The biggest tie in the history of Italian football takes place on Thursday night at 19:00 as minnows Associazione Calcio Milan travel to footballing stronghold Tallaght to face the much-celebrated Shamrock Rovers, who can boast 17 league titles and 25 FAI Cups.
Milan, to their credit, have one title more, which may explain the slight preference for them in the betting – although both sides last claimed domestic glory back in the calendar year 2011, leaving this tie very evenly poised.
The visitors can boast such names as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but maybe lack the star power of the likes of Hoops striker Aaron Greene, who almost finished top scorer in the 2016 second tier with Limerick FC – a club who no longer exist.
Rovers can probably count themselves unlucky not to have this over two legs, as their previous European record in Italy is quite strong, just losing to Juventus by the odd goal a few years ago – a monsoon and a 35-yard screamer from some bloke called Del Piero were to blame on that occasion.
So, with the result of this tie very much up in the air, it might be wise to assess some betting angles ahead of the Rossoneri’s trip to the Irish capital this Thursday evening.
Pico, as he’s affectionately known on this island, is a colossus in the air.
Now, while Rovers’ season is in full swing and they’re closing in on a league title, it’s not to say that manager Stephen Bradley, who once played for Arsenal, hasn’t been busy outlining just how his towering centre half, who is in fact a Cape Verde international, can get the better of Zlatan in the air from attacking corners.
All jokes aside, if Rovers score against AC Milan, this is absolutely the only way it’s happening, unless the marauding Swedish striker decides to add to his highlight reel of mad moments and impose friendly fire upon Stefano Piolo’s charges.
I’m not being funny while I say this, but being in-season is crucial for European competition. Generally the best teams qualify and navigate potential banana skins by a couple of goals simply down to the calibre of their players rather than anything else – and you’ll see that here.
Rovers won’t be able to match Milan in any area of the pitch, but they’ll be able to track them in every area of the pitch.
The Hoops are at peak fitness levels at the moment, while Milan’s pre-season sessions are still trickling along. For this reason, and believe me, for this reason alone, I think taking a three-goal head start for Rovers is somewhat wise.
God help us, if Rovers nick a goal, we’re in serious trouble, but you’d imagine that Milan will ease their way into the game, have a spell of 30 minutes where they’re physically exerting dominance and then pass the ball around for the remainder, leading to a nice low-scoring win and Under 3.5 Goals.
Rovers won’t even have support to keep them going through the tougher periods of the game, so it’ll be hard to see that effort matched in those passages.
Tips for Shamrock Rovers v AC Milan on Thursday at 19:00
*Odds are correct at time of publication and they’re always bang on in our handy betting widgets*
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