Date: 11th March, 2021
Time: 11:25 PM IST
Venue: Old Trafford
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Manchester United will host AC Milan in the first leg of the Europa League Round of 16 in a blockbuster encounter. Both the teams are former European champions and are currently in 2nd position in their respective domestic leagues.
Milan topped their Europa League Group H comprising of LOSC Lille, Sparta Praha and Celtic with 13 points and then knocked out Crvena Zvezda in the Round of 32, courtesy of the away goals rule after an aggregate score line of 3-3.
On the other hand, United maintained their perfect record in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 as they defeated Spanish side Real Sociedad with a clinical 1st-leg display, a 4-0 win in 1st leg was followed by a goalless draw at Old Trafford in the return leg.
This will be the first-ever Europa League meeting between the two European giants. However, they have faced each other in the Champions League on 10 occasions before with five wins apiece. The Red Devils will be wary of a high-flying Milan, who are just three points adrift of rivals Inter in the Serie A table.
Juan Mata and Phil Jones are sidelined with injuries while David de Gea and Marcus Rashford are doubtful. De Gea is currently in Spain due to personal reasons and as a result, Dean Henderson will be in line to start.
Key trio of Hakan Calhanoglu, Ismael Bennacer and Mario Mandzukic could be available for the crunch encounter as they recover from minor injuries. While Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic faces a race against time to be fit for the clash. Pioli said before the match. “Ibra is better. Tomorrow he will have another examination to see how his recovery is going, we hope he can recover by Thursday.”
Probable Playing XI
Dean Henderson; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Fred, Scott McTominay; Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford; Edinson Cavani
Gianluigi Donnarumma; Davide Calabria, Simon Kjaer, Alessio Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Franck Kessie, Sandro Tonali; Samu Castillejo, Hakan Calhanoglu, Ante Rebic; Rafael Leao