Two top Europeans clubs steeped in history will battle it out on Sunday in the International Champions Cup when Milan take on Benfica in the US.
The pre-season competition, which no one seems to have the foggiest of its workings, produced a bonkers Madrid derby, while Manchester United managed an entertaining 2-1 win over Tottenham on Thursday. For Milan, this is the penultimate game of their pre-season before they face United next Saturday.
New signing Rade Krunic will be available, unlike fellow new face Theo Hernandez after he picked up a sprain against Bayern Munich on his debut.
With predictions, info and head to head history, read on for 90min's preview for Sunday's clash.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Sunday 28 July|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||20:06 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Gillette Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Premier Sports|
Some changes to Milan's starting XI are to be expected as new manager Marco Giampaolo looks to get to know his squad before the start of the new season.
As mentioned, Hernandez will remain sidelined after he sprained an ankle in Milan's last ICC match. Otherwise, there are no notable injuries for the Italians.
Benfica have been successful so far in the competition, with Haris Seferovic and Raul de Tomas starting up front in both their previous matches, tallying three goals each. It's expected that both will start again for the match on Sunday.
|Milan||Donnarumma; Calabria, Gabbia, Musacchio, Conti; Biglia, Brescianini, Krunic; Calhanoglu; Piatek, Maldini.|
|Benfica||Zobin; Tavares, Dias, Ferreira, Grimaldo; Pizzi, Luis, Pires, Silva; De Tomas, Seferovic.|
Head to Head Record
Despite being respected giants of Portuguese and Italian football, and in Europe, Milan and Benfica have only encountered each other six times. Currently the record stands at four wins for Milan and two draws.
Although this looks bleak for Benfica, their good form going into the match should stand them in good stead, especially with Milan trying to find their feet under a new manager.
Benfica have won their first two matches in the ICC, with victories against Fiorentina and C.D. Guadalajara. Before that they thrashed Academica 8-0 and lost to Anderlecht 2-1.
In Giampaolo's first match in charge, Milan lost their ICC opener against Bayern 1-0. I Rossoneri had no friendlies before that game, with their most recent match before then being a victory against SPAL in Serie A.
Milan did finish the season strongly with four victories in their last four games, helping to 'secure' Europa League qualification before a ban from UEFA stopped them entering the competition.
Here's how each team has performed in their last five fixtures.
|Bayern 1-0 Milan (24/7)||Fiorentina 1-2 Benfica (25/7)|
|SPAL 2-3 Milan (26/5)||Benfica 3-0 Guadalajara (20/7)|
|Milan 2-0 Frosinone (19/5)||Académica 0-8 Benfica (13/7)|
|Fiorentina 0-1 Milan (11/5)||Benfica 1-2 Anderlecht (10/7)|
|Milan 2-1 Bologna (6/5)||Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 Benfica (18/4)|
Given the previous results of both teams, Benfica's free-scoring forwards, and Milan's defensive shortcomings, goals are expected. The head to head record does not point towards a Benfica victory but this could well be the time that changes.
Milan are yet to find their feet and could probably do with a signing or two, while the never-ending conveyor belt of talent Benfica produce seems to have easily replaced the departed Joao Felix. Benfica to win.