The Champions League returns to action this week, with Milanese rivals AC Milan and Inter Milan locking horns in Wednesday’s first leg for a chance to take on either Manchester City or holders Real Madrid in the final next month.
As the Official African Partner of AC Milan, Premier Bet are proud to be representing a Champions League semi-finalist this season! Read ahead for team news and betting insights into Wednesday’s huge occasion at San Siro Stadium.
AC Milan were dealt a potential blow when their star forward Rafael Leão – whose parents are Angolan – was forced off with a hamstring issue after only 11 minutes against Lazio on Saturday, but his team-mates managed to get the job done without him by securing a crucial 2-0 victory to stay within two points of Serie A’s top four.
Given the importance of Wednesday’s tie, Rossoneri boss Stefano Pioli will give Leão every chance of starting, while the 23-year-old reassured his fans via Instagram: “Don’t worry about my injury, I’ll be back soon. I’ve had treatments and slept all day. I want to play and achieve my goals.”
With six goal contributions throughout April alone, Leão’s absence would clearly be keenly felt should he be unable to start. However, France full-back Theo Hernandez will provide plenty of attacking thrust down their left flank either way, with his experienced compatriot Olivier Giroud ready to apply the finishing touch to any chances which may come his way.
Inter, meanwhile, remained in Serie A’s Champions League qualification positions by edging out their former manager Jose Mourinho’s Roma 2-0 at the weekend. Romelu Lukaku – of Congolese heritage – appears to be finding form at the right time with six goal contributions in his last three matches.
However, Simone Inzaghi’s side will be without defenders Milan Skriniar and Robin Gosens through injury, but World Cup winner Lautaro Martinez is ready to partner Lukaku in a fearsome attacking duo after being rested on Saturday.
With so much at stake for these two Italian giants, many bettors will be attracted to opposing goals in what is likely to be a tight first leg. Each of AC Milan’s last eight games have seen Under 2.5 Goals scored (and 15 of their last 18 matches going back to early February), with this also landing in 15 of Inter’s last 21 matches.
The market has unsurprisingly made Under 2.5 Goals a short price at odds of 1.59 but it could still be worth backing, especially if Leão is not able to start. If you fancy a more open game than expected, you can back Over 2.5 Goals at odds of 2.22.
Despite goals potentially coming at a premium, Giroud has bagged five times in 10 Champions League appearances this season, including the decisive opener against Serie A’s runaway leaders Napoli to take AC Milan through to this stage. The France forward is an attractive price at 3.30 to score anytime.
For Inter, Martinez is the second top goalscorer in Italy with 19 league goals this season and may fancy his chances of adding to his tally at odds of 2.80, while Lukaku has been priced at odds of 3.10.
If you’re looking for a couple of longshots in this market, Ismael Bennacer has been playing in a more advanced midfield role than usual of late, scoring crucial goals against Napoli and Lazio, while Hernandez is AC Milan’s usual penalty taker. You can back them to score anytime at 9.60 and 7.00 respectively.
Lastly, in what will almost certainly be a fiery encounter, bookings seem inevitable with Over 5.5 Cards priced at odds of 1.71. However, it is worth baring in mind that Portuguese referee Artur Dias averages only 2.75 yellow cards per game in 20 Champions League matches across his career.
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