NEWS
Thursday October 1 2020
Europa League line-ups: Rio Ave v Milan

Milan start Daniel Maldini in their must-win Europa League play-off with Rio Ave in Portugal, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ante Rebic are out.

It kicks off in Rio Ave at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

Follow all the action as it happens on the LIVEBLOG.

The Rossoneri already got the better of Shamrock Rovers and Bodo/Glimt in the preliminary rounds, earning their shot at this final hurdle towards the group stage.

Stefano Pioli’s men have a 100 per cent record so far this season, winning all four games between Serie A and Europe, scoring nine goals and conceding two, keeping three clean sheets.

Ibrahimovic is out of action after contracting COVID-19, while Rebic is both suspended and dislocated his elbow last week.

Lorenzo Colombo was the striker against Bodo/Glimt, but this time Daniel Maldini is given the starting spot at the head of the team.

He represents the third generation of Maldini to wear this jersey after grandfather Cesare and his Dad Paolo, who of course is now a director at the club.

Daniel Maldini is only 18 years old, as he turns 19 on October 11, and is technically more of a trequartista than a centre-forward.

He’s supported by Samu Castillejo, Hakan Calhanoglu and Alexis Saelemaekers in the 4-2-3-1 formation that has become their great strength in 2020.

Sandro Tonali and Brahim Diaz are on the bench, while Alessio Romagnoli, Mateo Musacchio, Andrea Conti and Leo Duarte are still out of action.

Rio Ave are not to be snubbed, because they knocked Besiktas out of the Europa League in the last preliminary round, getting the better of the Turkish giants on penalties.

The Portuguese side have copied Milan’s system for a 4-2-3-1, using 33-year-old Bruno Moreira upfront, supported by ex-Chelsea talent Lucas Piazon, Carlos Mane and Diego Lopes.

Right-back Junio and forward Ronan are out of action.

Rio Ave: Kieszek; Ivo Pinto, Santos, Borevkovic, Nelson Monte; Filipe Augusto, Tarantini; Piazon, Diego Lopes, Carlos Mane; Moreira

Rio Ave bench: Vieira, Gelson, Geraldes, Jambor, Pedro Amaral, Gabrielzinho, Andre Pereira

Milan: G Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Gabbia, Theo Hernandez; Bennacer, Kessie, Castillejo, Calhanoglu, Saelemaekers; Maldini

Milan bench: Tatarusanu, Tonali, Leao, Brahim Diaz, Colombo, Krunic, Laxalt

Ref: Gil Manzano (ESP)

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