Top Spot At Stake In Milan

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Mario Balotelli is doubtful for AC Milan with a thigh injury. Image courtesy of
Struggling AC Milan  can go to the top of Group H if it beats Barcelona  in the Champions League on Wednesday morning (AEST), but will have to overcome a poor run of results and a long injury list to do so. Despite collecting four points from its opening two matches in Europe’s premier club competition, the Serie A club has made a slow start to the campaign and is 13 points behind runaway leaders AS Roma in its domestic competition.

Goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, defenders Daniele Bonera and Mattia De Sciglio and forwards Stephan El Shaarawy, Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini all missed the clubs 1-0  victory over Udinese on the weekend and Massimiliano Allegri is unlikely to have many of them available against ‘Barca’. De Sciglio is the man most likely to return after resuming training on the weekend, while Mario Balotelli is some chance of recovering from a thigh injury sustained in Italy’s World Cup qualifier last week.

Barcelona dropped its first league points of the season in a 0-0  draw at Osasuna on the weekend after Dani Alves, Gerard Pique and Alexis Sanchez were rested for the match but the trio have been named in the 22 man squad that will travel to Italy. Jordi Alba and Ibrahim Afellay are still sidelined by injury, but Argentine superstar Lionel Messi is expected to make his first start of the month after coming on as a second half substitute in the League on Saturday.

These clubs have met six times in the past two seasons, with the Spanish giants claiming three victories over their Serie A rivals, who won twice, with the other two fixtures ending in a draw . The most recent clash at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, in the round of 16 of last season’s competition in February, resulted in a 2-0  victory for the home side. Barcelona subsequently went on to knock the Italians out of the tournament for the second successive season courtesy of a 4-0  victory at the Nou Camp three weeks later however.

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