AC Milan’s Primavera side made history yesterday as they reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Youth League for the first time in their history.
As this morning’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport (as seen below) highlights, the youth team of Milan have followed the senior side be re-entering the pool among the elite sides as Nyon in Switzerland will host Ignazio Abate’s side next month.
It is the first time in the club’s history that this has happened and it came thanks to a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid in high-profile match at the PUMA House of Football against an opponent of great stature and full of talent, who were favourites to win.
Milan Primavera defended well and struck once in each half, firstly through Bakoune’s perfect cross for Stalmach and then from El Hilali’s shot after a feed from Chaka Traoré, before plenty of celebrations began at full-time.
Paolo Maldini, Ricky Massara, Stefano Pioli’s assistant Giacomo Murelli and the head of the youth sector Angelo Carbone were all at the match, because the importance of the afternoon required the presence of the top management.
Why are the team struggling more in the league? They are a younger side and the extra two or three years that some players have domestically does make a difference, but in Europe it is paying dividends to have such a talented and technical team.
It is the third time an Italian team have been in the final four: it happened last year with Juventus and in 2014-15 with Roma when Massara was at the club.
Now Milan are waiting to meet their opponent in the semi-final which will be a one-off match on 21 April, like the final on the 24th in Nyon. It will be either Borussia Dortmund or Hajduk Split who await, and the other semi-final will be between Sporting CP and one of either AZ Alkmaar and Real Madrid.