AC Milan may be having a rough time in Serie A, but it can take first place in its Champions League group with a victory over Málaga.
While Málaga currently sits third in the La Liga tables, the Rossoneri are in 15th place after taking just seven points in their first eight league matches.
But UCL fixtures offer Milan a chance to leave their troubles in Italy, head to the beautiful south coast of Spain and continue their success in Europe.
Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming match.
Where: Estadio La Rosaleda, Málaga, Spain
When: Wednesday, October 24, 2:45 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2Go
Biggest Storyline: Looming Financial Struggles
AC Milan was forced to sell off Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovich in order to deal with mounting debt, and this has been a key factor in the team’s struggles.
Málaga is also dealing with finance issues, although theirs are of a much more confusing nature. Qatari billionaire Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani appears to have plenty of money, but according to CNN’s Tom McGowan, he failed to pay several of his players, including Santi Cazorla, who was sold to Arsenal. The team has had success this season despite this, but financial instability will still loom over both of these clubs after a tumultuous summer.
Málaga Player to Watch: Isco
The talented 20-year-old midfielder is another one of Spain’s rising stars. He has been playing fantastic football in UCL matches and had a brace against Zenit St. Petersburg as well as an assist against Anderlecht.
He is extremely creative on the ball, and will be a serious danger to Milan’s defense.
AC Milan Player to Watch: Stephan El Shaarawy
The 19-year-old Italian attacker has been Milan’s most pressing threat going forward, and the team will need him to continue his fine form in this match.
He scored in the Rossoneri’s last Champions League fixture against Zenit St. Petersburg, and has hit the back of the net five times in Serie A matches. Look for him to put significant pressure on Málaga’s back line.
What They’re Saying
CBS Sports notes that much more than pride is on the line for AC Milan.
An entire squad's worth of top players departed Milan during the offseason, highlighted by Zlatan Ibrahimovic's and Thiago Silva's moves to Paris Saint-Germain.
Still facing budget problems, Milan could use the €15 million ($20 million) it would earn by advancing from the group stage.
Fox Sports points out that a victory in this match would put Málaga in an extremely advantageous position to advance out of Group C.
Malaga have enjoyed a magnificent start to life in their debut Champions League campaign and successive 3-0 wins over and has left them clear at the top of Group C.
Another victory over second-placed Milan would see them open up a five-point lead and leave Manuel Pellegrini's men on the verge of the last 16 with a nine-point haul.
Prediction: Málaga 2, Milan 2
This will be an open match from the start with both clubs looking to attack, and it will ultimately end in a draw.
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