Champions League Group Stage • GNK Dinamo Zagreb vs. AC Milan: Crunch Time

Milan travel to Croatia on Tuesday with plenty of injuries, but only one thing on their mind: qualifying for the Champions League Round of 16. Unfortunately, that is the same thing that Dinamo Zagreb will be focusing on as well. Both teams sit at the bottom of Group E on 4 points, with Milan ahead only by the slightest of goal differentials. Considering the fact that Dinamo are at home and have fewer players missing, Milan will need to have a perfect game. And hope for a better referee than our last Champions League match, too. Milan should be able to move on, but anything can happen in this group, so this is a must-win now to make that happen. It's crunch time.

Hoping that Milan will burst into Zagreb like a Tonali header 

Ahead of our home match versus Dinamo, they were top of Group E by virtue of a shock defeat of Chelsea. After our 3-1 win over them, they lost away to Salzburg, the surprise of the group, then drew them at home in Zagreb. This Champions League group has had plenty of surprises, including the ten cards handed out by Siebert in our last match that literally changed the group for us with all of the players on warnings or suspended.

Dinamo drew 1-1 with Hajduk Split on Friday in a first versus second matchup in the Croatian HNL league. For that match, Čačić lined up Livaković; Moharrami, Šutalo, Perić, Ljubičić; Mišić, Ademi; Špikić, Baturina, Oršić; Petković. Ljubičić is suspended for this match, and Šutalo is injured. Čačić also reportedly has several players that have been hit with a virus, so it is unclear as of this writing if they will be available for this match: Nevestić, Bulat, Emreli, and Stefulj.

Milan may be down, but we are not out

Thanks to the fine UEFA refereeing by Siebert, Tomori will be suspended for this match. That leaves Pioli incredibly short of players, considering the new injuries sustained by Brahim Díaz and Dest on Sunday against Monza. The reports sound positive, but it is not known as of this writing whether or not either or both of those players will be available on Tuesday. In addition to those three, Pioli is still missing Ibrahimović (not even on List A,) Florenzi, Saelemaekers, Maignan, and Calabria. That is eight players missing injured or suspended, most of them considered starters.

Milan will have our own Croatian veteran, Rebić, and we will have players like Leão and Theo Hernández who can be very impactful. Bennacer played on Saturday after having had a fever the day before, and was still his impressive self, while players like Giroud and Tomori were rested. The biggest questions are in defense, with Tomori out, Pioli will almost undoubtedly look to Gabbia and Kjaer in the middle, with Kalulu on the right. He does have Thiaw, who although young and new to the team, impressed in his first appearance for Milan against Verona.

Remember this guy?

Pioli is used to the pressure to win, and so are his team, but there is so much more at stake in these matches. Given our horrific luck with injuries and referees in the Champions League this season and last, however, they have a mountain to overcome. And they are doing it with a bare bones team, and with a schedule that is insane. Let's just hope that somehow, some way, they find a way to win this one, because it's crunch time. 

This post inspired by the music of Cake's "The Distance"

Our next match is 
Champions League Group Stage
GNK Dinamo Zagreb vs. AC Milan
Tuesday, October 25 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.

UEFA Youth League
 GNK Dinamo Zagreb U19 vs. AC Milan Primavera
Tuesday, October 25 • 14:00 CEST (8am EDT)
This match can be streamed LIVE on the official Milan App

Champions League Group Stage • GNK Dinamo Zagreb vs. AC Milan: Crunch Time Champions League Group Stage • GNK Dinamo Zagreb vs. AC Milan: Crunch Time Reviewed by Elaine on 12:00 AM Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.