AC Milan made a flying start in their bid to complete their set of UEFA club trophies and will look to maintain the momentum as Rijeka cross the Adriatic in Group D.
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AC Milan made a flying start in their bid to complete their set of UEFA club trophies and will look to maintain the momentum as Rijeka cross the Adriatic in UEFA Europa League Group D.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.
• Milan have won all four of their previous meetings with Croatian sides, including 3-1 victories in both home games.
• Rijeka failed to score in their only previous encounter with Serie A opponents – a 2-0 aggregate loss (2-0 away, 0-0 home) to Juventus in the 1979/80 European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals.
• Milan have won all five of their European games this season, scoring 15 goals and conceding just one.
• AC Milan's 5-1 success at Austria Wien on matchday one was their best ever away result in the UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League.
• Rijeka are without a win in five UEFA games (D2 L3) since a 5-1 success at TNS in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round.
• Sixth in Italy last term, Milan are making their first appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage since they reached the round of 32 in the last edition of the UEFA Cup in 2008/09.
• Croatian title winners for the first time last season, Rijeka are embarking on their third UEFA Europa League group stage campaign but have yet to reach the knockout phase.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Rijeka to Milan is around 400km.
• André Silva scored the first hat-trick of the 2017/18 group stage on matchday one, and is the competition's top scorer so far with three goals.
• This is the only major UEFA competition the Rossoneri have not won. Only Ajax, Bayern München, Chelsea, Juventus and – as of last May – Manchester United have won the European Cup/UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League and European Cup Winners' Cup.
• Milan's Nikola Kalinić was a losing UEFA Europa League finalist with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in 2015, his side going down 3-2 to Sevilla in Warsaw.
• Croatian Kalinić was taking his first senior steps at Hajduk Split (2005–09) while Rijeka's Mate Maleš and Filip Bradarić were playing for the youth team.
• Former team-mates:
Rijeka's Maxwell Acosty and Milan's Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina 2009–12)
Rijeka's Josip Elez and Milan's Lucas Biglia (Lazio 2013–16) – though Elez never played a senior game for the club.
• In charge since June 2016, Vincenzo Montella has led Milan back into Europe for the first time since 2013/14. A Serie A winner as a Roma striker in 2000/01, he has since coached Fiorentina and Sampdoria.
• Rijeka's longest-serving coach, Slovenian Matjaž Kek was hired in 2013 and steered the team to their first league championship and fourth Croatian Cup in 2016/17. A defender and coach at Maribor, where his father and son also played, he was Slovenia boss from 2007–11.