By 90Min
February 21, 2018

AC Milan take on Ludogorets Razgrad in the second leg of the round of 32, in the Europa League on Thursday night. 

Milan came away with a 3-0 victory when they visited the Ludogorets Arena in Bulgaria last week, leaving Thursday's visitors to the San Siro with a tough battle on their hands. 

Dimitar Dimitrov will be looking for his Ludogorets side to, at the very least, put up a fight in Italy. The Bulgarian team have only lost one of their last 13 away matches in all competitions and will be looking to restore some pride, after the first leg, when they face Milan.


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AC Milan are currently sitting 7th in Serie A, and are now on a unbeaten run of ten games in all competitions. The Italian side have kept clean sheets in four of their last five matches, and with a 3-0 advantage heading into this fixture, will surely be looking to keep that defensive record in tact.

Milan topped a close table in the group stages, with three wins, two draws and a loss. And although Ludogorets went unbeaten on the road in the group stage, they achieved two wins, three draws and a loss in total. Neither team have sailed through the competition so far.

Ludogorets are top of the Bulgarian A PFG league and have won eight of their last ten league fixtures.

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Both sides had players suspended for the first leg, and all are likely to be involved on Thursday. Manuel Locatelli missed out on the match in Bulgaria as he served a one-match ban with AC Milan. While Natanael Pimienta and Claudiu Keşerü will both also be returning from suspension, for Ludogorets. 

The Milan boss may look to rest some of his big players with his team heading into the game with a favourable lead. Leonardo Bonucci could start on the bench and Gennaro Gattuso may opt to bring in Mateo Musacchio and Cristian Zapata to the starting 11.

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We could also see The Italian coach give other players a chance, with a few less familiar faces handed a start.


Dimitrov is likely to field a stronger starting XI than his opposition, as his team search to get themselves back in the tie. The Bulgarian manager may opt to put out a similar side to the last leg, but we could see Wanderson come in from the start this time around. There could also be a couple of changes at the back, with Pimienta returning from suspension, while Renan is expected to start in goal.

Predicted AC Milan Lineup: Donnarumma; Abate, Zapata, Musacchio, Antonelli; Montolivo, Locatelli, Bonaventura; Suso, Silva, Borini.


Predicted Ludogorets Razgrad Lineup: Renan; Cicinho, Plastun, Moti, Pimienta; Dyakov, Anicet; Lukoki, Marcelinho, Wanderson; Misidjan.


Prediction


With a 3-0 lead to protect, Milan will not risk putting in a full force attacking display and leave themselves open at the back. They are likely to sit back and hit Ludogorets on the break.

NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/GettyImages

The Bulgarian side, however, will be looking to to get themselves back in the game whilst also looking to protect their pride, by not leaving themselves vulnerable of falling victim to a second heavy defeat.

With Ludogorets the side that need to go for goal, Milan could find a way through on the counter attack, but their main focus will be to protect the lead they already have.


Prediction: Milan 1-1 Ludogorets

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