AC Milan face the Ireland Premier Division’s Shamrock Rovers tonight at Tallaght Stadium. There’s no room for error as the match is a knockout scenario, so a loss ends the Rossoneri‘s hope of European football this season.
AC Milan Europa League Preview v Shamrock Rovers
Shamrock Rovers currently sit comfortably on top of their league table. They’ve secured 29 points from 11 matches, accumulating nine wins and two draws.
All facets of their game have been impressive. Their attack, lead by Graham Burke, have scored 24 goals in the league thus far. This equates to more than two goals per match. Their defence has been equally impressive, only allowing six goals for a goal differential of plus-18.
Tallaght Stadium will be empty due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but this hasn’t put a hamper on the Rovers’ form in their home stadium. They haven’t lost at home since June of 2019, and even with football’s postponement earlier this year, this feat is still impressive.
The Rovers have not faced a Serie A side since playing losing to Juventus ten years ago. Their mission is to flip the script.
Tonight’s match will be Milan’s first since the end of their 2019/20 campaign. Although a disappointing campaign in total, the Rossoneri ended it in scintillating form. Their preseason matches have also gone well, winning all four versus Italian sides Novara, Monza, Vicenza, and Brescia.
Milan will be without a few key players, however. Ante Rebic, the team’s engine going forward, is out due to suspension. Captain Alessio Romagnoli and the promising Rafael Leão are both out with injuries.
Two of Milan’s newest signings, Brahim Diaz and Sandro Tonali, have been included in the squad. It’s unlikely that either will start due to them still getting accustomed to their new surroundings, but expect appearances in the two situations of either Milan needing help on the pitch or cruising to a comfortable victory.
The majority of Milan’s familiar faces will start, barring any last-minute injuries.
Gianluigi Donnarumma will be a menace in goal, presenting the Rovers with their toughest goalkeeping match-up of the season thus far. The experienced Simon Kjaer will the anchor of the team’s defence. Ismael Bennacer and Hakan Calhanoglu should cause headaches for the Rovers’ defence with their playmaking abilities.
The true difference maker, however, will be Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He missed the club’s two most recent friendlies but has returned to training. Milan’s leader and most experienced veteran will do everything in his power to ensure a fruitful European campaign for the club.
Prediction: Shamrock Rovers 0-2 AC Milan