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Preview: AC Milan vs. Atletico Madrid - prediction, team news, lineups
28/09/2021 11:42:50

AC Milan and Atletico Madrid will both go in search of their first wins of the 2021-22 Champions League during Tuesday's (8:00PM, 28 Sept) Group B battle at San Siro.


Stefano Pioli's side lost 3-2 to old rivals Liverpool in the opening matchweek, while Atletico failed to fire in a goalless draw with Porto.


We say: AC Milan 1-1 Atletico Madrid


Simeone must find a solution to Atletico's attacking woes soon lest they risk their La Liga title defence ending in tatters, but Liverpool have already proved that Milan's rearguard is far from impenetrable.


The Rossoneri will certainly have a hard time breaking down their visitors' own resilient backline, and we expect the two sides' search for a first European win of the season to continue following a hard-fought draw.


Match preview


Having previously only met in the 2005 and 2007 Champions League finals, fans were licking their lips at the prospect of another classic European encounter between AC Milan and Liverpool on the opening matchday, and the clash at Anfield did not disappoint.


Despite Fikayo Tomori's own goal to open the scoring, the Rossoneri hit back with two quickfire strikes from Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz to head into half time with a 2-1 lead, but Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson turned on the style in the second half to send Milan home empty-handed.


In spite of their disappointing start to the 2021-22 Champions League, Milan's title charge in Serie A continues to gather pace, as Diaz and Daniel Maldini - with his father Paolo watching on from the stands - propelled the Rossoneri to a 2-1 success at Spezia on Saturday.


As resilient as Atletico's defence is, they will certainly struggle to Pioli's men at bay, with the Italian giants having scored in each of seven games so far this season as they go in search of their first Champions League victory since beating Celtic 3-0 in November 2013.


Furthermore, the Rossoneri have eased to three wins from their opening three league fixtures at San Siro this term - scoring eight goals and conceding just one - although only one of their last 17 encounters with Spanish teams has seen them come up trumps.


Despite boasting an irrepressible trio of talent up top in Joao Felix, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann, goals have been extremely hard to come by for Atletico in recent weeks, but their opponents were just as goal-shy in their Champions League opener.


In a game where only 11 shots were fired, Atletico and Porto shook hands on a point apiece in a goalless stalemate at the Wanda Metropolitano, but the La Liga champions' troubles in front of goal proved even more costly in their most recent top-flight encounter.


Alaves centre-back Victor Laguardia took all of four minutes to break the deadlock on Saturday while Atletico once again failed to make the net ripple during their first defeat of the season, and they can now boast just one goal and one win from their last four games in all competitions.


However, Atletico had embarked on a three-game winning streak away from home - each one by a 2-1 scoreline - before being downed by Alaves at the weekend, but they have also failed to score in their last three Champions League games and boast a worrying record of just one victory from their last seven in the competition.


On a brighter note, the La Liga champions boast a perfect record of two wins from their previous two clashes with AC Milan, claiming a 1-0 win at San Siro before a 4-1 home success in the last-16 of the 2013-14 tournament en route to the final.


Team News


Milan's worrying injury list has been eased with the returns of Olivier Giroud and Davide Calabria, with the latter surely fit enough to displace Pierre Kalulu on the right-hand side of defence.


However, ageless talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still doubtful as he battles an Achilles problem, while Rade Krunic, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alessandro Florenzi are all set to miss out.


The Rossoneri are supposedly hopeful of having Simon Kjaer fit and raring to go for Tuesday, though, while Diaz should displace Maldini junior, despite his memorable goal at the weekend.


Atletico defender Stefan Savic continues to serve a lengthy European suspension and will not be available here, but Joao Felix is eligible to play amid a domestic ban of his own.


Thomas Lemar remains the visitors' only absentee through injury as he nurses a quadriceps issue - although he has made the journey - with Koke fit enough to make the bench against Alaves and pushing for inclusion over Geoffrey Kondogbia.


Jose Gimenez is sure to return to the backline in place of the suspended Savic, while a refreshed Felix will feel confident of displacing Griezmann up top amid the visitors' attacking woes.


AC Milan possible starting lineup:

Maignan; Calabria, Tomori, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Rebic; Giroud


Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:

Oblak; Gimenez, Felipe, Hermoso; Trippier, Llorente, Koke, De Paul, Carrasco; Suarez, Felix

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