MX23RW : Thursday, April 15 05:53:49| >> :120:44407:44407:
Mar 7, 2021 at 2pm UK at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
Hellas VeronaHellas Verona
0-2
AC MilanAC Milan

Magnani (26'), Bessa (90+3')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Krunic (27'), Dalot (50')

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

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

After midweek results saw AC Milan drop further off the pace in the Serie A title race, they travel to Veneto on Sunday to meet an impressive Hellas Verona side.

Only one win in six across all competitions has left the Rossoneri playing catch-up on city rivals Inter as they seek a first Scudetto in a decade, while the hosts are unbeaten in four and sit comfortably in mid-table.


Match preview

AC Milan's Franck Kessie celebrates scoring their second goal on January 9, 2021© Reuters

A dramatic denouement at San Siro on Wednesday saved Milan's blushes and rescued what may prove to be a valuable point, when Stefano Pioli's men were gifted a last-minute penalty. Trailing by a goal deep into stoppage time, Udinese wing-back Jens Stryger Larsen bizarrely handled in the box to give the ever-accurate Franck Kessie an invitation to equalise from the spot with the final kick off the match, which the dead-eyed Ivorian duly accepted.

Kessie's second penalty conversion in two games, after also scoring in the win over Roma last weekend, now leaves Milan six points behind old foes Inter at the Serie A summit and the midfield lynchpin admitted afterwards that his stumbling side "must improve" to stay in touch at the top.

After their Venetian visit, the fixture list does not get any easier, as the Rossoneri will face Manchester United in the last-16 of the Europa League, then Napoli next weekend. With their top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic suffering a thigh injury against Roma, they will be without the prolific target man for at least the next couple of weeks too.

Pioli's team have already lost four Serie A games in 2021 - two more than in the entirety of last year - so cannot afford any further slip-ups if they are to stage a memorable comeback title triumph.

Following yet another failure to fire at San Siro, perhaps they will even relish the task of taking on Verona at Stadio Bentegodi this weekend, as with a league-leading 31 points gained and only one defeat on the road, the Diavolo seem to be more comfortable outside of Milan at the moment.

Hellas Verona's Antonin Barak celebrates scoring against AC Milan on November 8, 2020© Reuters

With the goal of European qualification still a distant possibility, Verona took the first of two great steps towards a potential top-seven finish last Saturday, as Antonin Barak headed in a deserved late equaliser to snatch a point against champions Juventus.

The second came in midweek, when Ivan Juric's side dismantled relegation battlers Benevento 3-0 at Stadio Ciro Vigorito. Hellas dominated throughout and there could easily have been a more punishing scoreline by the time the final whistle put the hosts out of their misery.

Now unbeaten in four games and finally improving their previously meagre goalscoring rate, the Gialloblu have been much indebted to attacking midfielder Barak for his contributions, with their in-form top scorer (on six goals) looking to equal his best tally of goals in a single Serie A campaign by notching another when Milan come to town.

The Czech international's fellow playmaker in Juric's stock 3-4-2-1 setup, Mattia Zaccagni, has been nearly as impressive this term, netting five times, as the club's strikers have continued to struggle.

Verona remain undefeated at Bentegodi in 2021 - posting three wins and a draw since their last defeat there, dating back to late December, against Inter. With their latest visitors, under-pressure Milan, looking short of their inspirational best during that same period, the Scaligeri will certainly fancy their chances of adding to the title-chasers' woes on Sunday.

Hellas Verona Serie A form:
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AC Milan Serie A form:
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AC Milan form (all competitions):
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Team News

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic pictured on January 23, 2021© Reuters

Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be out until the end of the month with a thigh injury suffered against Roma, so given ongoing doubts over the fitness of January signing Mario Mandzukic, young Rafael Leao is expected to continue leading the Milan forward line - offering a very different interpretation of the centre-forward's role to Ibrahimovic.

Real Madrid loanee Brahim Diaz was a relatively ineffectual deputy for playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu on Wednesday, but the Turkish international remains absent so Diaz should be asked to continue in support of the front man, while Alexis Saelemaekers may come in for Ante Rebic on the flank.

Due to Ismael Bennacer's ongoing absence through injury, Sandro Tonali hopes to continue alongside mainstay Franck Kessie in the Rossoneri engine room. The Azzurri midfielder was replaced by Soualiho Meite during the break in midweek and may have to start on the bench.

Flying full-back Theo Hernandez is a doubt to make Stefano Pioli's XI too, having picked up a knock, so Manchester United loanee Diogo Dalot stands by if required.

Visiting coach Ivan Juric has Omar Colley (knee), striker Nikola Kalinic (hamstring) and Kevin Ruegg (ankle) definitely ruled out, though has an otherwise fully fit squad to choose from.

Adrien Tameze will be joined by either club captain Miguel Veloso or young Ivan Ilic - on loan from Manchester City - in the midfield pairing that knits together Juric's customary 3-4-2-1 formation.

Meanwhile, in attack - given Kalinic's continuing absence - transfer window buy Kevin Lasagna will seek his first goal at home, having scored at Benevento last time out.

Hellas Verona possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Gunter, Lovato, Dimarco; Faraoni, Veloso, Tameze, Lazovic; Barak, Zaccagni; Lasagna

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Calabria, Tomori, Romagnoli, Dalot; Kessie, Meite; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Castillejo; Leao


SM words green background

We say: Hellas Verona 1-1 AC Milan

Though Milan are far from a busted flush - with several twists and turns still probable in an absorbing Scudetto contest - returning to winning ways at in-form Verona is certainly a tough task.

The home side are one of the most defensively resilient in the league, so can repeat the result played out when these teams met in the autumn - an entertaining score draw.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win 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.Away Win:data


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AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic pictured on February 13, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter Milan30235269274274
2AC Milan30196557352263
3Juventus30188461273462
4Atalanta BCAtalanta30187571383361
5Napoli30192965343159
6Lazio2917484638855
7Roma30166854441054
8SassuoloSassuolo30111094948143
9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona30118113835341
10Sampdoria30106143945-636
11Bologna3097143946-734
12Udinese3089133240-833
13Genoa30711123244-1232
14SpeziaSpezia3088144055-1532
15Fiorentina3079143849-1130
16BeneventoBenevento3079143055-2530
17Torino29512124252-1027
18CagliariCagliari3057183151-2022
19Parma30311162959-3020
20Crotone3043233777-4015

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