Game: AC Milan – Atletico Madrid
Date: 19 February, Tuesday 2014 year
Start time: 19:45 GMT
Milan hosts Atletico in the first leg of the Champions league’ Round of 16. Atletico arrive in Italy as one of only three teams to avoid defeat in the group stage. Milan, on the other side, got through the group stage very lucky, because in their last decisive match against Ajax at “San Siro” they had to play 70 mins with 10 players on the field but still hold out for draw which has the price of a win.
Atletico are having an amazing season as they have 60 points in La Liga, exactly as much as Real Madrid and Barcelona have. The battle for the title is going to be very cruel and “Los Colchoneros” are definitely in it. Their recent form isn’t the best as they lost three games in a row (two of them against Real Madrid in Copa del Rey and one in their visit in Almeria). But they got back in the right track last Saturday with a 3:0 win against Valladolid at “Vicente Calderon”.
AC Milan occupies the 9th place in Seria A and definitely hope this season to end up as soon as possible. They were eliminated early in Copa Italia and their chance for something significant in this season is the Champions League. Last Friday Milan win against Bologna at “San Siro” with a stunning late gol from Mario Balotelli. Super Mario is in form and he is definitely the most important player for Milan in the battle against Atletico. After hiring Seedorf, Milan start to play better football but not even close enough to eliminate Diego Simeone’s side. “The Red and Blacks” have to play their best in both matches because their only advantage towards Atletico is the experience. Milan are the way more experienced team, but they should put amazing performance to get through.
Seedorf will be without midfield duo Riccardo Montolivo and Sulley Muntari through suspension, but the good news is that Kaka will be available for him.
Atletico will be in Italy without Tiago (wrist), Filipe Luis (groin) and Javi Manquillo (back).
Milan lose really hard at “San Siro” in the Champions League and I think they won’t lose the first leg. Also I expect Atletico to be happy with a draw and not to take huge risk.