AC Milan will be looking to claim their fourth successive victory across all competitions when they welcome Genoa to San Siro for their last-16 clash in the Coppa Italia on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, the visitors – who have beaten Perugia and Salernitana to reach this stage of the competition – will be hoping to progress to the quarter-finals for the first time in 30 years.
Stefano Pioli celebrated his 400th Serie A game as a manager when AC Milan comfortably beat Venezia 3-0 away from home on Sunday, to claim their first victory in 2022.
It took less than two minutes for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to open the scoring, netting his eighth league goal of the campaign, before a second-half brace from Theo Hernandez secured all three points for the Rossoneri.
Milan now sit just one point behind city rivals and league leaders Inter Milan, who have played a game less, and they are on course to qualify for the Champions League as there is a 10-point gap between themselves in second and Juventus in fifth place.
Pioli’s men now head into their Coppa Italia encounter having progressed from the last 16 in each of the previous 12 seasons; however, they have not lifted the trophy since the 2002-03 campaign, a 19-year drought which the Rossoneri hierarchy will be keen to end.
Milan, who are unbeaten in nine of their last 10 meetings with Genoa, should be confident of beating their relegation-threatened counterparts on Thursday, considering they cruised to a 3-0 victory against them in the league just six weeks ago.
Genoa’s struggles in Serie A continued over the weekend as they suffered a narrow 1-0 home defeat to relegation rivals Spezia.
Simone Bastoni’s strike in the 14th minute was enough to condemn the hosts to their 11th league defeat of the campaign and sees them sitting five points adrift from safety.
Genoa’s only victory in their last 19 matches across all competitions was in the second round of the Coppa Italia against Serie A basement club Salernitana, who they beat 1-0 in December.
Head coach Andriy Shevchenko is facing an uphill battle to turn the club’s fortunes around, and while a potential cup run will not be considered as one of his priorities, a return to winning ways is high on the agenda so a positive result in midweek can only help the Liguria-based outfit going forward.
Shevchenko will return to familiar territory on Thursday as he spent eight successful years across two spells with Milan as a player, scoring 175 goals, winning five major trophies and also claiming the 2004 Ballon d’Or.
The Rosseblu head into their midweek tie having failed to reach the round of 16 of the Coppa Italia in each the last 13 seasons; the last time they reached the quarter-final was back in 1991-92 when they came out on top against Pisa.
Genoa have fared better away from home so far this term, claiming eight of their 12 Serie A points on the road with five draws and a win. However, success in the cup on Thursday is unlikely against an in-form Milan outfit, who they have only beaten twice in their last 19 visits to San Siro.
AC Milan form (all competitions):
Genoa Coppa Italia form:
Genoa form (all competitions):
We say: AC Milan 2-0 Genoa
Even though Genoa will be desperate to put an end to their miserable winless run, everything points towards a routine victory for Milan on Thursday.
The hosts will without a few key players but Pioli is set to name a side strong enough to get the job done at San Siro.