Not long to go now.
AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli has warned his star-studded squad to beware of the threat posed by Shamrock Rovers.
The two sides will meet in the second round of Europa League qualification on Thursday evening (KO 7 pm) at the Tallaght Stadium in Dublin.
Rovers are enjoying a superb season in the League of Ireland Premier Division. They are currently top of the table with nine wins and two draws. They have yet to lose a game in the league this season.
The Dublin club are battle-hardened while Milan are currently in the middle of their preseason. Not many are giving Stephen Bradley’s side too much of a chance against the famous Italian club but their manager, Pioli, believes they will pose a threat to his team.
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AC Milan manager: We will need to be alert for 90 minutes against Shamrock Rovers
“We’re excited to start the new season and try to finish this road that would lead us to the Europa League. These are only the qualifiers; our aim is to reach the group stage,” Pioli said.
“European football is where a club as storied as this one belongs, we want to get back there. Our season begins with Shamrock Rovers.
“Unfortunately, we have one or two big absentees, but we need to look at the positives that this can bring to the game. We know how tough these first matches can be: they’ve played more games and have more minutes in the legs.
“We’ll need to be alert for 90 minutes,” he concluded.
AC Milan Technical Director and club legend Paolo Maldini is also expecting a difficult test.
“It’s a game that scares us a lot,” Maldini told Sky Italia. “Rovers are a team that are doing well, first in their league, and we have some injury problems.”
The match will be broadcast live on RTE2 with a kick-off time of 7 pm on Thursday evening so Irish fans can tune in to what will surely be an interesting encounter.