AC Milan will have to battle a situation they haven’t experienced since the second half of the 2016-17 season in Verona today.
As MilanLive reports, Stefano Pioli will be without a number of his key players as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Mario Mandzukic, Ismael Bennacer, Ante Rebic and Daniel Maldini have all been left out of the squad. Theo Hernandez and Sandro Tonali will leave for the Stadio Bentegodi, but sources close to Milan speak of muscular problems for both, who will remain on the bench as a precaution.
Therefore, Milan will present themselves against Hellas without eight major players. The team were close to an equivalent crisis against Atalanta but Pioli got Theo, Krunic and Rebic back from Covid allowing more flexibility in selection.
The only similar precedent came back in the second half of the 2016-17 season. Almost exactly four years ago – on 18 March 2017 – Milan were preparing to challenge Genoa at the San Siro and Vincenzo Montella found himself without Romagnoli, Bacca and Sosa (disqualified) as well as Suso, Montolivo, Abate and Bonaventura. Honda had recovered from injury, but was forced to start from the bench.
Milan managed to overcome emergency and beat Genoa 1-0 as Mati Fernandez scored the winner, but – with no disrespect to Genoa intended – tonight represents a tough challenge against a team in great home form.