There is everything to play for as the two heavyweights go into their last-16 decider all square.
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There is everything to play for between former European champions AC Milan and Manchester United as they go into the second leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie all square after a 1-1 draw in a keenly contested first game at Old Trafford.
• Milan, who kicked off their European campaign in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, qualified for the knockout phase from a tough group comprising LOSC Lille, Sparta Praha and Celtic, leapfrogging the French side on Matchday 6 to take top spot with 13 points. They then knocked out Crvena zvezda in the round of 32 (2-2 a, 1-1 h), an own goal, two penalties and the away goals rule carrying them through.
• United competed in the UEFA Champions League during the autumn, but defeats in their final two Group H fixtures left them in third place on nine points behind Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig. They subsequently maintained their perfect record in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 by eliminating Real Sociedad, a 4-0 win in Budapest's Puskás Aréna followed by a goalless draw at Old Trafford.
• An added-time equaliser headed home by Milan's Danish international defender Simon Kjær earned the visitors a share of the spoils in the first leg in Manchester after 18-year-old substitute Amad Diallo's first goal for United had put the home side in front five minutes into the second half. It was the first draw in 11 UEFA matches between the clubs, each having won five of the previous ten.
• That first leg was the clubs' first UEFA encounter for 11 years, although they have been drawn against each other five times previously, on every occasion in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League knockout phase.
• Milan won the first four ties – three semi-finals, in 1957/58, 1968/69 and 2006/07, and a round of 16 tie in 2004/05, when the Rossoneri also went on to reach the final – but United were triumphant in the most recent, Sir Alex Ferguson's side convincingly overcoming Leonardo's Milan in the 2009/10 round of 16 (3-2 a, 4-0 h).
• That first-leg result in 2009/10 ended Milan's perfect home record against United. Overall they have won just seven of their 15 games against English visitors (D4 L4), losing the most recent – and the only previous UEFA Europa League encounter – 0-2 to Arsenal in the first leg of the 2017/18 round of 16.
• United's record away to Italian clubs is W5 D3 L10, with wins recorded on each of their last two visits – most recently 2-1 against Juventus in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League group stage – and no defeats in the last five.
• Milan's record in two-legged knockout ties against English opposition is W8 L6. They also have a positive record in European finals against English clubs, beating Leeds 1-0 in Salonika to lift the 1973 European Cup Winners' Cup, taking the UEFA Super Cup at Arsenal's expense in 1995 (0-0 a, 2-0 h), and overcoming Liverpool 2-1 in the 2007 UEFA Champions League showpiece in Athens – two years after they had lost the same fixture to the same opponents on penalties following a 3-3 draw in Istanbul.
• Since losing to Milan in 2006/07 United have won all three of their two-legged knockout ties against Italian opposition, therefore balancing their all-time record at W6 L6. They also lost the 1999 UEFA Super Cup to Lazio (0-1).
• A sixth-placed finish in Serie A last term earned Milan a return to Europe after a one-season absence. Stefano Pioli's side beat Shamrock Rovers (2-0 a) and Bodø/Glimt (3-2 h) in their first two qualifying matches before dramatically capturing a place in the UEFA Europa League group stage by ousting Rio Ave 9-8 in a marathon penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in Portugal.
• The Rossoneri made a strong start to Group H, winning 3-1 at Celtic and 3-0 at home to Sparta, but then lost 0-3 at home to LOSC before drawing 1-1 in France. Further wins against Celtic (4-2 h) and Sparta (1-0 a) were enough, however, to see them through as group winners.
• Victory over Crvena zvezda gave the Rossoneri a second crack at the round of 16. They also faced English opposition three seasons ago, losing 5-1 on aggregate to Arsenal.
• Milan's home record in the UEFA Europa League, qualifiers included, is W10 D2 L3, though they have only won one of their three San Siro encounters in the knockout phase – 1-0 against Ludogorets in the 2017/18 round of 32 to complete a 4-0 aggregate success.
• Milan have won 24 of the previous 28 UEFA ties in which they drew the first leg away, most recently in the round of 32 against Crvena zvezda. Two of the eliminations, however, have come in the last four such ties – against Arsenal in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (0-0 a, 0-2 h) and on away goals against Werder Bremen in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup round of 32 (1-1 a, 2-2 h). Their record after a 1-1 away draw in the first leg is W11 L2, the most famous victory coming in the 1988/89 European Cup semi-final, when they overwhelmed Real Madrid 5-0 in the San Siro return.
• United finished third in the Premier League last season, when they also lost three semi-finals – in the English League Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. Their league position enabled them to compete in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 23rd time.
