AC Milan defender, Fikayo Tomori, has revealed how he was able to reduce the influence of Nigeria international, Victor Osimhen, during the second leg of their UEFA Champions League’s quarter-final clash against local rivals Napoli at the Diego Maradona Stadium on Tuesday.
Charged with the responsibility of man-marking the Nigerian, Tomori, who was born in England to Nigerian parents, came out tops as Milan held Napoli 1-1, which was enough to see the Rossoneri book a place in the semi-finals of the competition following a 1-0 win at the San Siro in the first leg.
Osimhen missed the first leg of the encounter due to injury, with his absence highly felt.
The return of the former Lille forward dominated headlines ahead of the return fixture, with manager Luciano Spalletti admitting his side were banking on the striker’s magic to pull through to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.
But Tomori and his centre-back partner Simon Kjaer had other ideas, and were resolute at the back, putting up a strong performance to cage the Super Eagles striker until the 93rd minute, when his powerful header in stoppage time beat Mike Maignan, in goal for Milan, to raise faint hopes among fans of the Series A title chasers.
While Osimhen got the equaliser late into the game to hand his team some measure of hope, the England defender held tight to see the game through and book a place in the semi-finals.
Speaking after the game with CBS pundit and Arsenal’s all-time top scorer, Thierry Henry, the Chelsea academy product revealed how he was able to reduce Osimhen’s potency in the clash.
“Obviously Victor is having a great season and I know how dangerous he is. I just tried to make sure I got my body in between in and the ball at all times as much as possible,” he said.
“I was disappointed he managed to score at the end. I just tried to get to him as tight as possible and try not to give him a lot of space.
“We actually frustrated them and we limited the amount of times that the ball could get to him in dangerous areas, and when the ball actually came we defended really well, we got tied to him, we had a lot of cover.
“Coming into a game like this with a player of that quality you know that you have to be tied to him, you have to be switched on and I think we were today (Tuesday).”
Despite missing a chunk of Champions League games, Osimhen managed to score five goals in six appearances in this season’s competition.