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UEFA Champions League

  • 8 December 2010
  • • 19:45
  • • Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
  • Referee: C. Larsen
  • • Attendance: 72960

AC Milan - Ajax Preview: Ronaldinho set to feature despite ankle knock, while Alexandre Pato remains sidelined

AC Milan - Ajax Preview: Ronaldinho set to feature despite ankle knock, while Alexandre Pato remains sidelined


AC Milan

Filippo Inzaghi, Alexandre Pato and Massimo Oddo are out injured. Ronaldinho missed training on Monday with an ankle injury but he was back in the sessions on Tuesday and is available for selection.


Florian Jozefzoon, Nicolas Lodeiro, Evander Sno and Kenneth Vermeer are long-term absentees and will miss the trip to Milan.

Nothing to play for

At one stage it appeared that AC Milan were in danger of not qualifying for the second round of the Champions League, but with eight points from five matches the former Italian and European champions booked their place in the round of 16 last month, defeating Auxerre 2-0 on Matchday 5 to secure their place.

They are second in the group and will finish as runners-up, as group leaders Real Madrid have an unassailable five-point lead over them. Tonight's game is pretty much meaningless for them, although they will like to stretch their eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

AC Milan are in great form too as at the weekend they defeated Brescia to go three points clear at the top of the table in Serie A and coach Massimiliano Allegri wants them to continue their momentum.

"It's an important game for us," explained Allegri. "It's the Champions League and it's in matches like this that the real worth of a team comes out; that will help me take my decisions in the future.

"It is not a vital game, that's true, but we have to give our best because victories give you confidence and confidence helps you win again."

New day, new start

Ajax may have relinquished all hopes of qualifying for the latter stages of the Champions League last month when they were hammered 4-0 by Real Madrid in Amsterdam but the Dutch powerhouse can very much drop to the Europa League.

However, they will have to carry on their European adventure without Martin Jol, who resigned on Monday evening, stating that expectations at the club were too high. Frank de Boer is now the caretaker coach and his first task will be to ascertain Ajax's passage to Europe's second-tier club competition.

"Ajax is what matters," enthused De Boer. "I want to bring the joy back; the players must be happy to play. When it comes to playing football, movement on the field and attacking, I am close to Johan Cruyff's philosophy.

"I like the 4-3-3 formation; I know you need the right players for that, but if you want to find them, then you will. I don't want to change too much to begin with, but I have my own ideas and I want to leave my mark on the team in the future."

Ajax are currently third in Group G with four points from five matches, a point ahead of Auxerre. The French side take on Madrid in the other game of the group and will be keen to win, which means that former Dutch and European champions Ajax must go for the kill at the San Siro.

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