AC Milan hosts Tottenham Hotspur for the first leg of their last-16 match On Tuesday as the 2022/23 Champions League knock-out stage begins.
Milan picked up where they left off with a tight victory against Torino on Friday, while the guests must bounce back after being destroyed 4-1 by Leicester City the previous weekend.
After suffering through a terrible seven-game losing streak, which includes losses to their fierce rivals Inter in both the league and the Italian Super Cup, AC Milan knew that only victory would do against Torino in Friday’s Serie A match.
Olivier Giroud scored just after the hour mark to lead Milan to only their second victory of 2023. The Rossoneri had only been eliminated from the Coppa Italia by Ivan Juric’s team last month, but they exacted retribution.
However, with his team 18 points behind league leaders Napoli and eliminated from the domestic cup, Milan manager Stefano Pioli needs a strong showing from his team in the Champions League to ease the pressure that has been mounting.
Despite being a seven-time European champion, Milan will play Tottenham in their first Champions League knockout phase match since losing to Atletico Madrid 5-1 on aggregate in the last-16 of the 2013–2014 campaign.
The defending Italian champions have lost at the last-16 stage in five of their previous six tournament appearances, including the 2011–12 campaign when they lost 1-0 on aggregate to Tottenham. Given that they have lost all four of their matches against Spurs in all competitions, Milan know it will be difficult for them to advance to the quarterfinals.
When Rodrigo Bentancur gave Tottenham the lead in Saturday’s away game against Leicester, Antonio Conte’s return to the sidelines after recovering from gallbladder surgery appeared set to coincide with a successful outcome. However, it ended up being a forgettable afternoon for the North London club.
Spurs suffered a crushing 4-1 loss as goals from Nampalys Mendy, James Maddison, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Harvey Barnes made their 1-0 victory against Premier League champions Manchester City seem like a distant memory.
Tottenham must now get back up and dust themselves off if they want to repeat their historic run to the Champions League final from the 2018–19 season, which was led by Mauricio Pochettino.
They won’t want to revisit the memories of their most recent last-16 appearance, in which they were humiliated 4-0 on aggregate by RB Leipzig, including a dismal 3-0 loss in the away leg. However, that game was under Jose Mourinho’s supervision, not Conte, who may be looking forward to a rematch with an old foe.
If you’re a fan of Tottenham, you’ll be pleased to learn that Conte has a winning record against Tuesday’s opponents. In fact, eight of his last nine matches against Milan have ended in victories. His most recent away victory over the Rossoneri came in 2021, when he was in charge of Inter Milan, the Rossoneri’s city rivals.
AC Milan Vs Tottenham Hotspur: Team News
Due to a calf injury, Milan’s first-choice goalkeeper Mike Maignan has been sidelined since September. While Milan is hoping the Frenchman would be back for the return leg, Maignan has been ruled out of Tuesday’s match, meaning Ciprian Tatarusanu will continue to fill in for Maignan.
Ismael Bennacer and Fikayo Tomori may both be able to make a full recovery in time to make the starting lineup after some time on the sidelines.
For the first time since May 2022, Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his way back to the Milan bench on Friday. However, after a lengthy absence, he was only able to serve as an unused substitute, and he is not expected to play any time against Tottenham.
Hugo Lloris’ knee injury prevents him from playing, thus Tottenham are also without their go-to shot-stopper. Fraser Forster, who is filling in for Lloris, will be hoping for stronger defense than his unit provided at the weekend.
Due to his absence from the match against Leicester in the Premier League, Cristian Romero will start in place of Japhet Tanganga on Tuesday and form a back three with Eric Dier and Ben Davies.
Injuries to Yves Bissouma and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, as well as Bentancur’s season-ending anterior cruciate ligament, may force Tottenham to start the unproven midfielder duo of Pape Sarr and Oliver Skipp.
AC Milan possible Probable Lineup:
Tatarusanu; Kalulu, Kjaer, Tomori; Saelemaekers, Bennacer, Tonali, Hernandez; Diaz, Leao; Giroud.
Tottenham Hotspur Probable Lineup:
Forster; Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson, Sarr, Skipp, Perisic; Kulusevski, Son; Kane.
AC Milan Vs Tottenham Hotspur Prediction
After Saturday’s disappointing performance and the revelation that Bentancur will miss the remainder of the season due to injury, Spurs will travel to Italy in a dejected state.
Since neither team wants to take too many risks with a second leg still to play, we believe Tuesday’s match might end in a 1-1 tie. Conte is expected to motivate his players in preparation for a match against an AC Milan team that hasn’t exactly been at its best in 2023.
Do you agree with FutballNews prediction of a 1-1 draw? Let us know yours below.