By 90Min
October 24, 2018

Milan play host to travelling Real Betis on Thursday evening in a Europa League Group F clash.

The Milan side sit top of the group with two wins from two, against Olympiakos and F91 Dudelange, and will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing derby loss to Inter at the weekend. 


Betis are second with four points but their league performances this season have been inconsistent at best, and they have failed to score in four of their five competitive away trips this season.

MIGUEL MEDINA/GettyImages

The Rossoneri's aim for this season was to secure Champions League qualification but after struggling in the first part of the campaign, the Europa League may be seen as a back door to the competition. 

On the European front, Milan will be looking to maintain their 100% win record in the group stage so far this season, while Betis will aim to preserve their unbeaten streak.

When? Thursday 25 October @ 17:55 (BST)
Where? San Siro
How Can I Watch? BT Sport ESPN

Classic Encounter


The two sides have only met once in a competitive fixture, a 1977/78 Cup Winners Cup round one tie played over two legs. The first leg, played at San Siro, ended in a 2-1 home victory to Milan. The goals came from Ugo Tosetto and Fabio Capello who put the home side 2-0 up, before a consolation goal from Franciso Lopez. 

However, Betis turned the tie around in the second leg with a spirited comeback, and won 2-0 with goals from Garcia Soriano and Eulate as Real Betis progressed into the next round of the competition 3-2 on aggregate. The Spanish side were eventually eliminated that year in the quarter final by Dynamo Moscow.

Maurizio Lagana/GettyImages

In more recent history the two sides played a friendly fixture during their 2017 pre-season campaigns, with Betis winning 2-1.


Team News


Milan are likely to make changes from the side that lost to Inter on the weekend. They are missing Ricardo Montolivo and Ivan Strinic through injuries but Tiemoue Bakayoko and Mattia Caldara may feature.

Pepe Reina is also expected to take over in goal from Donnarumma, consistent with their other two Europa League fixtures.

MB Media/GettyImages

Betis may be without Javi Garcia after he came off at half-time against Real Valladoid. Andres Guardado, Cristian Tello and Jaoquin are all doubts and are unlikely to feature. 


Joel Robles and Giovani Lo Celso may be rotated into the squad as they have done in Europe League fixtures this season.


Key Battles


Antonio Sanabria vs Alessio Romagnoli 


The Real Betis forward is likely to feature in this week's Europa League fixture and has a goal and an assist in the competition in the first two games. 

He can play off the shoulder of opposing defenders, often linking up with several surrounding players, and has a real natural poaching ability. 

Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

The Rossoneri captain Romagnoli will have to stick tight to his man and rely on his teammates to cut off his supply and isolate the centre forward. 

Gonzalo Higuain vs Marc Bartra

Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

The Argentinian front man is Milan's biggest attacking threat. Higuain has scored six goals this season, two in this competition and he will be looking to add to that tally. 

Marc Batra will have to step up to halt the forward's form this season at his new club.


Predicted Lineups


Milan (4-3-3): Reina, Rodríguez, Romagnoli, Caldara, Abate, Bonaventura, Bakayoko, Biglia, Castillejo, Higuain, Borini.

  

Real Betis (3-4-1-2): Joel Robles, Sidnei, Bartra, J. Garcia, Firpo, Carvalho, Lo Celso, Barragan, Boudebouz, Leon, Sanabria.


Prediction

Aitor Alcalde Colomer/GettyImages

Real Betis have had two poor games in La Liga recently which has dented their form. They have been struggling to find goals this season, especially away from home, while Milan have an impressive defence. 

Milan have scored at least twice in every home game this season and have much better recent form, bar the loss in the derby on the weekend. The home side will pose much more of a threat going forward.

Prediction: Milan 2-0 Real Betis

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