Official: AC Milan vs. Roma starting XIs – three changes from Lecce win

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has named the starting line-up he has chosen for the first leg against AS Roma, and there are three changes from the team that beat Lecce.

There are some absences in defence for Pioli given that Fikayo Tomori is suspended after picking up a yellow card in the return leg against Slavia Praha, Pierre Kalulu is injured for a while longer yet and Jan-Carlo Simic is not in the squad list.

Pioli has opted for a four-man defence of Davide Calabria, Malick Thiaw, Matteo Gabbia and Theo Hernandez in front of the goalkeeper Mike Maignan.

In midfield it will be Ismael Bennacer and Tijjani Reijnders reunited as the double pivot, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek operating ahead of them in the attacking midfielder position.

Christian Pulisic will be the right winger, Rafael Leao will be on the opposite flank and Olivier Giroud is the centre-forward.

The likes of Yunus Musah, Yacine Adli, Samuel Chukwueze, Luka Jovic and Noah Okafor are all available to lend a hand off the bench, too.

Official Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Thiaw, Gabbia, Theo; Bennacer, Reijnders; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud.

Bench: Sportiello, Nava, Adli, Jovic, Okafor, Chukwueze, Kjaer, Terracciano, Florenzi, Musah, Zeroli, Bartesaghi.

Official Roma XI (4-3-3): Svilar; Celik, Mancini, Smalling, Spinazzola; Paredes, Cristante, Pellegrini; Dybala, Lukaku, El Shaarawy.

Bench: Rui Patricio, Boer, Karsdorp, Abraham, Llorente, Renato Sanches, Aouar, Baldanzi, Bove, Zalewski, Joao Costa, Angelino.


Tags AC Milan Milan Roma


  1. That’s what was expected to be the lineup.

    I hope Thiaw and Gabbia do ok together, they haven’t had that much time as a pair. If Thiaw starts well, great but if he looks shaky I hope Pioli is quick to react.
    I’d prefer a midfield with more grinta but Musah is probably the only one to fit that bill and he has done well with Reijnders in the past EL games.

    Giroud is Pioli’s boy, so no surprise there, though he has been slowing down, I hope Okafor gets some minutes as that would give us real pace and sharpness.

    This won’t be as easy as previous games v Roma so I hope they all bring there A game (mostly Leao).

    Forza Milan

      1. English teams have a habit of struggling against Gasperini’s Atalanta. Hope that continues. And forza Milan!!!!

  2. I think it will be a 2-0 or 3-1 win for us but we definitely still need to show up and fight for each other throughout the entire match.

    1. 100% Martin!

      De Rossi’s team will battle so we need to fight (especially if things go against us).
      The biggest improvement for me in the team, the last 2 months has been their application, when we give our all we win

      1. You can indeed go a long way with the right team spirit and mentality and i agree we shouldnt take this match too lightly because they have done a great job under de rossis tenure. Im a bit anxious though but i always get that when we play good or great teams but it should definitely be within our means to beat them.

    2. Im thinking the same, 2-0, 3-1 maybe even 3-0 for us. But if we go out there with the mindset that we have already won, that will create a problem.

          1. It could easily also be the result but yeah lets hope for a better result as it would be nervy to come to rome with only a 1 goal lead win. This year the away goals rule was abandoned but does it still count further into the quater/semi finals ?

            Not a big wine drinker myself even though ive tasted some really good more expenssive wine, prefer beers and whiskey, enjoy though 🙂

  3. Just looking at our bench… last season we could bring on Messias, this season Chukweuze. Last season CDK, this season Okafor. Last season Origi, this season Jovic. Nuff said.

    1. I think at this point the overall consensus of every milanista is that we have vastly improved the squad. Im still sad though that we lost maldini and tonali but in hindsight considering his lengthy ban it clearly was in the greater good of the club. I still hope he will return one day at least if he can get a hold of his gambling issues.

  4. Don’t know why but I miss Adli. Thiaw is not 100% so additional body back there would be bezzer. Seems Pioli wants more fast paced midfield. Hope it doesn’t bite, they’re likely to play on counters.

