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Match preview: Rennes face uphill battle in Europa League clash with AC Milan

Rennes face a daunting task after suffering a 3-0 defeat in the first leg of their Europa League tie against Italian giants AC Milan. This represents their only loss in 2024 so far, highlighting their impressive form.

To progress, Rennes need a historic comeback: only once in the competition’s history has a team overturned a 3-0 first-leg deficit, which Valencia achieved against Basel in 2013/14.

While Rennes haven’t conceded at home in their last two Europa League encounters against Italian sides, Villarreal’s 3-2 victory at Roazhon Park serves as a stark reminder of the challenge they face. Additionally, their inability to win by a margin exceeding three goals at home since August makes their mission seem almost impossible.

However, AC Milan aren’t invincible. Their recent 4-2 defeat to Monza further complicates their Serie A title aspirations. As a result, with Inter Milan 11 points ahead and an early Coppa Italia exit, the Europa League offers their best chance for silverware this season. This was evident in their strategic squad rotation against Monza in preparation for this crucial match.

Despite not losing an away game in the Europa League since December 2018, Milan’s struggles to find the net in four of their last six European away matches are concerning. They even suffered a 3-0 defeat against PSG in France during that period. Furthermore, history isn’t on their side either: in 1996, they squandered a 2-0 home win in the UEFA Cup before losing to Bordeaux on aggregate.

Players to Watch:

Rennes: Martin Terrier, whose double secured victory against Clermont last weekend, has a knack for opening goals in the Europa League, with three of his four strikes falling into this category.

AC Milan: Christian Pulisic, who found the net against Monza, has a habit of scoring between the 45th and 60th minutes, netting three of his last four goals during this period.

Current Form:

Milan have witnessed exactly two first-half goals in four of their last six games.
While the odds are stacked against Rennes, football always holds the potential for surprises. They’ll need a heroic performance to pull off a historic comeback, but against a Milan side facing their own battles, anything is possible.

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