AC Milan play for their lives in the UEFA Champions League tonight in Portugal against FC Porto. Milan have a huge confidence boost from their comeback win this weekend but will miss a number of key starters for the game. Here are some key battles to look out for:
Right back vs Left back
Jesus Corona vs Davide Calabria
Milan had Corona as a target this summer for the right wing but he has been given a new contract and an adapted role often adding attacking power from left back with his incredible pace and strength. Corona will also have the opportunity to take on Calabria in an unusual role as he will be replacing Ballo-Toure who had a difficult adjustment last time out. Calabria will need to be steady in defence and avoid giving Corna space to go wide and cross the ball in for Taremi.
Central midfielder vs Central defensive midfielder
Sergio Oliveira vs Sandro Tonali
Oliveira is the man for Porto in the UCL. He pulls the strings for the side and can create moments of magic with passes that pierce or shots that stun. Tonali will need to keep playing as he has in recent weeks, being physical and putting on pressure early. He will also need to keep the passing working with Bennacer to hold possession in this one. This will be the defining battle of this game as we will need to disrupt their attacking flow to ease the burden on our defenders.
Centre back vs Striker
Pepe vs Olivier Giroud
Giroud will likely get his first start in the UCL for Milan and he will need to deliver similarly to the last game. He will need to be clinical and use his acceleration to pip past an insanely experienced and physical Pepe. There will be a battle in the air in Porto’s box as well as some tussling over the hold up play for the two players which will undoubtedly open up spaces for the wingers to exploit.