By 90Min
October 20, 2019

Stefano Pioli's reign as Milan head coach starts with a Serie A match at home to Lecce on Sunday afternoon.

It's a decent fixture for the 53-year-old to begin with, given the Rossoneri's record against the strugglers, who occupy the final relegation spot in the table after losing five of their opening seven league games.

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Nevertheless, the San Siro side are only three points better off than this weekend's opponents, sacked manager Marco Giampaolo failing to coax consistent performances out of his squad as they stuttered in the early stages of 2019/20.

Here's seven stats and facts that you should know ahead of the encounter.


Good Luck, Lecce

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The teams have met on 30 occasions in the Italian top flight, with Milan miles ahead of Lecce in the overall record, having taken the victory in 18 of those matches, whilst drawing a further 10. Moreover, Pioli's side have won their last eight home league games against the Giallorossi.

The visitors' last triumph in this fixture came in 2006, when the Rossoneri were still a global superpower. Since then, countless stars have come and gone at San Siro, before the seven-time European champions began their steady decline.


Merciless Milan

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It's nine league games since Milan were last defeated by a newly-promoted team - Benevento sunk them in April 2018 - with six of those clashes ending in a Rossoneri triumph.

However, it seems being flat-track bullies has not sat well with the footballing gods. Once the most feared team on the continent, the Serie A giants haven't appeared in the Champions League since the 2013/14 campaign, whilst they've been barred from entering any European competition this term.


No Luck in Lombardia

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Lecce haven't won a game in Lombardia - the region that's home to Milan, Inter and Atalanta, amongst others - for the best part of 15 years. January 2005 marks their most recent victory in the furthest reaches of northern Italy, the yo-yo club defeating Brescia 1-0.

In the 14 matches that have followed, Fabio Liverani's boys have lost 11 times, receiving several thrashings on their trips to the area. Their most recent game in Lombardia was August 4-0 trouncing by Inter, the Nerazzurri leaving the minnows trailing in their wake.


Away Days, Baby!

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So, Lombardia isn't the ideal holiday destination for Lecce, but the rest of the country will do just fine for them. The Giallorossi have collected all of their Serie A points way from home this campaign, winning 2-1 at Torino and 3-1 at SPAL.

They are the only team in the competition to have earned zero points at their own ground - if that doesn't change soon, the club will be waving bye bye to the top-flight come May.


Lump it in the Box

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Of the six goals Milan have netted in Serie A in 2019/20, four have come from a set-piece, demonstrating the team's problems with regards to breaking down opponents.

Forward trio Fabio Borino, Rafael Leao and Krzysztof Piatek have hardly looked full of confidence when presented with opportunities, meaning the rest of the squad have had to chip in with some goals of their own. 

It's a good job Hakan Calhanoglu is so proficient from the dead-ball.


Perfectly Balanced as All Things Should Be

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Milan are the seventh first division club Pioli has taken charge of in his native country, with the coach winning two, losing two and drawing two of his six previous debut matches in Serie A.

Intriguingly, a couple of those fixtures were actually against his current team. Pioli watched his new Lazio side go down 3-1 at San Siro in 2014, though he fared far better two years on as Inter stole a 2-2 draw, having twice trailed their neighbours.


Unfamiliar Foes

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If you scan through both clubs' squads, you will find only one player who has scored a Serie A goal against either of the two teams involved on Sunday. Diego Farias, take a bow, son.

The Brazilian striker was on target for Cagliari as they were dismissed 3-1 at the home of Milan, his second-half effort levelling matters, before Jeremy Menez and Philippe Mexes put the game out of their reach.


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter!

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