After eliminating CSU Craiova in the Europa League qualifiers, Milan continue preparing for the beginning of the Serie A campaign as well as the tie against Shkëndija in the playoffs.
Date: Wednesday, August 9
Time: 20:45 CET
Venue: Stadio Angelo Massimino, Catania
Vincenzo Montella’s men have been training together for about a month. The Rossoneri faced Lugano in their first friendly match and afterwards encountered Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in China. These three friendly matches brought two 4-0 wins and a 1-3 loss against Dortmund.
After returning from China, Milan defeated Craiova 1-0 away and 2-0 at home and secured qualification to the playoffs, where the team will face Shkëndija on August 17 and 24. It is thus expected that some players will be rested ahead of the first leg as well as the start of Serie A.
Montella is expected to make some changes compared to the return leg against Craiova. Quite a lot of players will not travel with the team to Catania and will train at Milanello, for example, Biglia, Conti and Bonaventura.
In the defence, as mentioned, Conti and Rodriguez will not be present. Thus, presumably, Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonelli will have the opportunity to prove themselves. Meanwhile, one of the centre-backs will be Leonardo Bonucci, for whom it will a debut in the starting lineup for the Rossoneri.
In the midfield, Kessie is set to once again start, while Hakan Calhanoglu should get his first start since the friendly against Lugano. Montolivo is also expected to start in tomorrow’s friendly.
New arrival Andre Silva looks set to lead the attack against Betis, with Suso supporting the Portuguese youngster on one wing and probably Fabio Borini on the other.
Squad list: Antonio Donnarumma, Soncin, Storari; Abate, Antonelli, Bonucci, Gomez, Calabria, Simic, Zapata; Calhanoglu, Kessie, Locatelli, Mauri, Montolivo, Sosa; Borini, Cutrone, André Silva, Suso.
Likely XI (4-3-3): A. Donnarumma; Abate, Gomez, Bonucci, Calabria; Kessie, Montolivo, Calhanoglu; Suso, A. Silva, Borini.
Real Betis are coming off a somewhat disappointing season, finishing 15th in the La Liga standings. The quality of their squad is not spectacular. They have also sold their arguably best player Dani Ceballos, Cristian Tello or Andres Guardado.
In fact, they should not pose much threat to Milan, if Montella’s men do not underestimate the opposition. The Rossoneri must face Betis fully concentrated and take the friendly as a form of good preparation before the competitive matches begin.
LAST TIME OUT
As mentioned, Milan’s last matches were against CSU Craiova in the Europa League qualifiers. Milan defeated the Romanian side in both matches, keeping two clean sheets and scoring three goals.
Meanwhile, Betis’ last match was a friendly match against Stuttgart, which the Sevilla-based team won 2-1. A day before that, Quique Setién’s men lost to Eintracht Frankfurt 0-3.