Napoli would have to "wait to uncork the bottles", but he only half-heartedly talked down their title celebrations having had his own long wait to this point. The coach is yet to win a league title in his home country.

"I haven't travelled in the window seat," he told DAZN. "I've always hitch-hiked. The fact that I am in a position to win this Scudetto repays all the sacrifices I've made.

"Sometimes I was made fun of because of my boots [on the touchline], but I suffered to have those. I remember well when I couldn't buy them. Since I suffered a few times before, this year I put them on.

"I took a more difficult road than others who start from different levels, and it's probably right for them, too, because in their careers as players they gained such esteem as to start from a higher level."

While Raspadori has not quite had the same difficult path as Spalletti, his first season in Naples has also not been straightforward, limited to only nine Serie A starts due to injury.

Sunday's goal was his second of the season, but it was a big one.

"I am happy because they have shown me that they love me, as they do every day," the forward said.

"There is never a moment to stand still, it was a difficult moment and I worked to get out of it together with the coaching staff. Now, I'm happy for the goal."

Giacomo Raspadori's 93rd-minute volley gave Napoli a dramatic 1-0 win against Juventus on Sunday, securing a rare Serie A double over the Bianconeri.

A remarkable conclusion to the match in Turin was entirely at odds with everything that had gone before, a dull first 70 minutes suggesting the two clubs were taking a collective breath at the end of a manic week.

Juve are back into the top four following their successful initial appeal of an earlier points deduction, while Napoli's full focus is on the Scudetto after crashing out of the Champions League.

If a point then perhaps suited both sides, neither showed it, with Juve twice having the ball in the net in the closing stages before Raspadori grabbed what might be considered a deserved winner.

This encounter was certainly nothing like the reverse fixture, which runaway league leaders Napoli had dominated to win 5-1.

Indeed, the Partenopei created precious little until Victor Osimhen saw three chances come and go in quick succession in the second half.

The forward had a low shot deflected off the outside of the post with 20 minutes remaining, then nodded straight at Wojciech Szczesny from the resulting corner.

Osimhen lifted a first-time effort over the crossbar soon afterwards, and that miss might have proved costly when Angel Di Maria netted a deflected strike on the counter, only for the VAR to highlight a marginal foul in the build-up.

Dusan Vlahovic was also denied after scoring as Federico Chiesa had run the ball out of play, but it looked as though Napoli's last chance had been squandered by Osimhen again when Szczesny saved well.

Seconds later, though, Eljif Elmas crossed from the right, and Raspadori hammered a low strike between the goalkeeper's legs to snatch the points.

Lionel Messi's club future remains uncertain, with his Paris Saint-Germain contract at the end of this season.

The two parties have not reached any agreement on a new deal, while there has been speculation linking the 35-year-old with a return to Barcelona.

Messi has also been linked with big-money moves to clubs in Saudi Arabia and the United States.

TOP STORY – PSG WILLING TO MOVE ON FROM MESSI

Paris Saint-Germain are willing to let Lionel Messi exit on a free transfer in the upcoming off-season, reports the Sunday Mirror.

Contract talks between Messi and PSG have stalled in the months following Argentina's World Cup triumph, having reportedly been close to penning an extension.

The report claims PSG are "in no rush" to extend Messi's deal as interest, with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi looking to run the club in a more sustainable way, relying less on star power.

 

ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich's number one striker target in the off-season remains Napoli's Victor Osimhen following talks with officials and new boss Thomas Tuchel, claims BILD. The German champions are also keen on Tottenham's Harry Kane, Atalanta's Rasmus Hojlund and Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani.

Barcelona are considering off-season moves for Chelsea duo N'Golo Kante and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang , reports The Mirror.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Liverpool and Manchester United will both hold talks with Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister will take place "very soon".

– Brentford’s David Raya, Porto’s Diogo Costa and Valencia’s Giorgi Mamardashvili are all on Manchester United's goalkeeper shortlist to replace David De Gea, according to GiveMeSport.

– Football Insider claims Aston Villa are readying a £55m combined bid for Manchester City pair Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips.

– Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou is on Chelsea's shortlist to be their new permanent manager, reports The Guardian.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is urging his team to take advantage of their Serie A points deduction reprieve as they host leaders Napoli with second place in sight.

