In the first leg of an all-Italian Champions League quarterfinal, Ismael Bennacer’s goal in the first half gave AC Milan a slim lead over Napoli.
Braham Diaz made an excellent break on the midway line, and the Algerian midfielder scored from the edge of the box.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa was dismissed from Napoli in the second half, and Milan held them off well.
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Simon Kjaer’s header off the underside of the bar denied Milan of a second goal, though.
Napoli, who is participating in the Champions League for the first time, came out firing early, showing the confidence that comes with leading Serie A by 16 points.
After a shoddy clearing dropped at his feet in the first minute, Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia had their finest opportunity of the game, but his shot from eight yards out was stopped on the line.
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Anguissa, a former Fulham midfielder, and Piotr Zielinski both saw shots from distance deflected over the crossbar as Napoli, the team with the most goals in the League this year, kept up the pressure.
Rafael Leao of Portugal burst out of his own half and slid a shot narrowly wide of the far post as Milan, who triumphed 4-0 at Napoli ten days prior in Serie A, withstood the storm and eventually grew into the match.
An ex-youth player for Manchester City, Diaz set up the game-winning goal by letting the ball run and turning to take out two Napoli midfielders in the 40th minute.
Bennacer, who had only played once in the previous two years for Arsenal, then responded to Leao’s cut-back with a left-footed strike, which the opposing goalkeeper Alex Meret assisted into the roof of the net.
Kjaer, a Danish defender for Milan, was incredibly unlucky for Milan when his strong stoppage-time header in the first half bounced off the line and fell about a yard away.
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Chances were scarce in the scrappy second half, but Anguissa was sent off twice in less than four minutes.
The first came for bringing down Theo Hernandez as the Frenchman tried to attack Napoli on the break, and in the 74th, Anguissa again caught the Milan left-back with a high boot.
In addition, Napoli will be missing defender Kim Min-jae for the second game, which is scheduled for next Tuesday after he received a dissenting booking.
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Despite being down a man, Napoli came close to scoring a late equalizer, but Mike Maignan made an outstanding job of deflecting Giovanni di Lorenzo’s shot for a corner.
Milan forward Diaz, who was given the game’s man of the match award, told BT Sport, “It is so important to have a positive result.”
“It was nice not to give up a goal. Next week, we have to compete to win.