ime winner AC Milan is in the unfamiliar posi

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ime winner AC Milan is in the unfamiliar posi

pon 29. říj 2018 10:25:57

MILAN - Seven-time winner AC Milan is in the unfamiliar position of being the overwhelming underdog when it hosts Atletico Madrid in the first leg of its Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday. Atleticos best finish in the competition is runner-up 40 years ago but it is top of the Spanish league along with Barcelona and Real Madrid, and qualified from its group with an almost perfect record — slipping in a 1-1 draw at Zenit St. Petersburg. Milan is going through another transitional year and is under the guidance of inexperienced coach Clarence Seedorf. The Italian team is further hampered by injuries and suspensions. Despite its difficulties, Milan is the only Italian team to progress to the knockout stages. Can it pull off a shock? Here are five things to know about the match: KAKA CONCERN: Talismanic AC Milan playmaker Kaka expects to be fully fit in time. Kaka recovered from the flu to play in Fridays 1-0 victory over Bologna but had to be replaced 10 minutes from time after injuring his right ankle. The Brazilian returned to training on Monday. "After Fridays win, were confident and ready for Wednesday," said Kaka, who scored against Celtic in the group stage. AC Milan is without Sulley Muntari and captain Riccardo Montolivo, who are both suspended, and Stephan El Shaarawy, Valter Birsa, Robinho and Bryan Cristante, who are all injured. Cristian Zapata is also doubtful with injury. New signing Keisuke Honda is cup tied, having played in the Champions League this season for CSKA Moscow. MILAN MISERY: AC Milan looks to the Champions League as a welcome distraction from its domestic woes. Milan lies ninth in the Serie A after the exact same number of wins, draws and defeats — eight. Its mediocre form got coach Massimiliano Allegri sacked at the beginning of the year, and former player Clarence Seedorf replaced him. It is the 37-year-olds first managerial experience. However, Seedorf knows the tournament better than most. The Dutchman lifted the trophy the last time Milan won the competition, in 2007, and is the only player to have won the league with three different clubs — Ajax, Real Madrid and Milan twice. "They are favourites in every area, but the Champions League is something different," Seedorf said. "I am confident but it will be difficult. We need to have a very great game. "The 2007 Champions League represents the characteristics of this tournament. You can give so much more if you are all together. That year we werent at the highest level, but we changed in the Champions League. We have to do so again now." SAN SIRO STAGEFRIGHT? Atletico will be relieved goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will play after a recent dip while the Belgium goalie was sidelined by injury. Courtois has been instrumental in helping Atletico share the lead in the Spanish league and for finishing the league group stage undefeated. The first leg away will not daunt Atletico, their goalkeeper insists. "We wont be intimidated by (the San Siro). Weve already managed good results at difficult stadiums such as Sevilla, or Bilbao," Courtois said. "We also went into the group stage with little experience and succeeded. If we maintain the same intensity as we have in the league all season we shouldnt have any problems." Courtois expects his teammates to keep Mario Balotelli from breaking out: "Im not sure how well defend against him, Im sure the coach knows, however." ATLETICOS TWO DIEGOS: While David Villa has returned from injury to be available, Atletico will be leaning on a pair of Brazilian Diegos at San Siro. Striker Diego Costa and midfielder Diego Ribas are expected to be key players. Diego Costa recovered his scoring touch in a 3-0 win over Valladolid on Saturday, while Diego Ribas is showing the form of two seasons ago when he helped Atletico win the Europa League. "I like important games like this. Atletico is a big club and we should be playing these types of games," Diego Costa said. "They certainly motivate you, so going to play at the San Siro will be memorable. We can get a result there." SIMEONES MILAN LINK: Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone knows San Siro well. He spent two seasons there as a player with Inter Milan from 1997-99. In that period Inter drew three times against Milan in the league, winning once. It also suffered a hefty 5-0 defeat in the Italian Cup. Also, Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati spent the 2007-08 season on loan at Atletico. Custom Calgary Flames Jerseys . 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Defensive Depth TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun is reporting the Toronto Maple Leafs have considerable interest in unrestricted free-agent defenceman Dan Boyle.PHILADELPHIA -- The Canucks say they are happy picking sixth in the NHL draft as it stands now but that hasnt stopped new GM Jim Benning from making calls. "We think at six were going to get a real good player that we like, but up until (Friday) when the draft starts well keep inquiring and seeing what it takes to move up and if weve got the assets to make it happen," Benning said Thursday on the eve of the draft. Benning has a major asset to dangle in the form of centre Ryan Kesler. "Were talking to teams, but at the end of the day were going to do what makes sense to us and to try to help Ryan out," Benning said. "If we dont think we can get a fair deal for him, then were going to keep him and hes a Vancouver Canuck. And were happy to have him back because hes a great player." Kesler has reportedly given the Canucks a list of potential teams he would join, with some suggesting that list is growing shorter. Benning says dealing with a smaller pool of potential trade partners is more difficult but "that is what it is." "Were talking to the agent on a daily basis annd were talking to teams and were hoping to figure something out thats hes happy with and were happy with.dddddddddddd" Kesler had 25 goals and 18 assists in 77 games last season. "If were going to go down that path, we want to try to get NHL-calibre players back to help with that," Benning said of losing Keslers offence. Asked about looking for a veteran goalie, Benning said: "Were going to look at all of our options on that." "Weve said before were happy with the progress that Eddie (Lack) made last year. But as free agency comes up, were going to look at options and then if it makes sense for us, well do that." The Canucks also have Jacob Markstrom in goal. Benning said he is not hung up about trades within his own conference. "I dont think that has any bearing on what were trying to do in Vancouver," he said. "We want to try to get some younger players here this next few years going forward. We have (forward) Bo Horvat who we drafted last year and were going to have the sixth pick this year. So were getting some building blocks." Cheap Soccer Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Hockey Jerseys Nike NFL Jerseys China Cheap Nike MLB Jerseys China Wholesale Baseball Jerseys China Wholesale College Jerseys Cheap Jerseys From China Wholesale Jerseys Near Me Cheap Jerseys Online Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Authentic Cheap Soccer Jerseys China Cheap NCAA Jerseys Authentic Cheap Nike NBA Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Authentic MLB Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Throwback Jerseys Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China ' ' '

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