Real Madrid v AC Milan
Wednesday 21 October 2009, Santiago Bernabeu
UEFA Champions League
Kick-Off: 19:45 UK (20:45 CET)
Real Madrid host AC Milan in the Champions League as the two most successful teams in European cup football play their first of two group games. It’s a sign of changing times that both Real and AC have faltered in recent years, with Real not doing much in Europe since that Zidane goal and AC Milan going from weakness to weakness in the domestic league.
The two teams meet at a time when Real are just one point behind leaders Barcelona and hoping that their expensively assembled squad can make the difference this season, while Milan are praying that their lack of investment doesn’t knock them out of Champions League football next season.
At the end of the day it could be down to confidence and morale, and the home team have plenty of that.
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Real Madrid Preview
Coming into Wednesday night’s Real Madrid vs AC Milan fixture, the hosts could very easily adopt the slogan No Ronaldo, no problem.
At least not against Valladolid as Real Madrid were able to put in another solid offensive display despite the loss of their flamboyant Portuguese playmaker. Raul, as he so often does, picked up the slack in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo to lead Real Madrid with two early goals, and from then on, Real had Valladolid chasing the match.
That’s not to say Valladolid didn’t make things interesting, as they were aggressive and showed flashes of quality that troubled the Madrid team. Still, with Kaká rested for approximately 75% of the match in anticipation of Wednesday’s Real Madrid vs Milan bout, Manuel Pellegrini always seemed a step up on the visitors.
Real Madrid have enjoyed success on all fronts this season and a win against AC Milan would put them on nine points after three matches, a total likely worthy of reaching the knockout stages.
AC Milan Preview
AC Milan are back in winning form! Or at least that is what Sunday night’s 2-1 victory over Roma suggests.
The Italians, who have struggled to find any consistency this season, will look to build on what was a fairly decent performance against Roma. After falling behind only three minutes into the match, AC Milan rallied in the second half to equalise on a Ronaldinho penalty after Nicolas Burdisso was judged to have brought down Alessandro Nesta in the box. Milan later found the winner through Alexandre Pato just 11 minutes later.
The fact that Wednesday’s Real Madrid v Milan meeting immediately succeeds the victory can be seen in a number of ways, but fans of AC Milan hope that a confidence boost, rather than a confidence blow, will keep their club moving in the right direction.
Pato was back on the scoresheet for Leonardo’s club on Sunday and will have to continue scoring if AC Milan are to move up through the ranks and reclaim their “normal” status.
Real Madrid v AC Milan Prediction
Real Madrid v AC Milan meetings stretch as far back as 1956, with the most recent two fixtures coming in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid – Milan at the Bernebau ended 3-1, whilst the earlier reverse fixture at San Siro saw Milan triumph 1-0.
Despite the fighting spirit and positive tendencies that AC Milan’s display against Roma would hint at, Real Madrid are a model of dominance who will make life difficult for the Italians. With Cristiano Ronaldo absent, Kaka may step up for Madrid and cause problems for his former club.
A home victory would seem very likely.
Real Madrid vs AC Milan Prediction: Real Madrid 2 – AC Milan 1
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