Football: Milan intent on making their point

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BE it Marseille or Rangers who reach the European Cup final, it seems very likely that whoever gets there will be facing Milan. The Italian champions need just a single point from today's European Cup match against IFK Gothenburg to qualify for the final, even though there will be one round of the semi-final mini-league still to play.

The Swedes are Milan's only challengers left in Group B, a victory would keep them in touch, but a win by five goals would be handier - points-tied teams will be split by the overall result between them, and Gothenburg have a 4-0 defeat in the San Siro in November to redress.

Gothenburg are injury-free and can field the side which beat PSV Eindhoven and Porto, while Milan are without Marco van Basten (ankle), Franco Baresi, Stefano Eranio, and Demetrio Albertini (all suspended). Milan, of course, have the back-up: because of his freshness (he has had only eight League games this season) the Montenegrin Dejan Savicevic will play, rather than Ruud Gullit or Jean- Pierre Papin.

The Croat Zvonimir Boban and the Dutchman Frank Rijkaard will be the other foreigners. The Gothenburg trainer, Roger Gustafsson, was yesterday talking a positive game, saying, just a week after a 3-0 friendly defeat by the newly promoted side, Degerfors, 'If we are ever going to beat the world's best club side, now is the time.'

Group B's other match is such a dead rubber - PSV Eindhoven and Porto are both on one point - that Porto, already injury-hit, will be leaving three key players behind to save themselves for league matches. In Group A, CSKA Moscow's tie with Club Bruges is also materially meaningless bar the bonus money of dollars 330,000 ( pounds 220,000) per point in the semi-final series.

Spartak Moscow know what to expect from their visitors, Antwerp, in today's European Cup-Winners' Cup semi-final; the whole Spartak side travelled to watch Antwerp's league game on Sunday. The Russians will be without their captain, Viktor Onopko, and the midfielder Fyodor Cherenkov (both suspended), but Antwerp are worse off, having had to call up four players without first-team experience.