Lautaro Martinez has gotten the better of Fikayo Tomori in their previous meetings, and the centre-back needs a response tonight if AC Milan are to stand a chance of progressing.
As La Gazzetta dello Sport reports (as seen below), Lautaro versus Tomori is one of the duels that will decide the Champions League semi-final clash, which in turn determines who goes through to the final in Istanbul next month.
In the Supercoppa Italiana final in Riyadh the Argentine won the battle hands down, in particular getting the better of Tomori for the third goal that effectively ended the contest as Inter won 3-0 and lifted the trophy.
Pioli’s hope is that it will be the motivation and the springboard for a response tonight because the Englishman will also have the task of leading the entire department. Simon Kjaer will not be next to him but Malick Thiaw, who certainly does not have the experience on his side.
Tomori wants to register another positive note in a season full of ups and downs. Lautaro forces you to always have a high level of concentration and in this respect the former Chelsea man has occasionally run into difficulties.
The Nerazzurri forward is in a period of exceptional form, both physically and mentally, scoring in the second half against Sassuolo at the weekend.
Edin Dzeko who will try to take Thiaw out to leave Lautaro one-on-one. It will be a duel of speed, which Lautaro will want to play on the ground as much as possible. After the World Cup, for him it is now the hunt for the Champions League.