• Ole Gunnar Solskjær's team got off to a flier in Group H, beating Paris 2-1 away and Leipzig 5-0 at home, but they would lose three of their last four fixtures – 1-2 at İstanbul Başakşehir, 1-3 at home to Paris and 2-3 away to Leipzig – to drop down into third place.
• The Manchester giants have appeared in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 on four previous occasions. They lost the first two ties – against Athletic Club in 2011/12 (2-3 h, 1-2 a) and Liverpool in 2015/16 (0-2 a, 1-1 h) – but won the next two – against Rostov in their triumphant 2016/17 campaign (1-1 a, 1-0 h) and LASK last season (5-0 a, 2-1 h).
• United's away record in the UEFA Europa League is W7 D4 L6, the two most recent encounters bringing big wins against LASK (5-0) and Real Sociedad. They have lost just one of their last 11 away fixtures in the competition (W6 D4) – 2-1 at Astana on Matchday 5 last season, when their qualification for the knockout phase had already been assured. United have scored at least once in all 13 of their UEFA Europa League knockout phase encounters outside England.
• United have won five and lost seven of the 12 UEFA competition ties in which they drew at home in the first leg. They have won three and lost three when the score has been 1-1 in the first game, most recently going down to Bayern München in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League quarter-final after a second-leg 3-1 loss in Munich.
Links and trivia
• This is the only UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie between former European champions. Only one other team on the European Cup roll of honour is still involved in the competition – Ajax.
• While Manchester United are the only club in this season's round of 16 to have won the UEFA Europa League, Milan have never reached the final of either this competition or its predecessor, the UEFA Cup. Their best seasons were semi-final placings in 1971/72 and 2001/02.
• Milan full-back Diogo Dalot, who turns 22 on the day of this game, is on loan from Manchester United.
• Zlatan Ibrahimović was a Manchester United player from 2016 to 2018, helping the club win the UEFA Europa League. He is a former Sweden team-mate of United defender Victor Lindelöf.
• United's Paul Pogba played in Italy for Juventus between 2012 and 2016. He faced Milan eight times in Serie A, winning seven of those matches and scoring in the last of them, a 2-1 away win in 2015/16. He also faced Milan in the 2015/16 Coppa Italia final, which Juve won 1-0 after extra time.
• United striker Edinson Cavani played in Italy for Palermo (2007–10) and Napoli (2010–13). He faced Milan 12 times, scoring four goals, including a hat-trick for Napoli in 2011/12. He was a team-mate of Milan's Kjær at Palermo.
• Bruno Fernandes began his career in Italy, playing for Novara (2012/13), Udinese (2013–16) and Sampdoria (2016/17). He faced Milan five times in Serie A (W2 L3) and once in the Coppa Italia with Udinese, defeating the Rossoneri 2-1 in the 2013/14 quarter-final.
• Alex Telles played 21 Serie A games for Milan's city rivals Internazionale in 2015/16.
• Diallo joined United from Atalanta in January. He made just four league appearances for the Bergamo club, scoring one goal.
• Sergio Romero played for Sampdoria between 2011 and 2015, making 71 Serie A appearances.
• Milan loanee Brahim Díaz was a Manchester City player between 2016 and 2019.
• Fikayo Tomori is on loan to Milan from Chelsea.
• Donny van de Beek scored his first international goal past Gianluigi Donnarumma in a 1-1 UEFA Nations League draw between Italy and the Netherlands in Bergamo on 14 October 2020.
• Mario Mandžukić scored the winning goal in extra time of the 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-final as Croatia came from behind to beat an England side featuring Harry Maguire and substitute Marcus Rashford. Mandžukić also scored in the final, but Pogba's France won 4-2 with the United midfielder among the scorers for Les Bleus.
• United are one of five clubs appearing in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 for the second successive season, along with Olympiacos, Rangers, Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk.
• Both Milan and United currently occupy second place in their domestic league tables – albeit some distance behind their respective local rivals, with Internazionale holding a nine-point advantage in Serie A and Manchester City currently 14 points clear in the Premier League.
• Milan's record in six UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W5 L1:
7-6 v Lokomotíva Košice, 1978/79 UEFA Cup first round
4-2 v Crvena zvezda, 1988/89 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round
3-2 v Roda JC, 2001/02 UEFA Cup fourth round
3-2 v Juventus, 2002/03 UEFA Champions League final
2-3 v Liverpool, 2004/05 UEFA Champions League final
9-8 v Rio Ave, 2020/21 UEFA Europa League play-off
• Manchester United's record in three UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L2:
4-5 v Videoton, 1984/85 UEFA Cup quarter-final
3-4 v Torpedo Moskva, 1992/93 UEFA Cup first round
6-5 v Chelsea, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League final