In the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal, Inter Milan took advantage of Rafael Leao’s absence and put tight marking on Milan’s midfield to make the 2-0 win look easy. AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli bears the blame for this, in my opinion, because he let this scenario run for 90 minutes without making the necessary adjustments. Let’s see if he can show better value in the second leg. Simeone Inzaghi on the other hand has been developing slowly but surely and his tactical awareness and vision was reflected on the field. Additionally, benching Romelu Lukaku in spite of his explosive form and the media’s expectations is an indication of his strong sense that what is best for the team must be done regardless of everything else.
In the other match, efereeing controversy overshadowed one of the best football matches played this season. The levels of discipline, skill and teamwork were at their best on both sides and a draw result is fair. Apologies if the reference does not register with you, but the match was as good as White Beard locking swords with Gold D Roger. Both Vinicius Jr. and Kevin de Bruyne scored screamers and time cannot go any slower as we anxiously wait for the return leg whistle to kick off the continuation of the 1-1 draw.
Stay tuned for our RMT article by Guy, and ahead of the kickoff time come back for the latest team news and injury reports in order to avoid missteps with your fantasy transfers!
MATCH-DAY 12 FANTASY GUIDE
If you are still suffering from the bad predictions you made in the quarterfinals, three free transfers are available ahead of Matchday 12. Personally, I still have exactly three Benfica players that I will be switching up with Milan players just in case a comeback is in the books. So I’ll end up with 4 players from Man City, 4 from Real Madrid, 4 from Inter and 3 from Milan, spreading my best pretty evenly.
Erling Haaland seems destined to ultimately defeat Real Madrid, and his record breaking goal tally in EPL will propel his performance in the return leg at the Etihad Stadium. Most if not all City and Madrid players are in top form at the moment and the match result will probably not be settled until the last minute (well, this is football so there is always a chance of a surprise, right?)
Keep in mind that fantasy managers are allowed up to six players from any team in MD-12,
Rotation risk is at its minimum at this stage, as was made clear this weekend by all of the clubs. Inzaghi rested 8 players from the UCL match in his starting lineup for the Serie A 4-2 victory over Sassuolu. Pioli rested four but succumbed to a worrying 2-0 defeat to relegation-threatened club Spezia.
Carlo Ancelotti followed Inzaghi’s suit and rested 8 players from the UCL match, securing a 1-0 victory over Getafe in La Liga. Pep Guardiola’s away match against Everton today was more important than the rest since it could have scuppered City’s chances of winning the EPL, but a side with four changes beat the Toffees 3-0. Arsenal’s subsequent loss to Brighton by the same scoreline means that the EPL title is all but in Pep’s hands now.
Inter Milan vs AC Milan
Inter Milan will be the official host of the second leg as decided by the last UCL draw. The stadium will be covered mostly in blue this Tuesday as the derby della madonnina comes to a conclusion. Pioli’s Milan remain on the edge of UCL qualification next season and therefore, Pioli rotated only 3 players from the starting lineup against Inter. Ismail Bennacer was taken out of the UCL match for injury and is still out of the squad. Olivier Giroud and Krunic were rested in the weekend 2-0 to Spezia. The loss extends the gap from the UCL qualification positions to 4 points and increases the risk of Roma catching up to drop Milan below Europa League qualification as well.
Inzaghi’s Inter played against mid-table Sassuolu this weekend to win 4-2 and solidify UCL qualification chances. Goalkeeper Onana, defenders Bastoni, Dumfries and Darmian, midfielders, and forwards Martinez and Dzeko were all rested. Robin Gosens’ returned from a dislocated shoulder injury to allow some rest for left back Dimarco as well. Take your pick from the rested players but keep an eye on the news for Dzeko and Mkhitaryan, since Lukaku has been on fire and could force his way into the lineup over Dzeko, and Brozovic has always been favored over the Armenian.
Manchester City vs Real Madrid
Etihad Stadium will be the site of this clash between the title-holders and the title-favorites on Wednesday. Real Madrid defeated Getafe 1-0 on Saturday as Ferland Mendy returned from a long spell on the sidelines due to an injury. Carlo Ancelotti took him out after the first half as a precaution to ease him back slowly into play. However, Camavinga forced off by injury after 83 minutes and an his MRI scan of his ankle is scheduled for today. His participation against Man City is doubtful at best for now. The rested players over the weekend were defenders Alaba, Rudiger and Carvajal, midfielders Modric and Kroos, and forwards Benzema, Vini Jr and Rodrygo.
Manchester City rested Stones, De Bruyne, B. Silva, and Grealish for the crucial victory over Everton. although Silva and Grealish both featured from the bench in the 78th minute. Nathan Ake could be available for Wednesday, in which case Walker would most likely miss out.
There are three free transfers available ahead of the second leg of the semifinals — will that be enough for you to fill holes in your squad plus bring in the players you want? Are you playing a chip in MD-12? And how is your budget? Have the eliminations of top-drawer stars from fallen teams left you with plenty of cash for anyone you would consider buying now? Please log in and let us know your plans and questions!