AC Milan will look to progress to the finals of the Coppa Italia with a win against Lazio on Wednesday.
AC Milan will face off against SS Lazio in the second-leg of the Coppa Italia semi-finals at the Stadio Olimpico with an eye on the finals of the competition.
The first-leg of the tie ended in a goalless stalemate at the San Siro earlier this month and bot the teams will be hoping to achieve a better result on Wednesday and stay in the hunt to win a trophy this season.
Currently sitting seventh in the Serie A and facing Arsenal in the round-of-16 stages of the UEFA Europa League, the Coppa Italia represents the best chance of silverware for AC Milan and that will not be lost on the manager Gennaro Gattuso. The Rossoneri are on a 12-match unbeaten streak across all competitions following their 2-0 away triumph over AS Roma this past week and they will be hoping to make it two wins in four days in Rome on Wednesday.
Lazio too, have been in impressive form coming into the crunch tie at home, having registered three consecutive victories in all competitions, with the latest being a 3-0 win over Sassuolo in the Serie A last weekend. And Simone Inzaghi’s side will be intent on making it through to the finals of the competition that they last won in 2013.
Team News & Tactics
Inzaghi will not be able to call upon the services of Martin Caceres, Pedro Neto and Bruno Jordao for the big game as the trio are ruled out due to injury. Adam Marusic, who was sent off against Sassuolo over the weekend, is expected to feature from the get-go.
Lazio are expected go in with their strongest possible line-up for the game, with Thomas Strakosha set to start between the sticks behind the three-man backline of Stefan de Vrij, Luis Felipe and Stefan Radu. Marusic will start as the right-sided wing-back while the opposite flank will most likely be occupied by Jordan Lukaku.
In the middle of the park, Marco Parolo is expected to take the field from the kick-off, alongside former Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva and midfield sensation Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The 22-year old Serbian international will be tasked with providing the forward impetus from the centre of the park, while the former two will play a more defensive role.
Brazilian attacker Felipe Anderson is likely to feature as the secondary striker, playing off of main man Ciro Immobile, who is the leading goalscorer in the Serie A this season. The dynamism and the attacking threat that the duo bring to the table could be a major problem for the Milan defence.
Probable Starting XI (3-5-1-1): Strakosha; De Vrij, Felipe, Radu; Marusic, Parolo, Lucas, Milinkovic-Savic, Lukaku; Anderson; Immobile;
Full-back Andrea Conti is closing in on a return to full fitness from an injury he suffered early in the season but is definitely ruled out of the crunch clash on Wednesday. Marco Storari and Luca Antonelli are the other absentees for the Rossoneri. Gattuso made some changes for the first-leg of the semi-finals but is expected to field his strongest side for Wednesday’s game.
Goalkeeping sensation Gianluigi Donnarumma will take his spot between the sticks for Gattuso’s side. He will be shielded by a back four comprising of Davide Calabria, Leonardo Bonucci, Alessio Romagnoli and Ricardo Rodriguez. The defence has been quite solid in recent weeks but will face a stern test against Italy’s leading goalscorer of the season in the midweek.
The midfield trio of Franck Kessie, Lucas Biglia and Giacomo Bonaventura is expected to stay intact for the game. The trident offer a very good balance to the side with their attacking and defensive responsibilities, and will once again play a crucial role in Milan are to come out on top.
The three-pronged attack for Milan should consist of Spanish winger Suso on the right flank and Turkish playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu on the left side, with young striker Patrick Cutrone, who scored in the win over Roma, through the centre.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura; Suso, Cutrone, Calhanoglu;
- In the last six contests between the two teams across all competitions, three have ended in stalemates, with Milan winning twice and Lazio just once.
- The two teams have met 16 times in this competition till date and have seen equal success winning seven games each with two ending in draws.
- AC Milan have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight fixtures in the Coppa Italia.
- The last time AC Milan won the Coppa Italia was way back in the 2002-03 season. Lazio though did it as recently as 2012-13.
Player to watch
Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan)
The 20-year old striker has been making the headlines for Milan this season with some eye-catching displays at the top of the attack. Cutrone scored his 14th goal of the season against Roma this past weekend, making it four strikes in his last five appearances.
Given his rich vein of form heading into Wednesday’s game, it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see the young forward, who has been touted to be the next Filippo Inzaghi by the Milan fans, tilt the balance in favour of his side.
Lazio 0-1 AC Milan
Both the teams are in a good zone coming into the big game. Lazio have recovered from a recent slump to notch up three straight wins, while Milan have been on a 12-game long unbeaten streak themselves, with wins in all five of their last games.
Gattuso’s side have been almost infallible at the back recently and despite Ciro Immobile’s form of late, we at the Hard Tackle expect the Rossoneri to see off any threat from the Biancocelesti to make their way to the finals with a 1-0 win.