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The Italo-Egyptian keeps his place ahead of Maxi Lopez as Robinho comes back in for the trip to the fourth-placed Friulani

Maxi Lopez misses out on the chance to make his first start for AC Milan against Udinese in this evening's Serie A clash at the Stadio Friuli as Stephan El Shaarawy steps up for the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Sweden international was sent off for slapping Napoli's Salvatore Aronica last Sunday, and the former Catania forward was expected to be called up to replace him in the starting line-up. However, the young Italo-Egyptian received the nod to start the first game of Ibrahimovic's three-match ban.

Philippe Mexes, Antonio Nocerino and Robinho all return to the first XI after missing Wednesday's Coppa Italia loss to Juventus.

For the home side, Almen Abdi will start just behind top scorer and back-to-back Capocannoniere Antonio Di Natale in a 3-5-1-1 with Dusan Basta and Gelson Fernandes continuing in midfield due to the continued absences of African Cup of Nations stars Kwadwo Asamoah and Emmanuel Badu.

Milan could return to the top of Serie A with a draw or victory in the 18.00CET kick-off, with leaders Juventus without a game this weekend following the postponement of Sunday's trip to Bologna.

Udinese (3-5-1-1): Handanovic; Benatia, Danilo, Domizzi; Basta, Isla, Pazienza, Fernandes, Armero; Abdi; Di Natale.

Milan (4-3-1-2): Amelia; Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Mesbah; Seedorf, Ambrosini, Nocerino; Emanuelson; El Shaarawy, Robinho.

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