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UEFA Champions League Preview: Milan v PSV

Milan will look to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to Verona when they host PSV in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side started their Serie A campaign with a 2-1 loss away to Andrea Mandorlini’s side on Saturday, as two Luca Toni headers cancelled out Andrea Poli’s opener.

But the Italian giants are in a favourable position to qualify for the Champions League group stages, after they secured a 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Philips Stadion last Tuesday.

Stephan El Shaarawy’s first-half effort gave Milan the crucial away goal, but a Tim Matavz equaliser in the second half ensured the tie remains in the balance.

Allegri has several injury issues ahead of the game with striker Giampaolo Pazzini and centre-back Daniele Bonera both missing with knee problems, while midfielder Nigel de Jong remains a doubt.

The 46-year-old is fearful of a hangover from the loss to Verona, but warned that fitness issues in the squad could not be used as an excuse for failure.

“Losing like this is painful as it’s the first week,” he told reporters after the loss. “Especially as we have the important Champions League game against PSV on Wednesday.

“Some players have not managed to do much training but that cannot be an excuse.”

Philip Cocu’s PSV side are too looking to overcome a lacklustre league display, after they rescued a 1-1 away to Heracles on Saturday thanks to Park Ji Sung’s 86th-minute equaliser, leaving them second in the Eredivisie table with 10 points from four games.

Defender Karim Rekik says the squad do not fear their illustrious opponents, but emphasised the importance of keeping a clean sheet in Italy.

“We are not afraid of Milan and we should not change our way of playing because we are playing at the San Siro,” he told NUsport.

“I think it is especially important to keep the (score to) zero. If that works, then we definitely have a chance.”

Cocu has no fresh injury worries ahead of the fixture, with Luciano Narsingh (knee) and Oscar Hiljemark (groin) likely to be the only absentees.

Mon 26 August, 2013
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