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Europa League Preview • AC Milan vs. KF Shkëndija: Battle of the Red and Black


This match will be interesting. Two teams, both of whom wear red and black, but from very different backgrounds. Milan are in this Playoff Round because of a fall from grace, whereas KF Shkëndija have worked very hard to ensure they are here. One team has glory, money, and a major European city to claim as home. The other team comes from a city whose population could almost completely fit in our stadium. But regardless of where they come from or how they got here, in 90 minutes, anything could happen. Football doesn’t care what language you speak or how many people live in your city. It’s a battle from start to finish. And this time, it’s the battle of the red and black.

Looks like someone saw that ridiculous Shkëndija video...

I normally write about the opposition, but honestly, there are no words to describe this video. It says more than I ever could about the team:



The expression on the faces of the Shkëndija manager and captain in this video tell you everything you need to know: They are hungry. They want what we have, and denying us entry into the Europa League group stage would be icing on the cake. Also, poor Filippo Galli needs to take the plunge and visit Paletta’s barber.



Montella has got to step very carefully here. Two legs to get this match right, but only three days until the league kicks off. He’s got to look at balance, players moving in and out at the end of the transfer window, and fighting for consistency. That has been elusive thus far. In our first Europa League home match, they had the fire of 65,000 fans behind them at the San Siro. This time, only about 29,000 tickets have been sold. Of course, one catalyst could be our new captain’s home debut:




At least we are going into this battle with a true captain, someone who can actually both play well at his position and lead. We’ve been missing both of those qualities for so long. For anyone dismissing Shkëndija, don’t hold their “smacktalk” video against them. I am told their football is much, much better. But they have nothing to lose and everything to gain, which gives them an advantage. So will Milan take their advantages and give the home fans a convincing performance in this leg? I hope so. Shkëndija have only been wearing the red and black since 1979. But Milan’s red and black heritage dates back to 1899. Let’s hope our players remember that history and forge a new path in the battle of the red and black


This post inspired by the music of INXS’ “Devil Inside”


Europa League Playoff Round
AC Milan vs. KF Shkëndija
Thursday, August 17 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)
This match is NOT being shown LIVE in the U.S.

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