AC Milan play Cagliari in the Coppa Italia round of 16 at the San Siro tonight. Milan must take advantage of the early exits of Inter Milan and Napoli from the competition. Stefano Pioli needs to instil confidence in the side and take the chance for some silverware.
Here are some key battles to look out for:
Centre back vs Striker
Alberto Dossena vs Luka Jovic
The former Frankfurt and Madrid striker has begun scoring for the Rossoneri as he managed three goals in three games in December and will be looking to add some competition for Giroud. Jovic is mobile and has a good touch but most importantly he is taking his chances in the box. Dossena is the only consistent defender for Cagliari as Wieteska and Goldaniga rotate and switch up often. The defenders will want to limit him but Milan beat Cagliari 3-1 a few weeks ago with some decent second half finishes.
Central midfielder vs Central attacking midfielder
Jakub Jankto vs Luka Romero
The free signing from Lazio has only played 85 minutes of football across four games under Pioli this season. He will have a big task on his hands to make an impression in the Coppa and be the lynchpin for the attack. He scored some stunners in the pre-season and the fans will be hoping for something similar. He will be facing Jankto in the middle of the park who is known for his pressing and will be looking to create for Cagliari on the counter. Milan are playing with lots of rotations so finding chemistry early is key otherwise we can get bogged down.
Striker vs Goalkeeper
Andrea Petagna vs Jan-Carlo Simic
The former Milan striker has yet another club in Serie A as he becomes a journeyman in the leagu. Petagna is yet to score for Cagliari but has two assists to his name. The striker will be a threat given his size and presence in the box especially facing newbie Simic and makeshift centre back Hernandez. Simic is a promising young defender and it will be key to see how he handles a full ninety minutes against an experienced set of attackers.