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Favourites Milan will be hosting Sparta Prague at 'San Siro' on Wednesday night
for the second leg of the Champions League knockout stage which will give
qualification to the quarter finals of Europe's most important competition.

Milan are on a roll, having won 10 of their last 11 league games and marching on
towards the Scudetto which has been missing since the 1998/99 season. Their
Champions League campaign has been nearly equally impressive and if they can
mantain their current form, they can do very well in this competition.

The rossoneri coach, Carlo Ancelotti, has described the game as being a delicate
one, yet he is confident his team will go through. "Milan is the favourite for
what it showed in the first leg," said Ancelotti, "However it will be a very
delicate match: we must interpret the match in the best possible way, because
the result of the first leg does not reassure us."

Sparta Prague have already done more than most people expected after qualifying
from the group stage at the expense of Lazio. Jiri Kotrba's team has lost 7
players in the January transfer window and this might prove costly for a team
playing in the Champions League. Qualification looks like a mirage but with the
0-0 of the first leg anything can happen if the Czech champions succeed in
scoring a goal.

Milan has to win at all cost this game as a 0-0 result would send both teams to
extra-time and penalties if needed. A 1-1 or higher drawing result would send
Sparta Prague to the next round and eliminate Milan out of this season's
Champions League. This therefore means that the rossoneri must make the game and
pushing forward from the start while the Czech Republic champions will be
defending and counter attacking without over exposing themselves too much.


PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Shevcenko (Milan): The Serie A top-scorer was rested for most of the match
against Sampdoria last Sunday so therefore he will have his batteries charged
enough for this encounter and lead the rossoneri to the next round.

Poborsky (Sparta Prague): The Czech player has lost his start of the season
form, but a return to Italy might be what needs to regain his momentum and even
create an upset to the Milanisti after upsetting Inter 2 years ago in the famous
'5th of May'.


PROBABLE FORMATIONS:

AC Milan (4-3-1-2): Dida; Cafú, Costacurta, Maldini, Kaladze; Gattuso, Pirlo,
Seedorf; Kaka; Inzaghi F., Shevchenko.

Sparta Praha (4-4-2): Blazek; Pergl, Homola, Hubschman, Labant; Pobosky,
Zelenka, Kovac, Michalik; Stajner, Rezek.
 
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