AC Milan - Catania Preview: 'Super Mario' returns for stuttering Rossoneri
Massimiliano Allegri welcomes back Balotelli as the hosts look to get their Champions League push back on track with victory over their Sicilian visitors
By Harry Slavin
Mario Balotelli will make his return to the Milan starting line-up this weekend with the San Siro side looking to get back to winning ways against Europa League-chasing Catania.
The former Manchester City star is available after a two-game suspension and is likely to be thrust straight back into the action as the Rossoneri look to kick-start their pursuit of Champions League football next season after a run of three games without a win.
Kevin-Prince Boateng and Matthieu Flamini are available once more after both missed the trip to face Juventus last weekend through injury and suspension respectively.
However, the home side will be without the services of club captain Massimo Ambrosini after he was forced off the field at Juventus Stadium with ankle ligament damage.
Daniele Bonera is expected to take the place of the suspended Cristian Zapata to partner Philippe Mexes at centre-back.
Catania, meanwhile, are forced into a defensive reshuffle after last weekend’s ill-tempered Sicilian derby.
Goalkeeper Mariano Andujar is suspended after his sending off in the final minute of the 1-1 draw with Palermo, while defenders Giuseppe Bellusci and Nicolas Spolli are missing after both picked up yellow cards that triggered bans in the tie.Coach Rolando Maran is sweating over the fitness of his captain Mariano Izco with Lucas Castro ready to step in.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Allegri's side have failed to win any of their last three fixtures in Serie A, their worst run of the campaign since September.
- Last year's corresponding fixture saw Milan run out comfortable winners, cruising to a 4-0 victory at San Siro.
- Stephan El Shaarawy (pictured, right) scored twice as the Rossoneri saw off Serie D outfit Folgore Caratese 9-2 in a training-ground friendly this week.
- Catania haven't beaten Milan in the league since they regained promotion to Serie A in 2006.
- Gli Elifante are in a position to challenge for the best finish in their history. Their current highest finish to date is 8th place.
The Sicilian derby last weekend at Catania's Stadio Angelo Massimino ended with a 22-man scuffle on the pitch after Josip Ilicic's dramatic equaliser for Palermo saw tensions boil over.
Top 3 Predictions
Milan 3-0 Catania
- 28.17 %
Milan 2-0 Catania
- 19.96 %
Milan 3-1 Catania
- 9.75 %
|Serie A (SR-A)||01-Dec-2013||Catania 1 - Milan 3|
|Serie A (SR-A)||29-Apr-2013||Milan 4 - Catania 2|
|Serie A (SR-A)||01-Dec-2012||Catania 1 - Milan 3|
|Serie A (SR-A)||31-Mar-2012||Catania 1 - Milan 1|
|Serie A (SR-A)||06-Nov-2011||Milan 4 - Catania 0|
|07-Dec-2013||Livorno 2 - Milan 2||SR-A|
|01-Dec-2013||Catania 1 - Milan 3||SR-A|
|27-Nov-2013||Celtic 0 - Milan 3||UCL|
|24-Nov-2013||Milan 1 - Genoa 1||SR-A|
|10-Nov-2013||Chievo 0 - Milan 0||SR-A|
|2||Mattia De Sciglio||Defender|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
|13||Mariano Julio Izco||Midfielder|