    1. I dunno. Adli is hit or miss defensively, but I think he could be an asset in the return leg when we’re likely to be more defensive. His long passing will unleash devastating counters by Leao and/or Puli with Roma pushing people up.

  5. Rade Krunic disasterclass for Fenerbahce vs Olympiacos.
    2 of the 3 goals so far from his mistakes in passing, but according to Paolo’s Heir Milan should have kept him because he was part of the 19th scudetto

    1. And don’t forget that if we’d kept Cutrone he’d have scored 20+ and we’d be winning the scudetto right now.

  6. I would not underestimate Roma like that. More than one goal difference win is gonna be a very good result. A lot depends on Thiaw. If he keeps up the pace and feels the pitch, then we could win with confidence… but if he decides to play against us which is very likely, then we will have a very difficult task to complete

  7. Let’s hope Thiaw is mentally prepared for this clash. This is the are of most concern for me.

    Getting caught in transition has been our weakness under Pioli. Also the fact that we don’t close players down quickly enough allowing shots on goal.

    It is important to get a significant result in this leg before going to Roma because we have important fixtures coming up. So it would help if we just had to maintain the return leg instead of having to work hard.


  8. 15 mins gone and I’m not loving it. Milan seem asleep and Roma much more on it.

    We need to wake up or we will lose this!

    Ffs we are the home team

    1. Just as I’m writing they scored.

      I can always tell how we are gonna do by the first 10 or 15 mins and we have been absolutely dreadful

    1. Clear offside imo. And I was wondering if they scored on that corner it would be a disgrace and a sucker punch in one

      1. Thought so too but thought maybe my eyes had made a trick on me. seemed very clear offside and the reactions from people seems like it was daytime robbery.

    1. So far imo DDR has set up his side very well to cover our danger guys. We might need a set piece to get a goal or Puli who should have the better of Spina (I say this so that Leao can get a g/a lol)

    2. They put ElSha on the right to cover for Leao and to counter with Theo upfield. Such is the boldness that Roma is often playing with no left wing

  9. Some ‘experts’ were predicting 3:0 win and prepared their wine for celebration😂

    And now what are we going to do? Who is to blame? Referees?? As always

    1. No one has called themselves experts neither has anyone celebrated a win in advance with wine, either learn to read or stop making up bs.

        1. what you initially said is nevertheless still not correct so take my advice and learn to read or stop making up bs, Reality check is that the match isnt over yet by the way so 2-1 or 3-1 can still happen even if it does seem a bit unlikely to happen currently, things can easily turn on a plate.

          1. again making up things i see, please name me where i said i was the smartest man in the room ? i can still give an advice because clearly you are either misreading or making up bs

          2. Man, this is the guy who went around asking for Boulden’s home address because he got triggered by something he said 🙂 You’re never going to talk any sense into this goof. I learned my lesson trying to talk sense into that man child Tkoje. Thank God he buggered off.

          3. Okay let me break it down for you.

            My initial comment was sarcastic and it was towards dejan10 and he got it.
            I didn’t mention a single thing towards you at the beginning.

            You immediately jumped in between me and dejan10 for no reason.

            If there is one person who has to learn how to read, that’s YOU, my friend.

            Learn how to read who is writing towards you who is not before jumping up with your ‘smart’ advice

          4. Dejan10 to be fair Boulden is a menace even though i can have some sympathy for a few things he says in regard of coherency and longevity of a squad its largely regurgitated nonsense he posts. To be fair I rarely expects to talk sense into people 😀

            Mirjalol Not to mess with you or anything but this is what you wrote “Some ‘experts’ were predicting 3:0 ……)


  10. We’re being outnumbered all over the place. Roma’s 3 man midfield is moving laterally un unison to overload our flanks.

  11. Very poor by Pioli. What’s the gameplay here? Pass the ball around until Roma gets it then run like headless chicken?

    Was expecting more, since we are on that incredible 7 streak run… (sarcastic on the incredible)

    1. I agree – I thought we were going to come out all guns blazing and instead we look like we got a pep talk from CDK before kickoff.

