champions-league24 November 2021


Matchday five in the Champions League: the low-down on the upcoming showdown in Madrid

The Champions League group stage is drawing to a close, and AC Milan are looking for their first win of the campaign. The Rossoneri’s draw against Porto put an end to a three-game losing streak in Europe, but now Coach Pioli’s men want a victory. It won’t be easy for various reasons: the calibre of the opponents, the hostile atmosphere they’ll be playing in at the Wanda Metropolitano, as well as the absences they’ll have to deal with.

Following their defeat to Fiorentina - their first in Serie A this season - the team will be looking to respond immediately. In Madrid, the Rossoneri will play their fifth Champions League group fixture of the season, and it represents the last chance to stay in contention to progress to the knockout stages. There’s also the opportunity to gain revenge for the bitter defeat on matchday two. The Diavolo will be very motivated, even if Coach Pioli has various players unavailable: Fikayo Tomori, Davide Calabria, Mike Maignan, Alessandro Plizzari and Ante Rebić won’t be at his disposal.

"It’ll be easy to motivate my team: it’s a big game against a great side," said Coach Pioli during his pre-match press conference. "It represents our last chance to remain in the Champions League. We believe we can match them, just like we did in the first game. Tomorrow, we’ll need to do everything well to win. We’ll need to be strong in both boxes."

The Colchoneros are heading into this game on the back of two consecutive Champions League defeats against Liverpool and need to pick up points: as things stand, they’re heading to the Europa League and Porto into the last 16. This is why the final two games will be decisive for Simeone’s team. Against the Rossoneri, the Argentine coach will be without Brazilian defender Felipe, who was sent off at Anfield. The same player made a significant contribution in their last league match, scoring the winning goal in the 87th minute against OsasunaJoão Félix is a doubt for the game: he’s missed Atlético’s last two matches due to a muscle problem.

"We'll try to make the best possible choices for the game", said Diego Simeone in his press conference. "We suffered a lot in Milan in the first 20-30 minutes; they pressed really effectively. If they play in the same way tomorrow, we'll need to find a solution as we did in the reverse fixture."

The last two matchdays are on the horizon. Liverpool have taken maximum points so far and are assured of a first-place finish, meaning they’ve already qualified. The Rossoneri, meanwhile, must win at the Wanda Metropolitano to keep their hopes alive. The two fixtures taking place on matchday five - Atlético Madrid v AC Milan and Liverpool v Porto - will both kick off at 21:00 CET. These are the current Group B standingsLiverpool 12, Porto 5, Atlético Madrid 4, AC Milan 1. 

The man in the middle will be Slavko Vinčić from Slovenia. Among other matches, he previously took charge of Manchester United v AC Milan at Old Trafford but also Italy v Belgium at the Euros. The linesmen will be Klančnik and Kovačič, while Kajtazovic will perform the role of fourth official. The two VAR officials will be van Boekel and Kamphuis.

#BackHome, Capsule Collection: check out the new collection to celebrate our return to the Champions League!

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