Preview: AC Milan vs. Torino
Seeking a place in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, Italian champions AC Milan tackle Torino at San Siro on Wednesday.
Both clubs are five-time cup winners, but three decades have passed since Toro last lifted the trophy; their hosts have not triumphed for 20 years.
Despite being beaten in last year’s semi-finals by arch-rivals Inter, claiming the ultimate prize more than made up for Milan’s latest Coppa Italia failure, but after finally getting their hands on the Scudetto again they now aim for cup glory this season.
Entering at this week’s last-16 stage due to their European commitments, Stefano Pioli’s side occupy third place in Serie A nearing the midway point of their title defence, and are also through to the Champions League knockout rounds, where they will face Tottenham Hotspur next month.
Their league position would have been better, only for a late collapse at home to Roma on Sunday, which allowed in-form Juventus to sneak up on the rails and steal second spot – both clubs trail seven points behind leaders Napoli.
Between Wednesday’s tie and next week’s Supercoppa Italiana clash with Inter in the somewhat sunnier climes of Riyadh, the Rossoneri are bound for Lecce’s Stadio Via del Mare at the weekend. There, they will try to bounce back from a calamitous final five minutes against Jose Mourinho’s men, which saw them concede twice to wipe out a two-goal advantage earned by earlier strikes from Pierre Kalulu and Tommaso Pobega.
That slip-up notwithstanding, Milan have won 10 of their last 12 home fixtures in Serie A, as they now encounter a team they were beaten by in Turin, when the pair last met in October.
On that occasion, the second-city side not only lost 2-1 on the day but also saw a 17-game unbeaten away run ended – this time they will benefit from the home comforts of San Siro.
Since a 7-0 thrashing in 2021, Torino have won one, drawn one and lost one of their league meetings with Milan, and October’s victory over the Rossoneri exorcised some of the demons from such an awful home defeat.
At the weekend, Toro travelled south to Salerno on the back of a disappointing home draw with Empoli, and could only produce a second straight 1-1 result – this time against former boss Davide Nicola’s Salernitana side.
Their hosts had recent signing Guillermo Ochoa in inspired form once again, and the Mexican goalkeeper also saw his woodwork struck twice by a Torino team unable to retain the lead following Antonio Sanabria’s first-half header.
As a result, Ivan Juric’s side sit 10th in the table; 14 points clear of the drop zone. The Granata are not facing another relegation battle this year, then, but chances of European qualification also seem slim due to the stature of those clubs above them in the standings.
Ahead of their trip to Milan, they have lost four of their last seven away games in the league – winning just one – so a side which swept past lower league opponents Palermo (3-0) and Cittadella (4-0) at home in the Coppa’s opening rounds must move up a gear on Wednesday.
AC Milan form (all competitions):
Torino Coppa Italia form:
Torino form (all competitions):
We say: AC Milan 1-0 Torino
With plenty of rotation expected, given Milan’s schedule over the coming days – including a brief jaunt to Saudi Arabia – expect a disjointed display from the Scudetto holders. They can find a way past a low-scoring Torino side, though, if young talents with a point to prove make their mark.