AC Milan travel to Croatia for their fourth Champions League fixture in the group stage to face local champions Dinamo Zagreb. Milan need all three points in this game to set up a final day showdown against RB Salzburg to get through to the last round. Zagreb are monsters at their home stadium and have not lost here in 2022. Here are some key battles to look out for:
Centre back vs Striker
Brahim Diaz vs Manuel Locatelli
Simon Kjaer vs Bruno Petkovic
The last time Tatarusanu, Kalulu, Gabbia, Kjaer and Hernandez was the starting backline, we leaked four goals in the 4-3 loss to Fiorentina. Kjaer needs to be a leader on and off the ball to command the defence and limit the exposure to Tatarusanu. He held up well in the Monza fixture against very physical strikers and bearing in mind how we conceded in the reverse fixture with Petkovic’s hold up play, his aggression will be needed.
Left attacker vs Right back
Mislav Orsic vs Pierre Kalulu
In the previous tie, Kalulu and Tomori were caught out by some solid hold up play and a nifty pass which allowed Orsic to score against us. Kalulu will solely be responsible this time with Tomori suspended and will need to cover for Gabbia who is less adept to these high pressure situations. Kalulu needs to have the game of his life in this one as a loss would be devastating for our chances to progress and Orsic is still the one player who makes things happen for Zagreb.
Right back vs Left centre back
Ante Rebic vs Dino Peric
Rebic scored his first goal for HNK Split at this stadium against Zagreb in 2011 so will have fond memories and will want to make a good impression in his first game back home in a while. He is facing the most in-form defender and arguably player in that side. He will have the double pressure of managing the doubling off of Peric and Ljubicic on him. Peric does not often press forward but can open up space with his passing down the line so Rebic will also have a role in closing him down an cutting his space quickly.