The four key battles that could win or lose the game for Milan against Genoa

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan host Genoa in the Coppa Italia for the first time since 1985 at San Siro tonight, looking to make the quarter-finals and keep up an impressive run of doing so.

The feeling is that Milan are primed for a potential run deep into the competition and could lift the cup for the first time since 2003, even if head coach Stefano Pioli stressed the importance of taking things game by game. You can read our match preview here, while we have picked out some of the key battles.

There will be eyes on Olivier Giroud to prove his status as a cup specialist, with the Frenchman having netted 66 goals across 145 games in cup competitions during his illustrious career, winning the League Cup three times and the FA Cup. The 22-year-old Brighton loanee Leo Skiri Østigård will be tasked with keeping him quiet, having made just one appearance since joining earlier this month.

Moving onto the left flank, Theo Hernandez is expected to get the nod for the Rossoneri and will hope to find plenty of space in behind Stefano Sabelli. In addition to playing more of an attacking wing-back role anyway, Sabelli has made just 9 appearances in all competitions this season and has been booked three times in the league.

The most fascinating battles though should be in the middle of the park, where the talented Italy U21 international Nicolo Rovella will look to perform the double role of stopping the exploits of Daniel Maldini as the deepest of the midfield three, while also putting international team-mate Sandro Tonali in trouble with his bursting runs forward.

Finally, Fikayo Tomori will be given an examination upon his return from Covid-19 by veteran Serie A forward Felipe Caicedo, who Milan fans know from his time at Lazio. He joined the Grifone from Lazio on 31 August but has scored just once since arriving, and the Coppa might be just what he needs to get firing, but at the same time the English defender wants to kick off his return with a clean sheet.

READ MORE: AC Milan’s 2021 year in review – the best moments, goals and players

Tags AC Milan Milan-Genoa
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