Two former European Cup winners go head-to-head in the Europa League on Thursday when Celtic host AC Milan at Celtic Park (8pm kick-off).
Only Real Madrid (13) have won the European Cup/Champions League more times than AC Milan (seven), but they have had to make do with the continent’s secondary competition for a while. The last time AC Milan were in the Europa League they were knocked out of the group stages in 2018/19, finishing third behind Real Betis and Olympiacos. But the Rossoneri are in excellent form this season and will be buoyed by the weekend’s win over rivals Inter Milan.
Celtic, meanwhile, started the campaign in the Champions League qualifying rounds but missed out on the competition yet again, securing their spot in the Europa League again. Last season, they reached the round-of-32 before being knocked out by FC Copenhagen. And, unlike Milan, Celtic come into the game off the back of a big derby defeat, losing 2-0 to Rangers.
Despite these two sides having met 10 times in major European competitions so far, this will be the first in the Europa League, with Celtic’s only win against Milan coming in October 2007.
Where to watch Celtic vs AC Milan on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 3
- US: TUDN USA
Where to live stream Celtic vs AC Milan:
US ONLY: Fubo* are streaming Europa League fixtures live for account holders. Those without a Fubo account already can take advantage of their seven-day free trial by following the simple steps below.
- Click on this link.
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- Log in and pick your desired channel to watch.
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Celtic & AC Milan’s previous line-ups:
- Celtic (vs Rangers): Barkas; Welsh, Ajer, Duffy; Frimpong, McGregor, Brown, Ntcham, Laxalt; Elyounoussi, Klimala.
- AC Milan (vs Inter Milan): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Bennacer, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Leao; Ibrahimovic.
Celtic remain without James Forrest, Michael Johnston, Nir Bitton, Ryan Christie and Hatem Elhamed for the visit of AC Milan but Leigh Griffiths and Albian Ajeti could come into a rotated XI. Diego Laxalt is in line to start against his parent club.
Meanwhile, AC Milan are without Ante Rebic and Mateo Musacchio, while Leo Duarte and Matteo Gabbia are doubts. But Stefano Pioli could be persuaded to rotate.
Players to watch:
Celtic: Kristoffer Ajer. Despite their defeat to Rangers at the weekend, Ajer was one of the few Celtic players who received praise for his performance in the Old Firm Derby. And on Thursday he should line up against the side who were reportedly interested in signing him over the summer. The Norwegian is a top centre-back and has been tipped by some to follow the footsteps of Virgil van Dijk and forged a big career away from Celtic, albeit thanks to experience gained at the club. According to reports, Milan have been admirers of Ajer for some time and were set to table a £14m bid, though nothing materialised. For now, Ajer is a Celtic player, but a good performance even in defeat could pique Milan’s interest.
AC Milan: Hakan Calhanoglu has been Milan’s man in the Europa League this season and expect him to be on form once again on Thursday. Although the numbers aren’t often included in wider season reviews, Calhanoglu has to take credit for his work in the Europa League qualifying rounds, as Milan had to play three games before reaching the group stages. The Turkish international was directly involved in six goals, scoring four and recording two assists, with only Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane matching him among the rest of the competition. Calhanoglu has scored in every Europa League game so far this season, but the question will be whether he can carry that form into the group stage.
Scoreline prediction: Celtic 0-3 AC Milan
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