The Bianconeri were hit with a 15-point deduction in January after an investigation into a capital gains case, with the club found guilty of alleged breaches in relation to historical transfers.

Former chairman Andrea Agnelli, ex-director Pavel Nedved and one-time managing director Fabio Paratici, who joined Tottenham in 2021, were all suspended from football by the Italian Football Federation (FICG), along with eight other individuals.

Juve's initial appeal to have the deduction revoked proved successful, with the Collegio di Garanzia referring the case back to the FIGC following Thursday's announcement. Nedved and some other former directors have been cleared, although Agnelli and Paratici had their suspensions upheld.

The FIGC could yet punish Juve again after re-evaluating the case, but for the time being the 15 points they lost in January have been reinstated, hoisting them back up third in the table.

It is timely for the Bianconeri as they bid to qualify for the Champions League, and Allegri appreciates the magnitude of the boost.

"We did what was possible after the penalty. It's normal that there was some conditioning but there shouldn't be any excuses. What happened, happened. Now we have to think about what must happen from today until June 4," he said.

"It would be too easy to think about what if... It could be said that [the deduction] brought us together, but maybe we would've won 10 points more than we have without what happened, because maybe in terms of mental conditioning it's difficult to explain.

"I'm happy with what the boys have done, it's something important.

"We had to reset everything, make a mental effort to readjust to what the rankings were and try to get back on track.

"In the meantime we had the Europa League, the Coppa Italia. What we've done has been done well, now we have to do better from here to the end of the season. We have the possibility of going to the final of the Coppa Italia and the Europa League, and we try to go and get Lazio in second place."

They could usurp Lazio as early as Sunday if they do beat Napoli, though even after the Partenopei's Champions League disappointment in midweek, Luciano Spalletti's side represent a huge threat.

Serie A's runaway leaders crushed Juventus 5-1 earlier this season, meaning they are aiming to do the double over the Old Lady for only the fourth time in the top flight.

Napoli's form has become a little patchier in recent times, failing to win three of their previous six games in the league, as many as in their first 24 of the season.

But those disappointments have all been at home. On the road they have been irrepressible, winning each of their past seven away games in the league and 12 of 13, the exception being a 1-0 defeat at Inter in January.

While Napoli were knocked out of Europe by Milan this week, Allegri recognises Napoli's standing.

"There is no desire for revenge. There is just a desire to beat the league leaders who have won seven times in their last seven away games," he said.

"They are strong, they have shown it in Italy and in Europe. Sometimes you lose games that you don't deserve to lose, but in the end the results count.

"Napoli are doing very well. They killed the championship by keeping an impressive away record.

"This is a Napoli that's on its way to winning the Scudetto. They've had an extraordinary season and are deservedly winning [the title].

"It will be a difficult match against a strong team, who came out of the Champions League despite playing a good game and who will try to score as many points as possible to get to the Scudetto as soon as possible."

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly prepared to submit a €150million bid for star Napoli striker Victor Osimhen in the upcoming transfer window.

Osimhen, 24, is in his third season with Napoli after arriving in a club-record €70m move from Lille, and this time around he has put together one of the best goalscoring campaigns in Europe.

With 21 goals in 24 Serie A appearances, and five goals in six Champions League outings, the Nigeria international has been unstoppable.

Now, the world's best clubs have taken notice.
 

TOP STORY – PSG PREPARED TO MEET MASSIVE ASKING PRICE

While there is also said to be strong interest in Osimhen coming from the deep pockets of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain are trying to wrap things up early with a serious bid.

Football Insider is reporting the French giants are ready to meet Napoli's enormous €150m asking price, with the hope they can blow Chelsea out of the water as they consider a £100m (€112m) bid of their own.

Osimhen's contract ties him to the club for two more seasons after this one, but with his value at an all-time high, and with Napoli being able to offer the chance at league titles and deep Champions League runs, the Serie A leaders can demand a substantial windfall.


ROUND-UP

– According to GiveMeSport, Manchester United view Valencia's 22-year-old goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili – who is priced around £45m (€50m) – as a potential long-term replacement for David de Gea.

