Newcastle United mark their return to the Champions League for the first time in 20 years with a mouth-watering clash against seven-time winners AC Milan on Tuesday evening (17:45) at the San Siro.
The Magpies snapped a three-game losing streak to defeat Brentford in their most recent Premier League outing, while the Rossoneri were humiliated by old foes Inter Milan.
Interestingly, Milan went on to become the champions the last time Newcastle played in the Champions League in the 2002-03 season.
Pierre Kalulu missed the Milan derby at the weekend due to a thigh strain, and he’s expected to miss the visit of Newcastle on Tuesday.
Fikayo Tomori also missed the defeat against Inter due to suspension, but the former Chelsea man will be eligible for selection here.
The Rossoneri will also be reunited with one of their former troops in Sandro Tonali, who switched the San Siro for St James’ Park in the summer.
Joelinton is expected to be absent for the visitors after sustaining a knee injury whilst on international duty for Brazil.
Draw and both teams to score @ 3/1
To be honest, I’ve gone with the draw as I really can’t split the teams.
Newcastle have been excellent at home for just over a year now, but I feel like they are a completely different side when on their travels.
Will the occasion get to them as they return to the biggest stage after a 20-year absence? Perhaps, but I still think Newcastle have enough about them to trouble Milan here, who will be wounded after their heavy derby defeat, and desperate to respond.
On their travels, Newcastle have failed to score in just two of their last 12 matches, and I expect Eddie Howe’s men to maintain that run at the San Siro. However, Milan will surely prove capable of scoring themselves – Stefano Pioli’s side have scored in 12 of their last 14 home matches.
Rafael Leao to score anytime @ 21/10
Leao is one of the many attacking options that can hurt Newcastle on Tuesday night.
He netted AC Milan’s consolation at the weekend against Inter, and the Portuguese forward has scored two goals this season in four games for Milan.
He’s only scored twice in the Champions League in his career, although he did record five assists in 11 appearances in last season’s competition, so I’m expecting him to increase his goal output this year, starting on Tuesday.