  12. I hope you guys can clearly see that we need to see beyond Pioli if we must achieve anything.

    Now, that’s a 4-3-3 formation disguised into a 4-5-1 formation, and this has completely seized the midfield by creating overloads.

    Only Leao can save us now, sadly, Leao is not in form, so we hope on Theo, RLC and Puli to somehow rescue us, otherwise, our gameplan is utter crap.

    1. “Now, that’s a 4-3-3 formation disguised into a 4-5-1 formation, and this has completely seized the midfield by creating overloads.”

      100%, or even a kind of 4-3-2-1 that negates the double pivot.

    2. Agree. Even if we qualify for the next round. He is limited. As long as we get someone better of course. NOT CONTE.

  13. I was mocked by some people here when I said Roma after DDR took over were at least as good as we are.

    Now they know not to mock me…

      1. Yes, but they are clearly as good as we are. They are showing it.

        Yes, the quarter-finals are not over yet and I do hope we reverse this, but it is clear that Roma are a good team and much better than the Roma we beat easily when Mourinho was in charge and had completely alienated his own players with his nasty personality.

        1. Yep, I agree. Whether they’re as good as us I’m not sure, but they’re definitely stronger. As much as I hated Mou’s Roma I’d rather we were playing them tonight.

      2. I noticed that you are always ready to defend Boulden. Whenever someone is against him or her, you ‘accidentally’ show up to defend.
        What will happen if you write from your original account?

  14. This is scary stuff, we could be down by 3 already!
    Players moaning to the ref instead of playing on.
    If we keep this up we will be destroyed tonight

  15. Halftime. We’re in trouble. No game plan. We always seem to be outnumbered 2:1 or 3:2 when IN DEFENSE. Now I’m thinking we’ll be lucky to get a draw.

    1. Just when i start thinking, maybe we could survive another year with pioli, something like this happens. Meanwhile out of form atalanta is leading in Liverpool

      1. “Just when i start thinking, maybe we could survive another year with pioli, something like this happens.”

        Perfect summary of my feelings like multiple times this season.

    2. It’s confusing how we come out and play like this. Calabria’s all over the place. No cohesion in sight from anyone. Leao hanging around in his own half – it’s a mess so far. Let’s hope Ibra flips a table over during his pep talk.

  16. Roma crowded that midfield. We just didn’t know how to respond to that. One of our issues this season honestly, that midfield problem. However, after the goal they dropped back and looking for counters. Talking about roma preparation for the game. Derossi sure did his homework. 2 are always close to leao, and when 1 is not there another covers. Again that midfield. 5 roma players in there and we couldn’t get anything going, up to the goal anyways. Looking forward to the second half as some roma players look somewhat out of breath and more spaces will open up.

  17. Don’t worry guys we’ll turn it around second half. It’s only 1 goal. We just need to be more calm on the ball and make the adjustments to a very good Roma side. Tactically Pioli has to think of something here….maybe just go back to the classic 4231 without all those little inversions and position switches

    1. I think we need to be much more urgent. We are too slow and Roma are finding it all too easy
      We need a change.
      Bring on Chucky for RLC and Musah for Bennacer.

      RLC is awful and was the big man marking the goal scorer. Its better when hes a ghost

      1. 🤦‍♂️

        Urgent is an understatement. I had hopes.fkr the second half but maaannnn

        Thought was Giroud on the goal but man why are we playing so downtrodden on our own home turf 🤷‍♂️
        Im hoping Adli doesnt get a red at this point smh 🤦‍♂️

  18. Meanwhile Klopp was thinking Atalanta as a Championship level team and started the game with bench players and Gasperini slapped the sh*t out of him in the first half lol

    Italian team beating English one would be soo satisfying

  19. Jesus Christ, Leao. Of all the games he chooses to have a night off… And I’m one of his defenders on here but this is ridiculous. Glad Adli’s on for Bennacer as well – he was doing jack. If I was Pioli I’d seriously be considering putting Chuk on the right wing.

