AC Milan - Malaga Preview: Andalusians aim to secure progression with back-to-back wins over Rossoneri
The Liga outfit have picked up maximum points so far without conceding a goal, but fresh off the back of an emphatic weekend win, Massimiliano Allegri's men will want revenge
By Tom Webber
Mexes, Bonera, Zapata
Abate, Montolivo, Ambrosini, Emanuelson
Bojan, Pazzini, El Shaarawy
Gamez, Weligton, Demichelis, Eliseu
Joaquin, Isco, Portillo, Duda
Malaga face the toughest test of their inaugural Champions League campaign as they travel to the San Siro to face the seven-time winners AC Milan.
The Rossoneri will be eager to recover some pride against the Andalusians following their 1-0 defeat at La Rosaleda, and look in good form to do so after the 5-1 thumping of Chievo.
Christian Abbiati will start between the sticks ahead of Marco Amelia, while Kevin-Prince Boateng may miss out on a starting spot to Massimo Ambrosini despite returning to training in the past week. Robinho could also be available but is unlikely to form part of the attacking trident that contributed three goals against Chievo on Saturday.
With Nacho Monreal still not back to full fitness, Manuel Pellegrini is expected to use Eliseu at left-back once again. His compatriot, Duda, will therefore start wide on the left while Jeremy Toulalan could once again be available as Malaga look to maintain their 100 per cent start to the tournament.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- AC Milan have scored a total of 395 goals in Europe's top competition
- Daniele Bonera and Philippe Mexes (pictured, right) could find themselves suspended for the next fixture should they pick up a yellow card.
- Milan's last win over Liga opposition at San Siro was a 1-0 win triumph over Barcelona in 2004. Their overall record against Spanish sides stands at W11 D5 L6.
- Manuel Pellegrini's Real Madrid side earned a 1-1 draw away to the Diavolo in the 2009-10 Champions League.
- Malaga are the only team yet to concede a goal in this season's Champions League.
- The 1-0 victory over the Rossoneri on matchday three ensured that the Andalusians won first ever fixture against Italian opposition.
- Martin Demichelis and Manuel Iturra will incur suspensions should they pick up a booking against the Milanese club.
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Top 3 Predictions
AC Milan 2-0 Malaga
- 23.98 %
AC Milan 2-1 Malaga
- 13.17 %
AC Milan 3-0 Malaga
- 10.74 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 6, 2012||AC Milan 1 - Malaga 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 24, 2012||Malaga 1 - AC Milan 0|
|Dec 1, 2013||Catania 1 - AC Milan 3||ITA1|
|Nov 26, 2013||Celtic 0 - AC Milan 3||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||AC Milan 1 - Genoa 1||ITA1|
|Nov 10, 2013||Chievo 0 - AC Milan 0||ITA1|
|Nov 6, 2013||FC Barcelona 3 - AC Milan 1||UCL|
|34||Nigel De Jong||Midfielder|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
|2||Mattia De Sciglio||Defender|
|21||Sebastián Fernández Miglierina||Striker|
|9||Roque Santa Cruz||Striker|
|Stephan El Shaarawy|
In the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Stephan El Shaarawy has made himself the talisman of this Milan side. His uncompromising determination and ability in the final third have pulled the Diavolo out of a series of holes already this season, and they can now count on him to produce the goods at the highest level. With the home crowd behind him, the youngster could well be a thorn in the side of Malaga come Tuesday evening. If he is on form, then the hosts have a fantastic chance of closing the gap on their Spanish counterparts.
The hero of La Roselada this week, Joaquin is having a somewhat of a renaissance with the Champions League new boys. His movement is his main threat, as he drifts across the forward line and regularly linking up with Javier Saviola and Isco to devastating effect. Milan will need to restrict the space for the aforementioned trio on the night, but Joaquin has the technical ability to create, or finish, any chance that comes his way.
Despite losing to Rayo Vallecano at the weekend, Malaga will be confident ahead of their visit to San Siro, having already defeated Milan a fortnight ago. It will be hugely different this time around though, in what can be a very intimidating arena. The thrashing of Chievo at the weekend will have restored some pride to the Rossoneri ranks and they will go out chasing this one. If Malaga can hold their own in midfield then they can give Milan a run for their money. Eliseu represents a potential weakness at left-back and Allegri's side would be wise to focus their attentions down that flank. There will not be much in it come the final whistle.