United are also showing interest in 19-year-old Benfica centre-back Antonio Silva, although they face competition from Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, Real Madrid, Juventus and Liverpool, per Ekrem Konur.

– Football Insider is reporting Liverpool and Tottenham are the two teams 23-year-old Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Evan Ndicka will choose between when his contract expires in a few months.

– According to the Daily Mail, 31-year-old Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino will join Barcelona on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Arsenal sent scouts to Spain to get a closer look at the Real Sociedad duo of 24-year-old midfielder Martin Zubimendi and 26-year-old defender Robin Le Normand, per the Daily Mail.

Manchester City are reportedly keeping a close eye on Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic as a potential replacement for Ilkay Gundogan.

Kovacic, 28, has been a regular starter since arriving from Real Madrid in a £40million transfer back in 2019, but significant upheaval has seen him fighting for his spot in Chelsea's best XI.

With nine substitute appearances among his 23 Premier League outings this season, Kovacic's future at Stamford Bridge is up in the air as he prepares to enter the final year of his current contract.

While City are said to be serious about their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham, it may not stop them making a move for Kovacic, who they purportedly believe could slide in seamlessly in Gundogan's place.

 

TOP STORY – CITY CONSIDER KOVACIC AS BELLINGHAM REMAINS THE PRIORITY

According to GiveMeSport, City are closely monitoring Kovacic's contract situation, and if no extension arrives he could be a prime candidate for Chelsea to ship off.

Further reporting from the Evening Standard adds that Chelsea are planning a "major overhaul" of their squad before June 30 in a race to comply with financial fair play rules.

That newspaper does not mention Kovacic as one of the likely departures, instead naming Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher, Romelu Lukaku, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mason Mount.

City are reportedly not dissuaded by Dortmund's asking price of around £125m for English super-prospect Bellingham, but there has been no indication the teenager would sign off on the move among interest from the world's biggest clubs.

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting Napoli have marked 21-year-old Atlanta United winger and World Cup winner with Argentina Thiago Almada as their top transfer priority.

– According to Sport, Barcelona and Inter are in favour of a potential swap deal that would send 26-year-old midfielder Franck Kessie to Italy in return for 30-year-old Marcelo Brozovic.

David de Gea is on the verge of signing a contract extension with Manchester United, per Forbes.

– Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting Chelsea, United and Paris Saint-Germain target Victor Osimhen will require a €150m (£132m) bid to pry away from Napoli.

– According to TalkSPORT, Aston Villa have renewed their interest in 22-year-old Arsenal talent Emile Smith Rowe after having a £30m bid turned down in 2021.

Luciano Spalletti rued Napoli's inexperience and fitness issues proving costly after being dumped out of the Champions League by Milan on Tuesday.

A late Victor Osimhen strike cancelled out Olivier Giroud's opener in the quarter-final second leg, yet a 1-1 draw in Naples sent Milan through 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-0 win in last week's first meeting.

Spalletti was quick to credit a resolute Milan but suggested Napoli's lack of experience was an issue, coupled with fitness problems after Osimhen returned from injury after missing the first leg.

The Napoli coach told Mediaset: "We congratulate Milan for this qualification, that must be done because they have played two games managing to capitalise to the maximum [on their opportunities].

"This is a sign of a mature team, of players who know how to choose the moments: when to step on the accelerator and when you have to defend yourself with all the team.

"But I also want to congratulate my players. We played a Champions League campaign of the highest level and we played a good match tonight as well.

"We paid for a little inexperience in reading the moments of the match.

"We played with different players with a little tiredness, starting with Osimhen who had not played for twenty days."

Napoli have failed to progress from four of their five Champions League knockout rounds, with their only success coming in the round-of-16 tie this season against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Spalletti's side are also without a win in their last three games in all competitions (D2 L1), having gone winless in just three of their 16 previous games (W13 D1 L2).

A Scudetto will still likely follow with Napoli leading at the Serie A summit by 14 points, yet Spalletti acknowledged his side have slipped away after getting too comfortable following a March 19 victory at Torino.

He added: "We weren't good enough inside the penalty area to score, as they did the only time they came in.

"We were in good condition, both mentally and physically [in the first half], then after the break we found players not in condition and forcing our press a few times.

