AC Milan will look to rebound off of their disappointing draw at the weekend away to Cagliari, as they open their Europe account away to Luxembourgian side F91 Dudelange.
The team was held to a frustrating draw away at Cagliari on Sunday following an abysmal opening 20 minutes in which the home side confined the Rossoneri to their own half, resulting in their early goal.
Milan dominated the following 70 minutes and created several chances but couldn’t capitalise on several opportunities to win the game, eventually settling for a 1-1 draw through Gonzalo Higuain’s first goal for the club.
The starting XI is expected to see a handful of changes in anticipation to the weekend game vs Atalanta. Pepe Reina is expected to replace Gianluigi Donnarumma in between the sticks, the defence sees only Alessio Romagnoli remain from the weekend’s side with Mattia Caldara making his Milan debut beside him. Diego Laxalt and Abate are also expected to make their first starts of the season at the full-back positions.
The midfield is completely different with Tiémoué Bakayoko, Jose Mauri, and Andrea Bertolacci coming in for the usual trio of Franck Kessie, Biglia, and Bonaventura. The attack also sees heavy turnover with Fabio Borini and Samu Castillejo starting on the flanks for Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu, while Higuain remaining in the XI following back-up Patrick Cutrone’s injury on international duty.
Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Reina; Abate, Caldara, Romagnoli, Laxalt; Bakayoko, Mauri, Bertolacci; Borini, Higuain, Castillejo.
Dudelange made history in qualifying for the Europa League becoming the first Luxembourg side to compete in the group stage of a European competition. They overcame a rather impressive list of opponents to qualify as well beating the reigning Polish champions Legia Warsaw 4-3 on aggregate then absolutely blowing the reigning Romanian champions FC Cluj out of the water winning 5-2 on aggregate in the final round of qualifying.
Unfortunately, this run seems to have affected their league form, having won the Luxembourg National League title last season they now find themselves in 12th (out of 14 teams) with 6 points from their first 4 games. They’ve already accumulated as many losses this early in the season as they did the entirety of last season.
LAST TIME OUT
As previously mentioned Milan were held to a disappointing draw away to Cagliari with their only goal coming through star striker Higuain opening his account for the club.
Dudelange are coming off a 2-0 league win having not played for nearly a month between that and their second leg game vs FC Cluj.
New signing Samu Castillejo has made a good impact off the bench with his pace and skill following his summer transfer form Villarreal. He now gets his first opportunity to start against relatively weaker opposition.
This game presents the perfect opportunity to showcase his abilities and potentially stake a claim to a starting spot in more important games.
Dudelange have already caused several upsets in getting to this stage but I can’t imagine they overcome this tough task even against a heavily rotated Milan team.
Dudelange vs. Milan: 0-3