Thursday night European football is now back in action and Italian giants AC Milan head to Serbia to take on FK Crvena Zvezda also known as Red Star.
Milan’s season has been brutally long with twists and turns from injuries, suspensions, COVID, and recently the unexpected loss to Spezia in Serie A. As Milan head into this round of 32 knockout round, the Rossoneri on paper has the upper hand. Although they are coming off 3 losses and 2 wins in their last 5 games the red and black faithful have never lost to Red Star in a European match, Milan has won twice and drawn twice against the Serbian giants.
The last time these two sides met was back in 2006 for the group stages of the Champions League. In their first meeting, Milan won 1-0 with a goal from Fillipo Inzaghi, in their second meeting Milan hailed victorious once again winning 2-1 with another goal from Inzaghi and the other was from Clarence Seedorf.
As Milan head to Serbia once again they will be determined to find victory. With the Derby Della Maddonina coming up on Sunday, which could ultimately help the Rossoneri’s dreams of a title this season or be a setback, Pioli must get his team right with much necessary rotations in the squad. Here is how Milan’s lineup could appear:
Milan 4-2-3-1: G. Donnarumma; Calabria, Tomori, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Meïté, Bennacer; Castillejo, Krunić, Rebić, Mandžukić
Calabria makes his way back into the team after serving a suspension and will be looking to help the team both defensively and offensively. The Italian full-back has been having a good season so far grabbing 2 goals and an assist being an important player in the starting lineup. Fikayo Tomori will be looking to showcase yet again after a comfortable run of games for the red and black faithful, he will want to step up once again on the European stage which he is no stranger to as he helped Chelsea FC make it past the group stages in Champions League last season. Soualiho Meïté and Rade Krunić must make the most of their opportunity to play the roles that best suit their playing styles. Ante Rebić and Mario Mandžukić will be looking to rekindle some old chemistry that had been seen from international duty for Croatia. This will be Mandžukić’s first-ever start for Milan. Rossoneri fans have seen him come off the bench and create opportunities for the team, even almost grabbing a goal. 90 minutes of playing time should bid the striker well especially with service from international teammate Rebić he will be definitely looking to grab a goal.
A victory for Milan would put one foot in the door towards the round of 16 and would give Milan their 4th consecutive win in a UEFA competition since winning four in a row back in September through November of 2008. This would also boost team morale and give the red devils some momentum heading into the Milan Derby against their Nerazzurri rivals.