Eurozone: Milan look vulnerable to Rooney raid

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The Independent Online

Milan's plans to stop Wayne Rooney tomorrow night might have to rely on plan B with first choice central defender Thiago Silva struggling to be fit to start the first leg at San Siro. Daniele Bonera is on stand-by as home manager Leonardo waits on the Brazilian's fitness.

Whoever lines up in defence, Milan come into the game off the back of conceding twice in the 3-2 win over Udinese. The victory came in spite of a nervous defensive display where they looked vulnerable every time the Antonio Di Natale-inspired opposition attacked. Udinese netted twice after Bonera had replaced Thiago late in the first half and they needed Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to grab a late winner.

The Dutchman, who scored twice in that win, looks set to keep his place in Leonardo's starting line-up with first-choice centre-forward Marco Borriello also a doubt. A front three of Ronaldinho, Huntelaar and Alexandre Pato would leave David Beckham having to make do with a place on the bench.

Milan welcome Manchester with a major domestic headache as their hopes of finishing second continue to suffer at the hands of Claudio Ranieri's Roma. The former Chelsea manager's side are 20 games unbeaten after their 4-1 win over Palermo. They moved back ahead of Milan with their ninth straight win coming courtesy of two goals from Matteo Brighi and one each from former Arsenal man Julio Baptista and ex-Liverpool full-back John Arne Riise.

The Norweigan was not the only former Liverpool defender in the goals as Alvaro Arbeloa got Real Madrid's all important first goal as they beat Xerez to keep the pressure up on Barcelona. Cristiano Ronaldo added two more, both from Kaka assists as the pair continue to show signs of finally clicking into place after their combined €140m transfer in the summer.

Meanwhile, the former Chelsea midfielder Tiago has backed Jose Mourinho's Internazionale to get one over on his old club when the two teams meet in the Champions League next week.

Tiago said: "Mourinho sees football differently to everyone else. He takes care of everything. He gives the impression that he has known his rivals for years. He even seems to know exactly what makes them tick. That is why he wins.''



Ruud in rude health

Ruud van Nistelrooy scored twice in 90 seconds to give Hamburg a win over Christian Gross' Stuttgart. The Dutchman was a second-half substitute in the win that helped Martin Jol's team into a Europa League spot. Bayern Munich are still breathing down the necks of unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen. The leaders beat Wolfsburg but are now just one goal ahead of Louis van Gaal's team who beat Dortmund 3-1. Arjen Robben scored for the fifth successive match as Munich made it 12 straight wins in the league.

Porto off the pace

Porto slipped to nine points off the pace in Portugal ahead of their Champions League first leg against Arsenal on Wednesday. They were held to a goal-less away draw at Leixoes and lost ground on Benfica who beat Belenenses 1-0. Everton's Europa League opponents Sporting Lisbon also drew a blank with a 0-0 draw against Pacos de Ferreira leaving them 21 points from the top.

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