By Luke Williams
Group G pacesetters RC Deportivo La Coruña and AC Milan meet tomorrow in a Matchday Two tie that is given added spice by the presence of Europe's two most prolific strikers.
Makaay on a hot streak
Spanish contenders Deportivo, in their third successive UEFA Champions League campaign, are on a high after last week ending FC Bayern München's 32-match unbeaten home run in the tournament with a stunning 3-2 win. Hot on the heels of that result came a 2-0 Primera División success against Real Valladolid and, amazingly, all five Deportivo goals in those games came from the same man - Dutch international Roy Makaay.
Milan defender Alessandro Nesta, a summer arrival from S.S. Lazio, admits Makaay is a huge threat to his team's hopes. "We must watch out for him," said Nesta. "Players like him and [Diego] Tristán are strong and experienced. I often watch Spanish football and Deportivo are a really tough side at their place."
Inzaghi also in form
To counter Makaay, Milan will call on another of the new term's foremost forwards – Italian international Filippo Inzaghi, who scored in both Milan's Champions League qualifiers against FC Slovan Liberec before starting the delayed Serie A season with a double against Modena FC. Another two goals followed as Milan beat RC Lens in their opening group game before he registered his fifth in a week, and seventh in all, in the weekend win against AC Perugia.
With such talent on show, it is no surprise that a sell-out crowd is expected at the Riazor for the Rossoneri's visit. Milan will be boosted by the absence of Deportivo's influential midfield player Juan Valerón, who faces two months on the sidelines after fracturing his fibia against Valladolid. "They've lost an important player," said Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti. "It's an absence they'll feel in that part of the pitch." Lionel Scaloni and Aldo Duscher are available for selection after sitting out the Bayern match through suspension. But Tristán is favourite to replace Valerón, having recovered from an ankle problem.
Shevchenko still missing
Milan still miss forward Andriy Shevchenko but former Riazor favourite Rivaldo, who was rested at the weekend, will definitely feature against his old club - "from the first minute", according to Ancelotti. Meanwhile, Serginho and Massimo Ambrosini should step down in favour of Clarence Seedorf and Gennaro Gattuso, who will need to be at their combative best if Milan are to preserve their record of never having lost to Deportivo in two previous meetings.
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