AC Milan will look to Mario Balotelli for inspiration in their Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid. Reuters
Atletico Madrid will face a stiff test of their European credentials when they travel to the San Siro to take on European heavyweights AC Milan in the Champions League last 16 first leg on Wednesday night.
Where to Watch Live
The first leg is scheduled for an 8.45 pm CET (1.15 am IST) start with live coverage on Ten Sports in India. The live streaming option for the match is available in India HERE. Catch the action in the Canada HERE, while US viewers can live stream the game HERE. Middle East and North Africa viewers can go HERE, while the rest of Africa viewers can catch the action HERE. Viewers in the UK can live stream the match HERE, while Australia and New Zealand viewers can do so HERE. Latin America viewers click HERE to watch the action live online, while the game can be live streamed in Italy HERE. Germany viewers catch the action through live streaming HERE.
The Spanish side are flying in the La Liga, staying toe-to-toe with Real Madrid and Barcelona, and cruised through the group stages of the Champions League earlier this season.
However, now is when it starts getting tricky, towards the business end of the season, and even if Milan are nowhere near the force they were a few years ago, the San Siro will always be a daunting place to visit.
"History does count in these ties. Our opponents are a European powerhouse both as a team and as a club," Atletico manager Diego Simeone said on Tuesday. "However, Atletico also have a great tradition in cup competitions.
"Tomorrow the players will write a new chapter of history. It will be an open game, we can expect anything. It is difficult to make a prediction. We will be facing the best possible Milan side, with players who are very good on the counterattack and good at exploiting space."
Simeone is quite familiar with the San Siro having played at the ground plenty of times as an Inter Milan player. "I feel at home [at San Siro] but I will not play tomorrow," the Argentine added. "I lived some extraordinary years, made lots of friends here and have great memories of those days.
"It will be a fantastic clash for my players, especially with the quarterfinals at stake. Playing at San Siro is a great feeling for any player. I am focused on this game. We do not consider ourselves favourites, we have to show we are better than them on the pitch.
"We need to be focused and play with intensity. It will be a great game for the fans. Both teams will play attacking football, so it will be important to defend well and not concede."
Milan go into the tie as the second favourites, but serial Champions League winner and new manager Clarence Seedorf believes his side have the capabilities to quell Atletico's challenge over the two legs.
"Atletico deserve respect," the former Milan, Real Madrid, Ajax and Inter player said. "They are a strong team -- well organised -- but they have chinks in their armour that we hope to exploit.
"We will give our best and we will stick together. In terms of our attitude, we're on the right track, and of course we must continue to improve with humility. I can see that the boys are very determined."
Team news: AC Milan: Seedorf will have to do without the services of Robinho, Valter Birsa (both thigh), Stephan El Shaarawy (foot) and Bryan Cristante (leg), with Sulley Muntari and Riccardo Montolivo suspended. Cristian Zapata is a doubt while Kaka is set to be assessed after picking up a knock in the 1-0 win against Bologna on Friday.
"He is not yet at his best," Seedorf said of his Brazilian playmaker. "We are monitoring his condition, we hope he can recover."
Atletico Madrid: Tiago (wrist), Filipe Luis (adductor) and Javi Manquillo (neck) are sidelined for the Spanish side.
Key men: AC Milan: Mario Balotelli struck a blinder of a winner against Bologna, and the Italians will need their striker to be at his effective best against the Spaniards.
Atletico Madrid: Simeone also has his own quality striker, with Diego Costa having the opportunity to make a serious mark in Europe against big opponents.
Expected lineups: AC Milan: Abbiati; De Sciglio, Rami, Zaccardo, Constant; De Jong, Essien; Honda, Kaka, Taarabt; Balotelli.
Atletico Madrid: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Insua; Koke, Gabi, Suarez, Turan; Costa, Villa.
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