Official: Slavia Praha vs. AC Milan starting XIs – five changes from Empoli win

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has decided to name a strong starting line-up for the Europa League last 16 second leg against Slavia Praha.

There are two unavailable players for Milan in tonight’s game: Tommaso Pobega who continues to recover after the surgery he underwent late last year, and Alessandro Florenzi who has to serve a one-game suspension.

Pioli has named Mike Maignan in goal with a back four of Davide Calabria, Matteo Gabbia, Fikayo Tomori and Theo Hernandez. Malick Thiaw therefore drops out, compared to the team that started against Empoli.

Yunus Musah and Yacine Adli have been named as the midfield duo, which means that Ismael Bennacer and Tijjani Reijnders have both been replaced. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is in the attacking midfield role once again.

Christian Pulisic starts on the right wing and Rafael Leao comes back in for Noah Okafor on the left after having served his suspension. Olivier Giroud leads the line, taking his spot back from Luka Jovic.

Official Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Gabbia, Tomori, Theo; Musah, Adli; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud.

Bench: Sportiello, Nava, Bennacer, Reijnders, Jovic, Okafor, Kalulu, Chukwueze, Kjaer, Thiaw, Terracciano.

Official Slavia XI (4-2-3-1): Staněk; Vlček, Ogbu, Zima, Zmrzlý; Holeš, Dorley; Douděra, Provod, Wallem; Chytil.

Bench: Mandous, Sirotnk, Tijani, Zafeiris, Van Buren, Jurečka, Sevcik, Schranz, Tomic, Jurasek, Konecny, Pech.


Tags AC Milan Slavia Praha Milan


  1. I guess whoever suggested the other day that Adli and Musah should start together got their will 😀

    I’m certainly expecting a high intensity match and that we will get antagonized by the crowd throughout the match when we have the ball.

    It might be a small win for us but we really need to turn up from the get go because if they score early on this could very well end up as tough nut to crack.
    2-1 in favor of AC Milan would be my guess.

  2. So, Pioli makes the right choice in playing Tomori and Gabbia as the CB pairing, and then goes and does something like putting Musah and Adli together in a game where midfield is going to be crucial. THIS is why we need a coaching change. Not Reijnders and Adli, our most common pairing in recent times (and most effective apparently), not Reijnders and Bennacer, who are our most experienced pair and probably the highest quality on an individual basis. No. We’re going with Musah and Adli. Go back to the below article to see this is the second worst pairing in terms of PPG achieved and times used that we could choose (Bennacer has missed much of the season which skews the combinations that he has been a part of, while Musah and Adli have been available all season).


  3. Musah has been showing good energy lately so im curious what he will bring today. And if adli or musy flop lord eagle can alwys bring on ‘ders or benacer. or both

  4. Musah will add high energy both in defense and driving foward. Adli will play the passing lanes. Its not a bad pairing in theory but they don’t have a lot of game time together. I guess this is their time to shine.

  5. I like Musah and I think he will be better than Adli and Bennacer but I’m not sure he is ready yet for crucial games.

  6. Feeling like a CL semi final match.. that’s what playing poorly in the first leg does. But Pioli is quite good in such situations. When pressure pilling on him he win. I think 2 nil first half score to Milan.

  7. Oh man…. Musah. Okay…. Looks better driving forward than defending. I do hope both he and Adli are on top of their game today.

    Bennacer & Reijnders to come in the second half for sure. Gotta keep the midfield fresh.


  8. The first leg criticism is incredibly exaggerated and weird. Sure, we didn’t play that well, but we scored four goals! Four! For your information, that was only the third time this season that we scored four goals. And yes, we let in two goals but they were incredibly good shots, very hard to defend; it happens. Sure, we played with a man advantage but even so, one still needs to score those goals with good finishing, beat the goalkeeper, and so forth, and we did do it four times. I’m confident that we will advance. OK, a 2-goal advantage is not a guarantee of aggregate victory but it’s not like we can’t score more goals during this second leg. Forza Milan!

    1. Was a good goal margin agreed. But Slavia coach said they feel more confident after that game. So physiological it gives the opponent more and that’s important in these ties

    2. Was a good goal margin agreed. But Slavia coach said they feel more confident after that game. So physiological it gives the opponent more and that’s important in these ties .