  20. Bennacer was the one who is the most active and yet he got subbed off.

    Meanwhile Calabria is running everywhere except his own position.

    Pulisic completely looses his confidence and disappear against big teams (although it is hard to call freaking Roma a big team 🙁 )

    Loftus cheek’s short passes are disaster, literally passing to Roma players

    This game is only helping Roma to get their confidence boosted, unfortunately

      1. its been a horrible performance from us tonight thats for sure but the match isnt over yet but even if we lose 0-1 the fixture is still fairly open but an 0-2 liverpool loss to atalanta does soothen it a bit if we atleast can manage to show some pride and show up in the second match.

    1. They took it easy and benched many of the ususal starters. If Atalanta are smart, they should play it safe and the qualification to the next round is within their reach.

      1. I warned my local liverpool fan owned bar that atalanta could cause them some issues so guess klopp didnt hear that memo 😀 Liverpool can probably also turn the fixture even if they lose 0-2 at home but it will most likely still not be an easy task.

        1. Nah, it seems that Atalanta have made a good plan on how to handle Liverpool. With 3 goals ahead, the qualification is on their hands. If they throw it away, the joke is on them. lol

          1. well after 0-3 i agree and think it will be next to impossible for the englishmen at least if atalanta also shows up in the second match.

  21. If this wasn’t a Milan game I’d switch off ages ago..borderline unwatchable.

    Then i think of arsenal bayern game.. that was watchable, not gonna mention the 3-3 one

  22. The way we’ve been playing the last 15 minutes is the way we should have been playing all match. Then again, Roma has taken their foot off the pedal somewhat as they see the end of the match approaching.

    1. So many bad performances across the pitch… It’s a mystery to me how some nights we look like world beaters and other nights we get this.

  23. sh1t result but the fixture isnt over, roma is favourites now.

    Basically most players disapointed me today but bennace, leao and loftus was not having a great day today. chukwueze should have been subbed on far earlier as well.

    1. Our away form seems to be a lot better this season. 1-0 is a slim margin but Olimpico is a tough place to play. Hopefully, we turn it around.

      1. Yeah it certainly will be a tough task but im still fairly confident that we will have the chace to progress im still rather angry at the moment because we really played a lousy match. We are nevertheless not the favourite anylonger.

  24. Very frustrating as their goal was irregular (offside before that corner kick) and we hit the crossbar twice but couldn’t equalize. Also Lukaku saved a certain goal by heading it out on the goal line. We got outplayed in first half but improved in second half and still couldn’t equalize. Darn! Meanwhile Atalanta smashed Liverpool in London, 3-0, wow!

  25. Giroud can’t even scored that simple pass from Chuk. SMH. I guess it’s time we need a new main striker.

    And I already said Roma can’t be underestimate after De Rossi took over. Now we must at least scored 3 goals at Olimpico.

  26. It’s shocking how flat and lethargic that was… not one single player did anything right all night….

    The worrisome part is Pioli couldn’t out coach DeRossi? Dear God, Stefano….

    Luckily for us we play better away. Hopefully we turn this around.

    1. Not one single player did anything right, I can’t agree with that. Adli had a gorgeous shot that the goalie barely deflected and it still hit the crossbar. Chuk had a fabulous play and gave a sitter to Giroud, who spoiled it by sending it to the crossbar. So at least Adli and Chuk did something right.

      I guess if Adli and Chuk had been subbed in sooner, we could have at least tied.


      Meanwhile Leverkusen shot 33 freaking times at West Ham’s goal, in London, while West Ham only managed 1 shot. Still, Leverkusen only won 2-0, but they should handle West Ham easily at home.

      So unless we react strongly in the second leg, it’s looking like Roma v Leverkusen for the semifinals.

      1. Felt like one of those nights when things just won’t go your way no matter what you do. Especially after that Giroud miss. He puts that away any other time.

    2. After making my wildly off 3-0 prediction I could tell from the first 5 min it wasn’t going to be one of those nights. Although saying that it could’ve been 3-0 with a bit more luck and if VAR hadn’t taken the night off.

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