Kim Min-jae, Napoli gone from Champions League in quarterfinals

April 19, 2023

The last remaining South Korean player in the top European club football tournament helplessly watched his club’s earlier-than-expected elimination.

With stalwart defender Kim Min-jae suspended, the Italian league-leading Napoli got knocked out of the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League, following a 1-1 draw against rivals AC Milan in the second leg at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples, Italy, on Tuesday (local time).

Kim had picked up his third yellow card of the tournament during a 1-0 loss in the first leg last week, and was thus unavailable for the return leg. AC Milan advanced on the 2-1 aggregate.

Kim, who signed with Napoli last summer, was playing in his first UEFA Champions League. He has enjoyed an outstanding first campaign in the Serie A, the top Italian league, as Napoli sit atop the 20-club table with 24 wins, three draws and three losses. They’ve conceded 21 goals in those 30 matches, the second-lowest total in the competition.

AC Milan, however, have had Napoli’s number, having blanked them 4-0 in the league match earlier this month and then sent them home from the Champions League.

Napoli also played without midfielder Andre Zambo-Anguissa, who was sent off in the first leg and was also suspended for this match.

AC Milan had earlier eliminated Tottenham Hotspur, featuring another South Korean star, Son Heung-min, in the round of 16 at the Champions League, and foiled a potential Kim-Son showdown in the big tournament.