MX23RW : Monday, August 2 15:56:46| >> :600:18386316:18386316:
Jan 3, 2021 at 5pm UK at Stadio Ciro Vigorito
AC MilanAC Milan
FT(HT: 0-1)
Kessie (15' pen.), Leao (49')
Calhanoglu (41'), Dalot (78'), Leao (80')
Tonali (34')

Preview: Benevento vs. AC Milan - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Benevento and AC Milan, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Benevento take on AC Milan in Serie A on Sunday, with the visitors looking to remain ahead of their city rivals at the top of the table.

The hosts, meanwhile, are enjoying a fine return to Italy's top flight after amassing 18 points from 14 games to occupy a top-half position.

Match preview

Benevento manager Filippo Inzaghi pictured in September 2020© Reuters

After winning Serie B last season, few would have expected Benevento to re-adjust to Serie A with such aplomb after more than a third of the campaign.

The Sorcerers have only ever competed in Serie A once in their entire history, finishing bottom in the 2017-18 campaign. However, former Milan legend Filipo Inzaghi has instilled real belief throughout the club, with Serie A survival for the first time looking a strong possibility this season.

They rounded 2020 off in style with two successive league wins, with Gianluca Caprari and Gaetano Letizia both scoring in a 2-0 win at Udinese prior to Christmas.

Inzaghi will be looking to ensure his players continue to believe in their ability when his former club and the current league leaders roll into town on Sunday.

AC Milan's Rafael Leao celebrates scoring against Sassuolo in Serie A on December 20, 2020© Reuters

There is little doubting that Benevento are in for a serious game against Milan, who are playing their best football since last winning Serie A in the 2010-11 campaign.

It remains to be seen whether the Rossoneri can handle the pressure of a title challenge under Stefano Pioli, though, especially with city rivals Inter Milan breathing down their necks just one point behind them.

Milan overcame a slight blip prior to Christmas when drawing two consecutive matches against two sides in the bottom five by beating Champions League qualification hopefuls Sassuolo and Lazio. The latter was a thrilling 3-2 victory, with Theo Hernandez's last minute winner earning a crucial three points ahead of the winter break.

Pioli will be guarding his players against any form of complacency as they look to retain their unbeaten domestic record ahead of the trip to Benevento, especially with the Serie A newcomers enjoying an excellent start to the season themselves.

Benevento Serie A form: DDLDWW

AC Milan Serie A form: WWDDWW
AC Milan form (all competitions): WWDDWW

Team News

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic pictured on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Benevento are without central defenders Luca Caldirola and Massimo Volta due to injury.

Inzaghi is unlikely to waver from the 4-3-2-1 system which has brought his side so much success under his tutelage.

Milan, meanwhile, are likely to remain without the services of top goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic due to a calf injury, but the club do expect him to return at some point in January.

Samu Castillejo, Matteo Gabbia, Ismael Bennacer and Alexis Saelemaekers are also ruled out of the trip to Benevento due to injury.

Benevento possible starting lineup:
Montipo; Letizia, Tula, Glik, Barba; Schiattarella, Ionita, Improta; Insigne, Caprari; Lapadula

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Calabria, Kalulu, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Tonali, Krunic; Diaz, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Leao

SM words green background

We say: Benevento 1-2 AC Milan

We can envisage a tight Milan victory, with former club legend Inzaghi's plucky Benevento side pushing them all of the way.

Ultimately, though, even potentially without Ibrahimovic, Milan should have a little too much offensive quality for them to deal with.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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AC Milan's Samu Castillejo celebrates scoring against Sampdoria in Serie A on December 6, 2020
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Monday's key events

· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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