AC Milan will face Torino for the second time in four days as they look to make the last eight of the Coppa Italia for the 11th season in a row.
While the Rossoneri have had chance to focus on the league over the last few weeks allowing them to move three points clear at the top, Tuesday night’s game at San Siro will be another useful knockout game to test how far the depth of the squad has come.
On that note, Stefano Pioli has already pledged to play the players who are ‘fresher‘ against the Granata, who are also expected to rotate.
Game date: Tuesday 12 January
Kick-off time: 20:45 (CET)
Venue: San Siro
Referee: Paolo Valeri
As mentioned, Pioli is expected to rotate where possible, and though both Sandro Tonali and Brahim Diaz came off injured during the 2-0 win at the weekend they are expected to be fit enough to start.
Sky (via MilanNews) reported earlier today that Milan are set to make most of their changes at the back, with Ciprian Tatarusanu to be in goal protected by a back four of Pierre Kalulu, Mateo Musacchio, Alessio Romagnoli and Diogo Dalot from right to left.
Davide Calabria and Sandro Tonali will be in front of the back four, with the same attack as Saturday night: Samu Castillejo, Brahim Diaz and Jens Petter Hauge behind Rafael Leao.
Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Tătărusanu; Kalulu, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Dalot; Calabria, Tonali; Castillejo, Brahim, Hauge; Leão.
Torino coach Marco Giampaolo has also said he will make some changes to ‘recover energy’ as they face a fight for survival in the league.
As on Saturday, Giampaolo should have an almost fully-fit squad to select from and Daniele Baselli could make his return to the fold, with the only player ruled out set to be on-loan forward Federico Bonazzoli.
Probable Torino XI (4-4-2): Milinkovic; Izzo, Nkoulou, Buongiorno; Vojdvoda, Meite, Rincon, Baselli, Murru; Verdi, Zaza.
Head to head
Both these teams are overdue some success in the cup relatively speaking, as Torino have not won the Coppa since 1993 while the Rossoneri have gone 17 years without lifting the trophy.
The previous match between the two teams took place in the over the weekend and ended in a comfortable 2-0 victory for Milan, who have also prevailed in the two most recent Coppa Italia meetings between these sides in the last four seasons, the most recent being last season’s 4-2 win after extra time.
Match facts (via WhoScored):
➤ Milan are undefeated in 26 of their last 28 matches against Torino in all competitions.
➤ Milan have drawn their last 3 matches (Coppa Italia).
➤ Milan have been drawing at both half time and full time in their last 3 matches (Coppa Italia).
➤ There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 5 of Torino‘s last 6 games (Coppa Italia).
Ones to watch
For the Rossoneri there are a number of players worth keeping an eye on especially given the rotation behind the front four players. Dalot is under pressure to start showing his true ability, while it will be another useful test for Pierre Kalulu.
Mateo Musacchio might be the player who is watched the most though, given he hasn’t played a competitive game all season having seemingly been frozen out. A good enough performance could put him back in Pioli’s good graces.
For the away side the predicted XI is still up in the air, but if Soualiho Meite were to get a start then he will obviously be a player to watch given the intense links with Milan.
The most important thing on Tuesday night is to get into the next round in any manner possible, given the selection problems have not allowed Pioli to rotate and put out as strong a line-up as he would have wanted.
But, with the away side set to make changes too, Milan should still have enough to set up a last-eight tie against Inter.
Prediction: AC Milan 2-0 Torino