After cruising to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since the 2006-07 season, Serie A action returns for Milan as they are set to face relegation-threatened Lecce tomorrow at the San Siro.
Midfielder Ismael Bennacer’s first-leg goal helped the Rossoneri carry a slender advantage to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona which they aimed to hold onto the progress further in the competition. Despite missing a penalty, Olivier Giroud redeemed himself in the second leg after scoring a goal to double Milan’s lead on aggregate just before the break. Napoli striker Victor Osimhen scored late to pull one back but couldn’t produce enough inspiration to level the scores.
Following the reapplication of points for Juventus, Milan have fallen to 5th-place in the league standings and therefore will need to shrug off their recent woes in the Serie A and put together some positive performances during this business end of the season.
Meanwhile, Lecce will approach this match in hopes to go clear from the relegation spots as things have shaken up at the bottom after Verona’s win.
Since winning 2-1 against Atalanta in mid-February, the Salentini are currently on a winless run of 7 consecutive games. They came close to securing a win in their last match against Sampdoria but former Real Madrid man Jese’s strike in the 75th minute made the teams share the points.
The Puglia-based side have earned more points down the road this season and though they have lost their last three away matches, hope remains for the 16th-placed side that they will be able to earn at least a draw against Milan.
Results from their last five matches across all competitions
D D W D W
D L L L L
Manager Stefano Piolo is again set to miss Zlatan Ibrahimovic through injury. Captain Davide Calabria is set to serve a suspension.
Striker Olivier Giroud may be rested upfront and either one of Divock Origi or Ante Rebic will start the match.
As for Lecce, Marin Pongracic and Kastriot Dermaku are set to be sidelined with injuries.
Assan Ceesay will keep his place after scoring a goal in his last match. Lorenzo Colombo is expected to start on the bench.
Milan (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Florenzi, Kalulu, Tomori, Hernandez; Tonali, Pobega; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao; Rebic
Lecce (4-3-3): Falcone; Gendrey, Baschirotto, Umtiti, Gallo; Oudin, Hjulmand, Blin; Strefezza, Ceesay, Di Francesco
Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN