CL Playoff Preview, the Home Leg

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Nobody likes the 1-1 away from home result, but it's still a result. Now how to keep it is a different story.

A different Milan team, a team with actual warriors and battlers would look at this match quite differently. An away goal advantage for the Milan of my youth may as well be a five goal lead. A Milan team made up of the World's best defenders would simply soak up pressure content with a 0-0 result, and if lucky a single goal to seal the deal. That was the Milan of my youth, a Milan not concerned with champagne football, but one concerned with the result. Recognizing the beauty, not in goals, but in the mastery of defense. This is not that Milan...

Instead, Allegri will look at the team sheet and have to decide which "dynamic" duo will be tasked with keeping a clean sheet. Silvestre? Zapata? Mexes? Neither instills the confidence for such a match, and neither has proved to be a difference maker in the most difficult of must win matches. What does a team without a rock at the back? Hang on for dear life...

On a good day, the midfield and attack can help open and accommodate play. Keep the ball and shield the defense from immediate danger. But if the opponents earns a foothold, then the match becomes a wide open affair looking more like a Rocky v Apollo slugfest, than a tactical chess match. One hay maker can spell the end for either team, and without the players to steel the back and control the match this one can go either way.

I have confidence this team can pull this off, in fact only once has an Allegri led team made it past a KO round, it was against Arsenal in which they played night and day and football. I don't blame Max for that, but look at the players and their inability to stay calm and focused for that second ninety minutes. This is their chance, can they prove they are capable or get into a brawl where tactics are thrown out the window and the match can go either way?

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