Confidence is high in the Milan AC squad as they prepare to defend a healthy 2-0 lead away to Sporting Clube de Portugal in the second leg of their UEFA Cup third-round tie.
Not even the serious knee injury which has given Italy striker Filippo Inzaghi an enforced spell on the sidelines could weaken the confidence in the Milan AC squad as they prepare to defend a healthy 2-0 lead away to Sporting Clube de Portugal in the second leg of their UEFA Cup third-round tie.
Inzaghi is likely to be out for around three months after undergoing surgery on Wednesday on the knee he damaged during Milan's 3-2 defeat of AC Chievo Verona on Sunday, a result which knocked the Verona outfit off the top of Serie A, installing Milan's city rivals Internazionale FC in their place.
Chievo's goals were in fact the first conceded by Milan since Carlo Ancelotti took charge six games ago, a spell in which his new team have won four games and drawn two.
Shevchenko on target
The loss of Inzaghi is a blow to Milan but luckily for them Andriy Shevchenko is in the kind of goalscoring form that suggests the club can go a long way in the competition. Sporting will not need reminding that he scored in the first game between the teams and it was his double strike that overturned Chievo's 2-1 lead at the weekend and hoisted his team into fourth place in the Italian first division.
Looking to Jardel
The Lisbon club have won their last two games 2-0 and lie third in the Portuguese 1. Liga, two points behind FC Porto. Sporting will be looking to their Brazilian forward Mario Jardel to prove his worth and instigate victory over the odds. He could figure in a three-pronged attack also involving João Pinto and Romanian Marius Niculae.
Javier Mareno could get a rare start for Milan if Ancelotti decides not to use Shevchenko as a solo striker while Rui Costa is expected to take the opportunity to remind his home public just what he is capable of.