Fabio Capello’s prediction: Osimhen’s absence in Napoli v AC Milan will even the odds in UCL clash
Former Juventus coach and football pundit Fabio Capello has given his opinion on the upcoming quarterfinal clash between AC Milan and Napoli in the UEFA Champions League.
In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Capello stated that the match’s outcome would depend heavily on the availability of Napoli’s star striker, Victor Osimhen.
Osimhen has been out of action since helping Nigeria beat Guinea-Bissau in late March, missing Napoli’s last two games.
In Osimhen’s absence, AC Milan completely outclassed Napoli 4-0 at the Diego Maradona Stadium in a Serie A fixture to lay the marker for their Champions League faceoff. Napoli bounced back with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Lecce, but they will need to give more when they make the trip to the San Siro in midweek.
Osimhen is in a race to be fit for that encounter, but reports suggest his chances are slim.
And former AC Milan manager Capello suggests that if Osimhen is absent from the match, the teams will start on equal footing, but if he plays, Napoli will have a significant advantage of at least 5%.
The former England national team boss also mentioned that AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli would have to devise a plan to stop Osimhen from getting the ball. In contrast, Napoli’s coach, Luciano Spalletti, must ensure that Osimhen is in the right frame of mind to perform at his best.
What was said?
Capello said: “A lot will depend on Osimhen: if he’s not there, we start 50-50. If he plays, he moves it 5% (for Napoli) on his own.
“Pioli will have to figure out how not to let him (Osimhen) get the ball, while Spalletti will have to work on his head and convince Napoli that he’s fine. In Lecce, however, he didn’t give this impression.”
Despite Mikel Obi picking a flaw in Osimhen, the Super Eagles striker has been in fine form for Napoli this season, scoring crucial goals in the Champions League group stages and Serie A. His presence on the pitch has often been the difference between Napoli winning and losing, and his absence would be a significant blow to the team’s chances.
The quarterfinal clash between AC Milan and Napoli promises to be an exciting encounter, with both teams aiming to progress to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League.
This is the first time Napoli will reach the quarterfinal of Europe’s premier club competition, while Milan have won it seven times, the latest arriving in 2007.
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