AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli says his side believes it can overturn a two-goal deficit against Inter Milan in the Champions League semifinal second leg on Tuesday.
Inter capitalized on a fast start to win the first leg 2-0 last week and is the designated home team for the return fixture – meaning it can allocate more seats to supporters despite sharing the San Siro stadium with its fiercest rival.
While Inter holds almost all the advantage, Pioli says his team has what it takes to beat the odds.
“We have a clear objective, which is to win the tie, therefore we can still reach the final,” he told reporters ahead of the match.
“Nobody predicted that we’d be at this stage of the competition, not least the final, but I know how good my players are.
“Some outstanding feats have been achieved; one needs to believe and we do.”
The Italian city of Milan will once again come to a stand still to watch these two iconic teams battle it out for a place in the final.
The highly anticipated first leg didn’t quite live up to expectations with Inter taking a commanding lead in the first 15 minutes after goals from Edin Džeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
It could have, and probably should have, gotten a lot uglier for Pioli’s side as Inter passed up on several chances to put the semifinal tie beyond AC Milan.
However, Inter still looks the most likely team to reach the final on June 10 in Istanbul.
“We are 90 minutes away from achieving a dream […] my players deserve a lot of credit,” Inter manager Simone Inzaghi told reporters.
“We know we have an advantage, but we have achieved nothing yet. We have to have effort, aggression and determination and with all that we can be confident.”
Rossoneri supporters can take some positives from a much improved second half last week but will hope nerves don’t get the better of the players again.
The team could also be buoyed by the return of star winger Rafael Leão who was forced to miss the first leg through injury.
“We’re focused and determined and preparing in the best way possible in order to give a better performance than the first leg, and to try and win the game,” Pioli said.
How to watch?
The second leg between AC Milan and Inter Milan will kick off at 3 p.m. ET on May 16.
The game can be streamed live in the US on Paramount+.
The winner will face either Manchester City or Real Madrid in the final, with that semifinal fixture tied 1-1 after the first leg. The return leg will take place on May 17.