Giant Ready To Wake From Slumber

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Stephan El Shaarawy scored for Milan in the first leg. Image courtesy of
European heavyweight AC Milan  will be looking for its first win of the season when it hosts PSV Eindhoven  at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Thursday morning (AEST) as the club try to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League. The seven-time champions of Europe have made a slow start to the new campaign – only managing a draw  in the first leg of the playoff tie between the sides before losing to Verona in the League on Saturday – and anything less than victory would be a huge disappointment.

Kevin Prince-Boateng, Urby Emanuelson and Nigel De Jong all started for the Rossoneri in Holland last week before being rested on the weekend and could return to the starting lineup, while Brazilian star Robinho could also be in contention after returning from injury against Verona on the bench.

While Milan is yet to win this season, PSV has made a dream start to the new campaign and is unbeaten in seven competitive matches. They beat Belgian club Zulte-Waregem in both matches of the two-legged Champions League Qualifying Third Round tie and have won three of four matches in the Eredivisie. The 1987/88 champions of Europe are set to be boosted by the return of wonder kid Zakaria Bakkali on the right for this crucial fixture, with the teenager unsighted since picking up a groin strain while on international duty with Belgium earlier this month.

PSV has failed to win at the San Siro in three attempts but will be confident of breaking their duck at the ground given the strong start they have made to the season. AC Milan gained a crucial away goal in the 1-1 draw in Holland last weekend however and a repeat of the 0-0 draw played out by the clubs here in the group stage of the competition eight years ago would be enough to see them advantage to the tournament proper.

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