Ludogorets vs Milan by Enzo
Ludogorets didn't have completely successful first part of the season, as the side got excluded from Bulgarian Cup in quarter-finals game at the end of the it in the middle of December on the road to CSKA-Sofia, but also managed to get only one point in lead in comparison to closest rivals from CSKA-Sofia after twenty rounds played.
It's not that bad of a outcome, however we are used them to see dominating the lead even at the half of the season. In any way, they did well to progress to the Europa League knockout stage after being drawn together with Braga, Hoffenheim and Basaksehir in quite a difficult group.
The side managed to finish second with two victories, three draws and one defeat now being in a position to play against one of more reputable sides in Europe surely with a bit less lack of pressure. During the preseason matches the side played five games, winning four of them (only draw was against Shakhtar Donetsk), ending the friendlies with a 1:0 victory over Arsenal Tula.
Goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov is long term absentee, while suspended for this match are left back Natanael Pimienta (16/1) and forward Claudiu Keseru (16/10).
Milan, on the other side, comes from easily taken three pointer away from home against Spal in a 4:0 victory last weekend. It was their eight competitive game without defeat in domestic competitions as the side really shows improvement in recent weeks.
They have opened the game in the best possible way, taking the lead in second minute already via Cutrone, while they just continued dominating till the end - especially in the second halftime when they scored three more goals in last twenty-five minutes (via Cutrone in 65th, Biglia in 73rd and Borini in 90th minute).
Players of Spal were limited to a very defensive role, doing almost nothing in attack, while Milan now stands at seventh position at the table having three points less than Europa League placed Sampdoria and with nine points less than Champions League placed Roma.
Defender Andrea Conti (2/0) is injured, while suspended remains midfielder Manuel Locatelli (12/0). Forward Nikola Kalinic (19/4) probably won't be risked here.
- Milan is undefeated in last eight competitive matches.
It seems that Milan is playing better and better under new coach and even though they are still in the race for European tickets and the fact that this is surely their primary competition, I'm fully confident that they also want to make a good result here as it's a competition where they still can aim for a title.
I don't see them playing in a defensive way, but neither the Bulgarian side that knows that they can't stay behind the ball and see what happens, neither to wait for the second leg in Milano. Visiting side remains a favorite in my eyes, but Ludogorets have also shown so many times that they don't need much in order to put the ball behind goalkeeper's back.