Europa League • Rio Ave-AC Milan Preview: Across the River

There is one more 90 minute match before Milan are qualified for the Group Stage of the Europa League, and that match is in Portugal tomorrow. Our playoff round will be with Rio Ave, who play in the Portuguese first division. There is no second leg, no second chance, so Milan can make no mistakes. We step in the water, and we are committed to going across the river.

One more river to cross

Rio Ave have drawn both of their first games of the season, which has them sitting temporarily in 11th place on the table. However, last week, they knocked Besiktas out of Europa League qualifying, with a draw that finished with a Rio Ave victory on penalty kicks. For that match, Mario Silva lined up Kieszek; Ivo Pinto, Borevkovic, Santos, Mattheus Reis; Tarantini, Augusto; Lucas Piazon, Chico Geraldes, Carlos Mané; and Pedro Moreira. He will apparently be missing Junio and Ronan to injury.

Pioli is missing quite a few players. Rebic is serving his final match suspension and is injured as well.  Both Ibrahimovic and Duarte are in isolation due to positive tests for COVID-19. Our defense is still missing Conti, Musacchio, and Romagnoli, who are all recovering from injuries. Normally, this would be devastating, but Pioli has shown us that his team are capable of anything, no matter who plays. The team are playing with consistency, and if they keep that up in this match, we can punch our ticket to the Group Stage at the end of this match.

Will Leao be able to shine in his home country?

Winning this game has important connotations for the team, from the positives of progressing to the next round, to the economic impact the Group Stage will bring by competing in the Europa League. It will also keep our undefeated streak alive, which can only boost confidence that much more when the team are playing every three to four days. Milan are so close to the Europa League, we can almost taste it. But first, we must get across the river.

This post inspired by the music of Duran Duran's "Rio"

Europa League Playoff Round
Rio Ave vs. AC Milan
Thursday, October 1 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)
This match may be available on the Milan App for those in the U.S. 

Europa League • Rio Ave-AC Milan Preview: Across the River  Europa League • Rio Ave-AC Milan Preview: Across the River Reviewed by Elaine on 1:39 PM Rating: 5
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