After the heavy defeat against Atalanta at the weekend, Milan need to bounce back as soon as possible and they have a perfect opportunity on Tuesday evening. Inter are the designated home side in the Coppa Italia quarter-final clash and while a win would be a great boost, it could also be another rough set-back.
The Rossoneri failed to live up to their usual standard against Atalanta and were beaten fair and square by three goals to nil. With both Ismael Bennacer and Hakan Calhanoglu out, they just couldn’t get their play going and didn’t really have many chances to grab at least one goal.
Now, the important thing is to regain some confidence and respond with a strong performance, whether that results in a win or a loss tomorrow. It will be a tough game, we all know that, and we can’t expect Milan to come out as the winning side. Having said that, we have the right to demand a better performance than last time out.
As already mentioned, Bennacer and Calhanoglu are still out and won’t be available for the derby. The Algerian, however, should be back for their game against Bologna on Saturday, while it remains to be seen when the No.10 will test negative for COVID. The centre-back duo Matteo Gabbia and Pierre Kalulu will also miss out.
According to MilanNews, Stefano Pioli is expected to make six changes to the XI that played against Atalanta. Gigio Donnarumma is suspended which means that Ciprian Tatarusanu will be guarding the goal in the Coppa Italia once again. It went well for him last time, making the decisive penalty save in the shootout.
Diogo Dalot, who is on loan from Man Utd, has played mostly on the left-hand side this season but will get the chance on the right tomorrow. An important opportunity for him to show his worth in his usual position. Simon Kjaer and Theo Hernandez will keep their spots at the back, while Alessio Romagnoli is back from suspension.
Soualiho Meite will play from the first minute once again, though in his usual position this time after being tested as trequartista against Atalanta. Alexis Saelemaekers is back from suspension and will enter the attacking trio along with Brahim Diaz, who came on for the second half against Atalanta.
In addition to Sandro Tonali, Mario Mandzukic is also struggling with a minor injury and could miss the game. It seems the Croatian could be called up anyway, but he won’t play from the first minute as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to start up front, with Rafael Leao on the left-wing.
Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Dalot, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Theo; Meite, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao; Ibrahimovic.
Probable Inter XI (3-5-2): Handanović; Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Gagliardini (Sensi), Darmian; A. Sánchez, Lukaku.
- Inter haven’t lost in their last 4 games and they haven’t lost in any of their last 6 home matches.
- AC Milan have lost none of their last 22 away matches and they have a winning streak of 3 matches away from home.
- The average number of goals in meetings between Inter Milan and AC Milan is 3.4.
- Inter have lost just 1 of their last 5 games against AC Milan (in all competitions).
- Inter score 2.55 goals per game on average when playing at home and Milan score 2.09 goals when playing away.
As said, it won’t be an easy game for Milan after the loss against Atalanta, which inevitably will have affected their confidence. On the other hand, these players have shown that they can rise in tough situations before, and knowing that they won the first leg in the league will surely help.
Inter have done well lately, despite the draw against Udinese, and the feeling is that they are slight favourites tomorrow. Everything will depend on Milan’s reaction, though, which will have to be good in order to get a result from this clash. Just like against Torino, it could be an extra-time thriller.
Inter 1-1 AC Milan (1-2 AET)
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