Wednesday September 18 2013
Line-ups: Milan-Celtic

Mario Balotelli and Alessandro Matri lead an injury-ravaged Milan against Celtic in the Champions League.

Their campaign kicks off at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT) at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza – also commonly known as San Siro – while Barcelona face Ajax in the same group.

Massimiliano Allegri complained he had “only 13 players” available for this match and had to call up four youth team players to make up the numbers.

Absentees include Stephan El Shaarawy, Kaka, Giampaolo Pazzini, Riccardo Montolivo, Ignazio Abate, Mattia De Sciglio and Matias Silvestre, while M’Baye Niang and Riccardo Saponara are ineligible.

Balotelli and Matri are the only real striking options with Valter Birsa getting his full Milan debut in support.

At the back the decisions are also made for Allegri, as Cristian Zaccardo has to be used, while in midfield Antonio Nocerino gets a rare start. There are only three senior outfield players on the bench and Andrea Poli is carrying an injury.

Celtic managed to qualify for the knockouts last season despite sharing a group with Barcelona, so hope they can get through this Group of Death.

Neil Lennon is without James Forrest and Joe Ledley, but Anthony Stokes and Adam Matthews are able to start.

Milan: Abbiati; Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Nocerino, De Jong, Muntari; Birsa; Balotelli, Matri

Milan bench: Amelia, Lotti, Poli, Cristante, Emanuelson, Benedicic, Robinho

Celtic: Forster; Lustig, Van Dijk, Ambrose, Izaguirre; Matthews, Brown, Mulgrew; Samaras; Commons, Stokes

Celtic bench: Zaluska, Pukki, Rogic, Boerrigter, Balde, McGeouch, Biton

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