By 90Min
April 20, 2018

AC Milan host Benevento on Saturday in Serie A, and I Rossoneri will be determined to erase memories of the last time these sides faced off in the league with a convincing win.

Benevento have been the whipping boys of the Italian top flight this season, amassing just 14 points from 33 games. Back in December, the minnows hadn't a single point to their name - until struggling giants Milan came to town.

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It looked like business as usual as the game headed into injury time with the scoreline at 2-1 to Milan, but up popped goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli in the dying seconds to equalise with a diving header, no less.

That was Gennaro Gattuso's first match in charge following his promotion to first team manager after Vincenzo Montella was sacked, and the ex-midfielder enjoyed a fruitful period for the first couple of months of 2018.

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Lately though, Milan have began to stutter again and it looks as though they will miss out on Champions League qualification this time around, much to the disappointment of everyone associated with the club after heavy summer investment.

They lie sixth in the table on 54 points, 10 behind Roma in third - realistically, they won't have enough to close that gap and hope that Lazio and Inter both tail off as well.


Classic Encounter

 

Benevento 2-2 Milan (December 2017)

To be fair, it's the only fixture to choose from but definitely worth remembering.

As mentioned previously, the hosts hadn't gained a single point in Serie A until Milan and new boss Gattuso came to town.

Maurizio Lagana/GettyImages

The plucky minnows had come close in weeks prior to getting points on the board, but they finally got off the mark against I Rossoneri after an historic equaliser from goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli.

Milan took the lead through Giacomo Bonaventura but were pegged back by George Puscas. Nikola Kalinic restored the visitors' lead but Alessio Romagnoli was then sent off, which invited pressure from Benevento.

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Unbelievably, Brignoli was able to meet Danilo Cataldi's cross to score right at the death and hand Benevento their first ever point in Serie A, and make headlines around the world in the process.


Key Battles


Leonardo Bonucci vs Chieck Diabate

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The Milan captain needs to have hits wits about him on Saturday. Benevento may have struggled to acquired the points this year, but in games gone by they've actually created chances and had enough of the ball. 

Striker Diabate has looked particularly lively, and has scored recent braces against Sassuolo, Juventus and Verona.

Danilo Cataldi vs Franck Kessie

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Cataldi appears to be Benevento's creative spark in midfield, and will therefore need marshalling by the defensive minded Kessie. The Ivorian can be a threat going forward but ought to nullify Cataldi's threat first and foremost.


Team News

Milan

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Alessio Romagnoli and Andrea Conti are both still out, while Hakan Calhanoglu's knee has become inflammed and won't make Saturday's game.

Benevento

Luca Antei is a long term injury absentee, but Andrea Costa and Marco D'Alessandro could return. Winger Guilherme is out due to intraarticular ligament fissure.


Predicted Line Ups

Milan (4-3-3): Donnarumma/Abate, Bonucci, Zapata, Rodriguez/Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura/Suso, Kalinic, Borini.

Benevento (3-4-2-1): Puggioni/Billong, Djimsiti/Tosca/Venuti, Del Pinto, Viola, Lombardi/Brignola, Parigini/Diabate.


Prediction

Despite the prospect of a European place seemingly now unachievable, Milan will want retribution for December's crazy draw and heap more misery on Benevento, who are heading back down to Serie B.

PREDICTED SCORE: Milan 3-1 Benevento.

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