Following the disappointing loss against Inter in the derby, AC Milan will be looking to bounce back on Thursday evening as they take on Juventus in the Coppa Italia. It’s the first leg of the semi-finals, and given that they start at home, the Rossoneri need to get off to a good start.
As mentioned, though, the derby loss will surely be in their heads. Stefano Pioli will have to work hard to keep their mind off it, as a good result against Juventus would help restore some of the confidence that they lost. Should they perform as they did in the first half against Inter, then a win is certainly possible tomorrow.
Just like the Rossoneri, Juventus are also coming from a heavy loss in the league. After taking the lead away at Hellas Verona through Cristiano Ronaldo, the home side managed to turn things around in just ten minutes. And as a result of the derby outcome, the Bianconeri are now tied with Inter in first place. Two teams eager for revenge, therefore.
Despite playing the full 90 minutes on Sunday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to play from start against Juventus. Of course, the Swede’s impact was immense in the derby and it’s really a shame that he didn’t get three points to show for it. Other than that, there should be no major surprises in Milan’s starting eleven.
Pioli will have to decide between Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic, set to continue with the 4-4-1-1 formation. The latter has been in red-hot form as of late, while the former needs playing time to continue his development. Either way, the game plan should be similar to that against Inter.
As for Juventus, reports seem to suggest that Maurizio Sarri could opt for a strong trio up front, consisting of Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain. Douglas Costa has been ruled out for the rest of the month with an injury, thus leaving the manager with little options in attack.
Furthermore, Miralem Pjanic could be given some much-needed rest, looking to regain his top form. However, these are just speculations by Corriere Dello Sport, and a lot can change between now and kick-off tomorrow. By the looks of it, though, both teams are taking the game seriously.
Probable Milan XI (4-4-1-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer (Musacchio), Romagnoli, Theo; Castillejo, Kessie, Bennacer, Rebic (Leao); Calhanoglu; Ibrahimovic.
Probable Juventus XI (4-3-1-2): Buffon; De Sciglio, Bonucci, de Ligt, Alex Sandro; Rabiot, Bentancur (Pjanic), Matuidi; Dybala (Ramsey); Ronaldo, Higuain.
Considering their dominance, Juventus have had the upper hand in this fixture for quite some time now. Tomorrow should be no different, at least on paper, but in front of a well-filled San Siro the Rossoneri might surprise the Turin side. Down below are the top five facts and stats.
- Juventus have won their last 9 matches against AC Milan in all competitions.
- Juventus have won 9 of their last 10 matches (Coppa Italia).
- AC Milan have seen under 2.5 goals in 8 of their last 9 home matches against Juventus in all competitions.
- Juventus have kept a clean sheet in 5 of their last 7 away matches against AC Milan in all competitions.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Juventus’s last 3 games (Coppa Italia).
As mentioned, it will be a very tough game for Stefano Pioli’s men. On the other hand, they will be keen to bounce back from the loss against Inter, perhaps finding extra strength on their home turf perform well during the entire game – and not just in the first half. With Sarri under immense pressure, it’s an opportunity to take for Milan.
AC Milan 2-1 Juventus
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