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Europa League: AC Milan vs. CS U Craiova: Homecoming


After five years of dwindling crowds, Milan fans are giving a hero’s welcome to their team. Tomorrow is the first home game since the massive mercato, and the San Siro looks to be repaying the efforts of the new ownership with over 60,000 tickets sold so far. They are hoping for a sellout, which actually could still happen. After seeing the stadium next to empty for so long, it will be amazing to see it so full again. Especially on a Thursday night, pre season, and a Europa League qualifying match at that. But it is a welcome that the team and the ownership deserve, a kind of homecoming.

The first leg we played like a cardboard cutout

We met our opponents last week, and gained new respect for them and their attacking play. But since we met, they had to play a league game away against last year’s second place Romania Liga 1 team, Steaua Bucuresti, on Sunday. That ended in a 1-1 draw, a good result for Craiova. But it was a tough match, one where Craiova took the lead early, then conceded a goal in the second half. The match also saw nine yellow cards, but we already know they play a very physical game. For that match, Mangia lined up: Calancea; Barthe, Dimitrov, Spahija, Ferreira Perez, Briceag, Gustavo, Zlatinski, Mitrita, Screciu, and Baluta.

In addition to the away goal and not playing a league match in between, Milan do not have to travel, either. And they have already trained at the San Siro, too. Personally, I’m hoping they make us forget the very lackluster performance from them last week and maybe even give that big crowd something to remember, too. Suso will be available. If he starts, he could bench Borini, which is always a good idea. Additionally, André Silva could possibly start. As we talked about on the podcast, we know Bonucci and Biglia will not play. But also Bacca, Paletta, and Sosa will not be called up, and didn’t even train yesterday as they are being shown the door.

I get it. Our bench is like a paper Diavolo. But just wait until you meet our 12th man.

After last week, Montella will likely line up a strong starting 11, as he won’t want to take any chances. He has said many times how important the Europa League is to the team. And in front of over 60,000 fans, this needs to be a great game. The players have been purchased, and most of them have been training and playing together for four weeks now. Obviously, it’s going to take a lot more time than that to gel, but now that we’ve faced Craiova, we should be able to do better at home than we played away. Who knows, maybe we'll even make Mangia lose his appetite? With the power of the San Siro, and an actual Diavolo this time, let’s hope this is a game to remember. A homecoming.


This post inspired by the music of Madness’ “Our House”


Europa League Qualifying Stage
AC Milan vs. Universitatea Craiova
Thursday, August 3 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)
This match will NOT be televised in the U.S.

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