    1. Straight red? Why? It’s not even a yellow. It was poor control by Mike and the Praha player had every right to go for it, and it was a clash of knees. Fairly common in football. The problem is that Mike is made of glass. Glass players aren’t worth 8m per year.

        1. You see how they did it with the foul on Calabria??? If it’s a red card offense they go to VAR. Calabria was fouled, the ref didn’t give a card, they called him to the screen and he got sent off. The Maignan foul was not a red card, otherwise they would have looked at it. NOOB!

          1. Refs are all over the place, bud. They aren’t even consistent. Noob? Rest assured I been watching this game longer than you, child. Ignorant little boy! Go find someone else to post your diatribes towards.

          2. Wow. You are the one who started with the insults. Child? I’m probably old enough to be your father, and if I was you wouldn’t be talking to people like this in the first place.

      1. He apparently is staying on.
        Sportiello was all ready to go but Mike isn’t giving up yet.
        Let’s hope it won’t make his injury worse.

  9. Attempting to injure our players? Yep. That was justified. Shame on this team. Maybe that was a yellow, but it sums up what they are doing.

      1. Boulden is that you? Lol 🤣🤣🤣
        U mad bro?
        Lighten up. Relax. Enjoy the jokes. Not everything around here is serious especially when there are 3 laughing emojis in the comment 😅

          1. Consider giancarlo was a commentator on here a year before you poped up you wouldn’t know about it anyway. Since you obviously do the conclusion is clear. Makes me sick you use the name goku tbh.

          2. I’ve been here longer than he has and I know him. I know you like him. Find out his email or something and ask the guy out. You have this special arrogance. You two might be a match.

  10. F* around long enough and find out. Playing like a bunch of lumberjacks, they deserved it. And I’m kind of glad to see Sportiello.

  11. Rafa should have handled that pass and scored. Pulisic should have displaced the goalie and scored. Two golden opportunities missed by two of our best players. Damn!

    As for the two fouls, Mike’s was not a red card foul. Calabria’s was. The ref helped by VAR is absolutely right in both instances.

  12. Darn, goalie saved Rafa’s shot. Again, that should have been a score. We could be up 3-0, instead have nothing to show for it. Damn. But it looks like it’s coming.

  13. Haha, what was I saying? Great goal by Puli, great goal by Loftus-Cheek, great assists by Rafa and Theo.

    So, where is the huge criticism now? We are in full control of the aggregate. Like I said, all the doomsday naysayers who went berserks about the so-called small 2-goal advantage, forgot that we are perfectly capable of scoring in the second leg too, like I said above. And we did.

    I wish some fans stopped the negativity. Forza Milan.

      1. I’m chill. It was the naysayers who weren’t chill. I’m enjoying it. I was confident after the first leg while dozens of people were reacting like the round was over and we’d get eliminated in Prague. LOL.

        This is not hindsight. If you look at past threads, I said exactly so after the first leg, saying that the criticism was exaggerated after we scored 4 goals (and let in 2 but those were once-in-a-lifetime perfect shots by the Praha forwards; it happens; nobody’s fault) and we’d be fine, and would score more in Prague.

        I was right. So, I’m chill.

        AND WOW, what a golazo by Rafa!!! 3-0

        1. I guess the difference is we could have rested our starters instead of risking them against a team of hatchet men.

          Hopefully Mike recovers soon

        2. I think the criticismn was exaggerated but at the same time we did also make some horrid defensive errors that shouldn’t happen on this level that caused their two goals and if we ended up behind early in this match which could have happened had Maignan not saved a slavia chance then maybe the game could have gone a diofferent direction and our players could have been affected. It did also help that they got a red card but we have overall been playing good over the 2 fixtures and especially in todays first half..

    1. I dont think it’s doomsday just that ppl were expecting more in the first leg and they couldn’t tell how we would have done if we were playing 11v11 due to the red card. Slava did well and there could be an argument that they were the better team before the red. And in this game too. So basically we won over tow legs and still don’t know what our level is because we haven’t played 11v11. Let’s hope for a good draw though. I’m confident against any team (except Pool). Even Bayer we can beat I’m sure.

