AC Milan vs. Hellas Verona, Preview and TV Schedule: Seedorf handed difficult test on debut

Dino Panato

After Max Allegri's sacking in midweek, new Milan boss Clarence Seedorf is handed a difficult baptism with high-flying Hellas visiting the San Siro.

After a very lean season which has seen Milan become a fixture in mid-table, patience finally snapped with boss Max Allegri after last weekend's astonishing 4-3 defeat to Sassuolo where, after going 2-0 up early on, Milan were undone by four Domenico Berardi goals. After wielding the axe over Allegri, Adriano Galliani then sought to bring in club legend Clarence Seedorf, ending his playing days with Botafogo in Brazil to take the helm of the club he had so much success with as a player. It is a gamble, given that this is the Dutchman's first managerial role however bringing in a man who experienced such success with the club as a player will prove popular with the fans.  Milan are still mired in a tightly packed mid-table group, they sit 11th, just four points from Torino in seventh but only three points above Udinese in 15th. Although in the run-up to Christmas they went five matches unbeaten, they have only won one of their last five matches, a 3-0 victory over Atalanta in the first match back after the winter break. The hope will be that the change of coach may jolt Milan into life and they be buoyed by the fact that they rose from mid-table to third in the second half of last season after a similarly indifferent start.

Hellas Verona have been a revelation in their first season in Serie A for 11 years. Whilst the other promoted sides Sassuolo and Livorno currently prop up the table, Hellas have flown into the top division and currently sit sixth, level on points with Inter and just five from Fiorentina in fourth, but crucially, with a healthy gap of six points back to Torino in seventh. A four match unbeaten run was snapped by Napoli last time out, inflicting a 3-0 home defeat on the Mastini and more misery was piled on by Napoli with the news that pivotal Brazilian midfielder Jorginho, reportedly a target for many sides around Europe, has made the move south to join the Partenopei. With their excellent first half of the season, it's perhaps unsurprising that teams are looking at the key members of the squad however the departure will still come as a blow at this crucial point in the season.

After allowing Alessandro Matri to leave to Fiorentina, Milan were dealt a blow when it was revealed Giampaolo Pazzini won't be fit to face Verona. Sulley Muntari is suspended and there are question marks over the heads of Nigel De Jong and Kevin Constant. Verona are relatively worry-free in the injury department, with only long-term absentee Jacopo Sala definitely out, Samuele Longo could potentially make the bench.

Milan injuries and suspensions

Out: GIampaolo Pazzini, Stephan El Sharaawy, Ignazio Abate (injured); Sulley Muntari (suspended). In doubt: Nigel De Jong, Ricardo Saponara, Kevin Constant.

Verona injuries and suspensions

Out: Jacopo Sala (injured). In doubt: Samuele Longo, Matteo Rubin.

Projected lineups

Milan: Abbiati, De Sciglio, Zapata, Mexes, Emanuelson, Poli, Cristante, Nocerino, Honda, Kaká, Balotelli

Verona: Rafael, Cacciatore, Moras, Maietta, Agostini, Raphael Martino, Romulo, Hallfredsson, Toni, Gomez Taleb, Iturbe.

Match date/time: Sunday 19th January 2014, 20:45 local, 14:45 E.T.

Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan

TV: Sky Sport 1, Sky Calcio 1 (Italy); beIN Sport, RAI Internazionale, SiriusXM FC (USA); BT Sport 1 (UK).

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