AC Milan advances to Champions League semis with aggregate win

AC Milan upset Napoli in the Champions League quarterfinals by using the tactical style of football called Catenaccio, which has a reputation for being overly defensive and is associated with Italian football. Milan had successfully nullified Napoli’s smothering and artful attack three times in 16 days by having their two holding midfielders sit on top of their backline to open no space between those lines where Napoli would run wild. Milan’s fullbacks were exemplary, especially Davide Calabria on the right side, who kept Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia in his pocket. Despite Napoli attempting 45 crosses, almost all of them were stopped by Fikayo Tomori or Simon Kjær. Milan only required two brilliant pieces of individualism on the counter to get the goals they needed, one from Brahim Díaz and one from Rafael Leão. Napoli pulled a goal back late but always remained just a consolation. The beauty of Catenaccio is that it’s simple. You defend well, you take your chance when you inevitably get it on the counter, you win. Sometimes soccer is just that simple.

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