    2. Really? Have you watched the match before the red card? And now you’re on here saying how we control the match and there was nothing to worry about…
      You’re on here being condescending after we got a gift in a red card…

      I wish some fans would stop being basic af

      1. Ya, these people don’t actually watch the game with any sort of nuance or discerning eye.. it’s either the ball goes in the net which is good, or doesn’t, which is bad.

        They didn’t notice that we were getting dominated by a team without one player anyone has ever heard of when it was 11 vs 11.

        Short memories, biased opinions, blind positivity. Damn, that must be a great life to live actually lol

        1. You’re completely wrong. They stormed at us in the first 20 minutes, as they should, being at home and 2 goals down in aggregate. We cleared their attempts and survived.

          Then we scored 3 GORGEOUS goals, certainly helped by the man advantage, but there is merit in scoring those goals regardless of the man advantage. There are plenty of games by great teams that are one man up but don’t convert or convert sparingly.

          Being one man up doesn’t automatically guarantee that you’ll score 7 goals, like we have done so far in this aggregate.

          Scoring 7 goals in ANY situation is a testament to quality by the forwards and by the players who provide passes and assists to them. Sure, it’s easier to do it with a man up, but you still need to put those balls in the back of the net.

      2. It wasn’t a gift. It was absolutely warranted. The guy almost murdered Calabria. What are you talking about, a gift? That’s a direct red card by any refereeing crew that know what they are doing. It’s not our fault that Slavia Praha chose to engage in extremely reckless challenges that could break a colleague’s leg.

        And you are clearly underestimating our forwards. Even with the man advantage, the goals still need to be scored; the finishing still needs to be good. Did you see Rafa’s PERFECT finishing right at the top corner of the goal? That takes skill, and that finishing from outside the box has nothing to do with having a man advantage, but rather, has to do with Rafa’s skill; if you haven’t noticed, his finishing which was sort of a problem (hitting Chinese balloons with some of his shots) has improved a lot, lately.

        You act like goals are scored just because of 11 v 10. I’ve seen plenty of matches when one team had a man advantage and still couldn’t convert.

        All 3 scores we had in first half were excellent work from our players, with gorgeous assists and finishing. Sure, it’s easier to get to the scoring positions when you have a man advantage but like I said, you still need to perform for the ball to get to the end of the net.

        Oh, Praha was doing well before the red? Of course! They are the home team, propped by their crowd, and they were behind in the aggregate, and came at us with all cylinders firing, which is expected in this situation. We survived and our defense cleared their attempts. Then we imposed the quality of our forwards, even though they were helped by the man advantage, to a degree, but like I said, a man advantage is not a 100% guarantee that you will then proceed to scoring 3 gorgeous goals.

        Again, put down the negativity. Forza Milan.

        I’m basic af? LOL. No, I just trust our excellent forwards like Puli and Rafa, and the players who provide great passes and assists.

        We get lots of negativity here. Yes, we didn’t make the UCL round of 16 by a hair, in the middle of a devastating injury crisis, and in a group of death, still, just a lot of unlucky situations as one of the multiple goals we almost scored against Newcastle in the first leg would have seen us through (we did enough after that game to qualify, and didn’t by 1 point; so if we had earned two more points in that 0-0 against Newcastle that we were incredibly unlucky not to win, we’d have advanced in the toughest group of them all DESPITE the injury crisis. See, both teams that did advance, PSG and Dortmund, are in the quarterfinals. That was the toughest group. People here talked like that was the biggest failure ever, when I did see merit in almost making it while dealing with devastating injuries.

        Then, we are second in Serie A. Sure, Inter currently has a better team and they ran away with the title; but people here talk like we’re fighting relegation, when we are better than all the other 18 teams except Inter.

        Judging by the negativity I see here, Milan would be a Serie B team and wouldn’t make any European competition, when the reality is far from that.

        Am I being condescending regarding the naysayers? Yes, maybe I am. It might be because the naysayers do deserve it.

    3. 1st leg negativity wasn’t about the “2 goal small advantage” it was more about the horrible display. Way different in the 2nd leg as well as in seria a. Movement is a lot better. Many quick passes and triangle plays. Movement off the ball is better. Yes slavia started the game guns blazing which is to be expected, they are still professional players.

      1. Yes, we’ve been irregular and we’ve had bad days, this season. Yes, we played poorly in the first leg (which I did say in my first post about this issue, today) but still scored 4 goals. Give me ugly play but with 4 goals rather than great displays without a win like we’ve also had many times this season (against Newcastle first leg, against Dortmund first leg, against Atalanta recently, against Juve, etc).