"The league win against Torino made us believe that the championship was a formality. During these two games, we did everything totally differently."

After seeing Frank Anguissa dismissed in the first leg, in which Ismael Bennacer's strike proved the difference in a 1-0 win for Milan, Spalletti was left frustrated with referee Istvan Kovacs.

Spalletti once again voiced his displeasure with the officiating, suggesting Szymon Marciniak should have awarded a first-half penalty for Rafael Leao's sliding tackle on Hirving Lozano.

"Tonight there's a clear penalty on Lozano in the 37th minute, very clearly, his ankle just twists," he continued. 

"You can see it very well in the replays. You risk twisting his ankle. It's a penalty you can't miss."

Stefano Pioli wanted to focus on enjoying Milan reaching the Champions League last four on Tuesday rather than a potential semi-final meeting with fierce rivals Inter.

Olivier Giroud's first-half strike proved the difference as Milan progressed 2-1 on aggregate past Napoli, who pulled a late goal back through Victor Osimhen at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

Inter could await in the next knockout round for Pioli's side if the Nerazzurri can overcome Benfica on Wednesday, Simone Inzaghi's side leading 2-0 on aggregate heading into the return leg at San Siro.

But Pioli was insistent on celebrating Milan's achievements in reaching their first Champions League semi-final since 2007 after a 1-1 draw sent them through in Naples.

"I prefer to enjoy this qualification, whoever happens will happen," the Milan coach said at his post-match press conference when asked about facing Inter.

"Whoever makes it through, it will be a great semi-final of the Champions League."

The last-four clash will mark Milan's seventh semi-final in UEFA's premier club competition, the joint-most from an Italian side along with Juventus since the Champions League rebrand in the 1992-93 term.

"Another big step that the group has climbed," Pioli added. 

"I thank the club for helping us and I'm happy for the fans who helped us to overcome difficult moments with their support."

Napoli have failed to progress from four of their five Champions League knockout ties, with their only success coming in the last-16 round this season against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Luciano Spalletti's side are also without a win in their last three games in all competitions (D2 L1), having failed to win just three of their 16 previous games (W13 D1 L2).

Yet Napoli will likely soon be crowned Serie A champions, leading the Scudetto race by 14 points with eight games remaining, which made the triumph even sweeter for Pioli.

He added: "Napoli will deservedly win the championship and we are all the more proud of having managed to eliminate them.

"We have put so much into these two games and we won."

Olivier Giroud's first-half strike proved the difference as Milan battled through to the Champions League last four with a 1-1 draw at Napoli to secure a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

Ismael Bennacer's goal last week at San Siro snatched a 1-0 quarter-final lead and Milan deservedly doubled their aggregate advantage in the first half on Tuesday in Naples.

Giroud had an earlier penalty saved by Alex Meret but made amends soon after with his 43rd-minute opener after Rafael Leao's incredible run to create the goal.

Victor Osimhen's stoppage-time strike offered Napoli hope after Khvicha Kvaratskhelia's 82nd-minute penalty was saved by Mike Maignan, but Milan held on to reach their first Champions League semi-final since 2007.

Matteo Politano twice whistled early efforts narrowly wide but the Rossoneri should have struck first when a clumsy Mario Rui lunge on Leao offered Milan a glorious chance from 12 yards.

Yet Meret guessed the right way to deny Giroud's spot-kick towards the bottom-right corner, before again thwarting the France veteran after another tame effort from a gilt-edged opportunity.

The Milan striker made no mistake next time round as Leao showed a remarkable turn of pace down the left before rolling across to Giroud for the simplest of tap-ins.

Victor Osimhen saw a strike ruled out for handball on the stroke of half-time and Kvaratskhelia blasted just over after the interval as Napoli searched for a response.

A Fikayo Tomori handball afforded Napoli a late opportunity to fight back into the clash, though Maignan dived low to his right to thwart Kvaratskhelia.

That penalty miss proved Osimhen's late header from Giacomo Raspadori's cross in vain as Milan battled through to the last four.

What does it mean? Milan frustrate Napoli once more

Runaway Serie A leaders Napoli have been by far and away the dominant force in Italy this season, yet Milan have had the edge over Luciano Spalletti's side.

