It's last-chance saloon for the Rossoneri in the Champions League. AC Milan are back in European action at San Siro as they host Sérgio Conceição's Porto in a do-or-die clash. As we approach kick-off at 18:45 CET tonight, let's brush up on the fixture with our Preview.
LATEST FROM MILANELLO
After remaining level on points with Napoli with a win against Roma, the Rossoneri are hungry to get on the board in the Champions League too. With respect to the game at the Dragão, AC Milan have three big players back in the squad; Díaz, Hernández and Kessie, all of whom featured at the Olimpico. It should also be noted that Giroud and Ibrahimović are in better shape now and both scored on their respective most recent starts - one of the two will start as the focal points of AC Milan's usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
"We haven't yet been able to bring our fans the joy that they deserve in the Champions League. We have another opportunity and the big teams know how to take their chances," said Pioli in his pre-match press conference. "I expect a lot from my team because this is an important crossroad and we cannot mess it up. We have the belief because we have the quality. We have one game to make good on the situation following the defeat last time out."
LATEST FROM PORTO
Since AC Milan’s first meeting with Porto a fortnight ago, the Dragões have been flying on the domestic front, with successive victories over Tondela (3-1) and Boavista (4-1). These were, however, slightly marred by a 3-1 defeat against Santa Clara in the Taça da Liga. It will be at San Siro where these two teams, who are both currently sat joint top of their respective leagues, will meet. Porto (alongside Sporting) are looking down on the rest of the Primeira Liga with 26 points from ten matches and an excellent +18 goal difference (25 goals scored and seven conceded).
There was not a single turnover from Conceição’s men in last Saturday's win against Boavista, with goals from Díaz, Loader and Evanilson's brace. Porto lined up in a 4-2-3-1 with Diogo Costa in goal, João Mário, Pepe, Marcano and Zaidu in defence, Uribe and Vítor Ferreira in midfield and Otávio, Evanilson and Díaz in support of the lone Taremi upfront. The Dragões then returned to training straight away on Sunday afternoon, beginning preparations for the San Siro match.
"AC Milan have their own unique history and quality)," said Conceição on the eve of the match. "No matter who plays, they are always a very strong team. We will be met by a tough atmosphere, which will of course not be in our favour. It will be a very difficult game, between two high-quality outfits, and we must go out there looking for the win."
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST
Despite losing their first three matches, the Rossoneri could still get out of the group. Liverpool's victory in Madrid against Atlético means that AC Milan are still just four points off second place. Klopp's Reds host Simeone's Colchoneros this evening at Anfield (21:00 CET); Liverpool currently top the group on nine points from three games, which has all but secured their place in the Round of 16. Atlético and Porto have four points each, with AC Milan still on zero but the Rossoneri still have a shot.
Clément Turpin will take charge of the match at San Siro. The 39-year-old French referee will officiate his first-ever match involving AC Milan in the Champions League. He did, however, referee AC Milan v Arsenal in March 2018 in the Europa League. More recent was his last match involving Porto: the second leg of the quarter-final against Chelsea back in April. Turpin has, in total, refereed nine Champions League games involving Italian sides: four wins, two draws and three defeats.
#BackHome, Capsule Collection: check out the new collection to celebrate our return to the Champions League!