        Still, reading the posts here, it seemed like we were doomed after that first leg. I was one of the few posters here to still display confidence that we’d be fine, despite not playing so well in the first leg.

        And yes, you got it; we have a man advantage this time too, but our attacking movement in the last 30 minutes of the first half rank among some of our best offensive work of the season, regardless of being helped by the one-man advantage. Like I said multiple times, there are plenty of good teams that can’t convert or convert only one goal despite a man advantage. We’ve scored 7 times. SEVEN!!!! And they were nice goals.

        Now we should just administer the result, so that we are rested for the subsequent games. I won’t be upset at all if we don’t score any more goals today, and let in a couple. But I”m sure if it happens, the naysayers will scream again “how could we let in two goals being a man up? We suck!” Write it down. If it happens, that’s what people will post, guaranteed.

  14. 3-0.


    I by the way think maybe that should have been a yellow and not a red. But this team was playing so dirty… let’s see the second half.

  15. Unfortunately Tomori managed to get a yellow in a game we are totally in control of and is now suspended for what will probably be our first real challenge in the next round. So Thiaw and Gabbia, Kjaer and Gabbia, or Thiaw and Kjaer?

    1. Yes, that was really dumb by Tomori. He’s our best defender but has no situational awareness at all. Plays exactly the same regardless of score or situation. Needs to be smarter.
      Also I thought that red card was an embarrassment. It was Calabria’s own doing. He lost the ball behind him, then dives to try and get it and slides his feet under where the guy was stepping down. It was not intentional and I don’t know what the Slavia player was suppose to do, levitate?

      1. I also think that the substitution of Tomori was a waste at this point, because he’s already suspended and if he gets another yellow it makes no difference and Slavia isn’t getting back into this match even at parity at this point. Now one of Giroud or Leao (probably Leao) will have to play the whole match.

  16. Closed the game in the 1st half = good game. Time to give the ones that are tired a break now. What a screamer from leao, well done. Hope mike will come back soon. Allthough, Sportiello is NOT tata, he’ll be fine. I would keep leao in the game and let him score 1 more at least to boost his confidence. Maybe puli, needs a break. Let chuk in rediscover his form.

  17. now THAT kind of goal is what we’d like to see from Leao,good thinking by Puli who quickly pass the ball to Leao..Adli got some passes wrong,need to improve..I hope we can rest Theo,Leao and Pulisic later on

  18. Sky Sport Italia message from Milan medical staff: Maignan has a bruised knee, but no sprain

    He should be fine. Some reassurance.

  19. Credit to the Slavia fans for hanging out. Just before the break I began seeing a lot of empty seats and I thought they were going home, but turns out they were getting over to the beer stand early!

    1. Why? There is no goal differential criterion in these knock-out legs. Our guys need to just rest and avoid injuries and cards.

      OK, Slavia scored one. No big deal. Still 4 goals ahead. I’m sure the negative people will say “how come we let a goal in while playing with a one-man advantage?” Whatever. I’m not upset at all. For all I care, they can score three more as long as we win the aggregate.

    1. Haha, for someone who uses the screen name Calm Down, you don’t seem so calm.

      Relax. The round is won. We should rather avoid unnecessary physical exertion, injuries and cards. We have another competition to manage, Serie A, so that we stay ahead of Juve for second place which gives us some financial advantages, and preserve the cushion for the top 4 UCL spots.

      There is no need whatsoever to keep trying hard, tonight.

      1. I understand reserving energy and minimizing injury possibilities but that was this much slowing down was not ideal for that. Just sub your 5 best players off and keep a bit more intensity with the reserves

  20. Oh, we conceded a goal while one-man up, so horrible! LOL, I don’t care. For all I care, they could have scored 3 more. The important thing is to win the aggregate and advance, and we were in full control of the round; no need to try hard to keep the clean sheet or to score more, given that there is no goal differential criterion. The only thing that matters is to score one more than your opponent, in the aggregate. We were just managing the advantage, in cruise control, to avoid unnecessary physical exertion, injuries, or cards. We do have an intense game schedule, so slowing down which resulted in suffering a goal, doesn’t upset me at all.

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