The Rossoneri defeated Napoli twice in April, yet this draw will likely serve as the most punishing blow after Spalletti's men were sent crashing out of Europe in front of their vociferous home supporters.

A potential semi-final meeting with city rivals Inter awaits for Milan if the Nerazzurri can overcome Benfica in Wednesday's second leg. Simone Inzaghi's side lead the tie 2-0.

Giroud emulating fellow veteran Ibrahimovic

Giroud became the first Milan player to see a Champions League penalty saved since the 2005 final when Liverpool's Jerzy Dudek denied Andriy Shevchenko in the shootout, yet the France striker responded well.

The Milan striker's strike took him onto seven goal involvements in 10 European outings this term, only Zlatan Ibrahimovic has managed more for the Rossoneri in a single Champions League campaign (nine in 2011-12).

Not so super Mario

Rui had a game to forget after needlessly giving away the first-half penalty for an unnecessary and ill-timed lunge on Leao.

The left-back was fortunate to see his blushes spared by Meret but was forced off injured after just 34 minutes, having already lost possession a team-high nine times in a poor showing.

What's next?

Napoli return to Serie A action at Juventus on Sunday, when Milan host Lecce.

Frank Lampard's start to life back at Chelsea has not gone according to plan.

The Blues have lost all three of their games under Lampard, who was appointed on an interim basis earlier in April following Graham Potter's dismissal.

That run included a 2-0 defeat at Real Madrid in the first leg of a Champions League quarter-final tie, with Los Blancos heading to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday with a club record in their sights.

Tuesday's other game sees Serie A leaders Napoli go up against Milan, who lead 1-0 from the first leg of that all-Italian encounter.

With the help of Opta numbers, Stats Perform previews the first two Champions League matches of the week.

 

Chelsea v Real Madrid: Los Blancos hunting sixth straight knockout win

Madrid have won their last five Champions League knockout matches, their joint-longest winning run in knockout games in the competition.

All five wins have come against English teams, with only Barcelona (seven in a row between 2014 and 2016) having a longer winning run against English clubs.

Karim Benzema scored Madrid's opener in last week's 2-0 win at Santiago Bernabeu. The striker's last 11 Champions League goals have come against English teams, while his last 14 have all been in the knockout stages of the competition, the longest such run by a player in Champions League history. Benzema has 14 goals and two assists for Madrid in his last nine appearances in the knockout stages.

Madrid's second was teed up by Vinicius Junior, who has been involved in 20 goals in his last 20 Champions League appearances, scoring 10 goals and assisting 10 goals in this time. Since the start of last season, the Brazil winger is the only player to reach double figures for both goals and assists in the competition.

Madrid have progressed from 18 of their 19 Champions League ties after winning the first leg by two or more goals, failing only in 2003-04 against Monaco in the quarter-finals.

Chelsea do have some hope, however. They have progressed from five of their last seven Champions League ties when losing the first leg away from home, and done so in each of the last two when losing by two clear goals (vs Napoli in 2011-12 and Paris Saint-Germain in 2013-14).

The Blues have lost two of their last three European matches against Madrid (W1), both in Champions League quarter-finals across the last two campaigns. They had not lost any of their first five against them before this (W3 D2).

 

Napoli v Milan: Serie A leaders out to avoid third Rossoneri reverse

Napoli have already lost twice to Milan in April, losing 4-0 in Serie A at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium and 1-0 at San Siro in the first leg of this tie. The last side to beat them three times in one season was Lazio in the 1994-95 campaign.

The omens are good for Milan, who have won their last three away matches against Napoli, all in Serie A, their joint longest away winning run against them. 

Milan have not reached the Champions League semi-finals since the 2006-07 season, when they went on to win the competition. They have only been eliminated twice after winning the first leg of a knockout tie – in 2003-04 v Deportivo de La Coruna in the quarter-final (4-1 first leg, 0-4 second leg) and 2012-13 v Barcelona in the last 16 (2-0 first leg, 0-4 second leg).

Napoli are, however, unbeaten in their last 12 home Champions League matches (W9 D3) since a 4-2 defeat to Manchester City in November 2017. They have won their four home games this season, scoring at least three goals in each victory.

