AC Milan will be seeking a first home victory in Europe for almost two years when they kick off their Group G campaign against AJ Auxerre in coach Massimiliano Allegri's competition debut.
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AC Milan will be seeking a first home victory in Europe for almost two years when they kick off their Group G campaign against AJ Auxerre in coach Massimiliano Allegri's UEFA Champions League debut.
• The Rossoneri have won none of their last six outings at San Siro in UEFA competition. AJ Auxerre, competing among Europe's elite for only the third time, will begin as outsiders in a group which also includes Real Madrid CF and AFC Ajax, but in Jean Fernandez have a coach with experience of beating Milan.
• This 15 September fixture comes three days shy of the 25th anniversary of the clubs' first encounter, a 3-1 win for Auxerre in the first leg of a UEFA Cup first round tie in 1985/86. Milan legend Paolo Maldini, then 17, made his European debut that night and was involved in the decider too when the Rossoneri turned the contest round with a 3-0 triumph. Pietro Virdis sealed victory seven minutes from time with his third goal over the two games.
• Third in Serie A last term, Milan reached the last 16 of the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League but failed to win at home, recording two defeats and two draws. After two draws in their 2008/09 UEFA Cup campaign, the seven-time champions have not beaten visitors from abroad at San Siro since a 1-0 victory against SC Braga in November 2008.
• Milan have recorded seven wins, three draws and just one defeat at home against French teams. Yet in their two most recent encounters they drew 1-1 with Olympique de Marseille last season and lost 2-0 to LOSC Lille Métropole in 2006/07, both in the group stage.
• Auxerre, third in Ligue 1 in 2009/10, beat FC Zenit St. Petersburg in the play-offs to book their first group stage appearance since 2002/03. Fernandez's men lost 1-0 in Russia but won 2-0 back in Burgundy.
• Auxerre have failed to score on three previous trips to Italy. Besides the aforementioned UEFA Cup defeat in Milan, they suffered 1-0 losses in the quarter-finals of the same competition against ACF Fiorentina (1989/90) and an S.S. Lazio side (1997/98) including Alessandro Nesta.
• Their most recent game against Serie A opposition brought a 1-0 reverse at home to AS Livorno Calcio in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup group stage, a result which eliminated them from the competition.
• Fernandez was assistant to Raymond Goethals when he led Olympique de Marseille to victory against Milan in the 1993 UEFA Champions League final. He was also part of OM's coaching team when they defeated Milan in the quarter-finals in 1991.
• Flavio Roma played 203 Ligue 1 games for AS Monaco FC between 2001 and 2009, appearing in the 2004 UEFA Champions League final.
• Milan's French international Mathieu Flamini has spent only one season in Ligue 1, with Marseille in 2003/04. He is a former Under-21 team-mate of Anthony Le Tallec.
• Ronaldinho played for Paris Saint-Germain FC from 2001 to 2003 and finished on the losing side against Auxerre in the 2003 French Cup final.
• Robinho made his UEFA Champions League debut for Real Madrid CF in September 2005 in a 3-0 defeat by an Olympique Lyonnais side including Jérémy Berthod.
• Mario Yepes played in France from 2002 to 2008, first with Nantes FC and then with PSG for four seasons.
• Auxerre skipper Benoît Pedretti featured in Lyon's 2005/06 UEFA Champions League quarter-final defeat by Milan. He started the goalless first leg but was an unused substitute at San Siro where Lyon lost 3-1. He also appeared in that stadium for FC Sochaux-Montbéliard in a goalless UEFA Cup last-16 draw at FC Internazionale Milano in 2003/04, a result that eliminated his side on away goals.
• Le Tallec appeared in both legs of Liverpool FC's 2004/05 UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Juventus but played no part in the final against Milan in Istanbul.