AC Milan and Galatasaray renew old rivalry


MILAN, Reuters

AC Milan and Galatasaray renew their old rivalry when the two sides meet at San Siro in the opening match of the second phase of the Champions League on Tuesday.

They first tangled back in 1963, with Milan winning 5-0 at home on their way to an 8-1 aggregate victory in the European Cup quarter finals.

The win heralded a slice of soccer history as Milan went on to win the trophy at Wembley under skipper Cesare Maldini, becoming the first Italian side to win European football’s top club prize.

Last season, under Maldini’s son Paolo, Milan eked out a 2-1 victory in the home leg of their Champions League clash before suffering a numbing 3-2 defeat in Istanbul.

The loss put Milan out of European football for the rest of the season but earned Galatasaray a place in the UEFA Cup — which they then went on to win with a penalty shoot out victory over Arsenal.

This time, Milan are almost certain to be without key trio of Alessandro Costacurta, Francesco Coco and Demetrio Albertin.

The three Italian internationals picked up injuries in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Lazio in Rome.

Midfielder Albertini twisted his right knee while defender Costacurta and left wing-back Francesco Coco were both substituted in the first half with muscle strains.

Milan’s medical team will assess the injuries later on Monday but the trio are rated “very doubtful” for Tuesday’s second round opener.

Brazilian Serginho will take Coco’s spot on the left with his compatriot Roque Junior likely to play in the centre of defence.

Albertini’s central midfield post will probably be taken by Massimo Ambrosini.

Galatasaray coach Mircea Lucescu plans to take the game to the Serie A giants when they do battle.

“It’s suicide to go out into the San Siro looking for a draw,” the Romanian coach said. “It would be stupid and crazy to go there thinking about making Milan attack and plan to build a wall for a draw.”

Lucescu, no stranger to San Siro after a four-month spell coaching Inter Milan in the 1998-99 season, will be without midfielder Emre Belozoglu through suspension. Goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel is shaking off a severe shoulder injury.

However, Lucescu rested some of his defenders in Saturday’s 2-1 league win over Adanaspor.