That being said, Napoli have been eliminated from their last 10 European knockout ties after losing the first leg, last progressing to the next round after suffering a first-leg deficit in the 1988-89 UEFA Cup quarter-final against Juventus.

Olivier Giroud could be crucial for Milan. The veteran campaigner has been directly involved in six goals in nine appearances in the Champions League this season (four goals and two assists) – the most by a Milan player in a single campaign since Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 2011-12 campaign (nine – five goals and four assists).

Napoli head into their Champions League quarter-final second leg with Milan facing "no risks", says head coach Luciano Spalletti.

Alongside their dominance in this season's Serie A that sees them closing in on a first league title since the 1989-90 campaign, Napoli have also reached the last eight of Europe's top club competition for the first time.

But an Ismael Bennacer goal meant Spalletti's side slipped to a 1-0 defeat in last week's first leg at San Siro, while midfielder Frank Zambo Anguissa also saw red to leave the Partenopei without one of their key men as they look to overturn the one-goal deficit at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday.

Spalletti, however, believes Napoli should head into the game feeling optimistic, and not under pressure, telling reporters at his pre-match press conference: "Being in the Champions League at this point is already something important.

"We want to move forward, we want to win, so we'll play to win. Then we'll see where we'll end up.

"We believe we can do more. There is no risk in tomorrow's match, we risk infinite happiness. If you win, you go even further."

Napoli lost at San Siro despite having more shots, possession and attempts on target than their opponents, and Spalletti feels his team will have to replicate that performance again on home soil.

"We have to do as in the first leg, where we came out with a slight disadvantage," Spalletti said. "In general, the performance I expect is that of the first leg.

"I am convinced that important situations can only be created if we perform at a high level, if we are intense, if we are good at finding those spaces and getting out of them as fast as possible. I think it will be the same tomorrow night because the team deserves to perform well."

Napoli are looking to come from behind against one of the Champions League's most successful teams, with only Real Madrid (14) winning the competition on more occasions than Milan's seven.

Asked whether he felt there was still a gap in European experience between his players and the Rossoneri's, Spalletti replied: "We're creating experience for ourselves.

"We've played many games in the Champions League, on pitches where we've shown character and personality, I don't see why it should be different now.

"But there's always the possibility to overturn any result and I expect the team to be able to do all the things needed.

"We have to think about playing the game in a normal way, putting everything we have into it. This level of football and competition is a reward for the players, for what has been done so far, a reward for the city for all the affection it has for these players, and we will have to give everything."

Simon Kjaer is relishing being back in the knockout stages of the Champions League, as Milan aim to secure a semi-final spot.

Milan hold a 1-0 lead from the first leg, having last reached the Champions League semi-finals in the 2006-07 campaign.

They have only been eliminated twice after winning the first leg of a knockout tie, though have kept a clean sheet in their last five Champions League matches, the best run by a side since Manchester City in the 2020-21 season.

The Rossoneri have beaten Napoli twice in April, though overcoming the Serie A leaders at home will be no easy task.

For Kjaer, he is revelling in having another shot at playing in the latter stages of UEFA's flagship club competition.

"We are very happy to be here, we deserved this chance and last time we were in this stadium, it went well, so we hope to repeat it," Kjaer said in a press conference.

"You never know when this opportunity will come around again.

"These are evenings that stay with you for the rest of your life, whether good or bad. This is why we play football.

"The other night at San Siro was one of the best experiences of my career with our fans. It will be different tomorrow, but it gives you a sensation that you cannot find anywhere else."

Napoli's star striker Victor Osimhen returned from an adductor injury on Saturday, though could not help Luciano Spalletti's team beat Verona.

Even if Osimhen is fit to start on Tuesday, Kjaer does not hold any fear.

"We will meet Osimhen, just as we do other strikers," he said. "It is never just the work for one defender, it is teamwork and respect."

Stefano Pioli echoed Kjaer's sentiment when it comes to Osimhen, who has netted 25 goals this season.

"He is such a powerful, impressive and decisive striker, so we take his characteristics into account, but at the same time we have our own way of playing football and we won’t move away from that," said Pioli.

"We saw with previous Napoli games that a lot of it is about knowing the moment to slow down and speed up, and that is even more crucial with a player like Osimhen."

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