Porto pose dilemma for Milan

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After opening their Serie A title defence with a formidable 4- 1 win over Verona on Sunday, Milan will be looking for another impressive victory when they face Porto in their first Champions' League match tonight.

Milan's new Uruguayan coach, Oscar Tabarez, who succeeded Fabio Capello, has only one significant absentee, the injured Montenegrin striker, Dejan Savicevic.

However, if George Weah can replicate the devastating form he showed against Verona, Tabarez will hardly miss Savicevic.

The Liberian, the world player of the year, scored a truly memorable goal, running more than half the length of the pitch and riding seven tackles before finding the net with a strike rated by the Corrierre dello Sport newspaper as the second greatest of all time. First, according to the paper, was a goal Pele scored for Santos at the Maracana stadium in 1961.

Despite their ominously impressive start to the season, only 25,000 tickets have so far been sold for tonight's match.

"I hope more will come," Weah said. "We are playing very well, but need help from our fans, because Porto are a very good team."

Although Milan looked ominous going forward on Sunday, Tabarez has problems in defence. The veteran captain, Franco Baresi, is out for at least a month with an ankle injury, while Alessandro Costacurta is suspended.

Tabarez will have to reshuffle his back line, with Filippo Galli and Paolo Maldini playing in central defence. Christian Panucci will play on the left, and the former Ajax defender, Michael Reizinger, who played against Milan in the 1995 European Cup final, will make his European debut for the Italians on the same flank.

Tabarez, eager to steal the thunder of Serie A rivals Juventus, who are the reigning European champions, says the match will be tough for his side.

"Without Savicevic, Costacurta and Baresi it will not be an easy match for us," he said.

Despite his caution, Milan are still favourites to win the trophy for what would be a record-equalling sixth time. Porto will be rather harder opponents than Verona, but they will be without the Austrian midfielder Arnold Wetl, a close-season signing from Sturm Graz, who was not registered in time and cannot play in any of their European competition matches before January.

They will also be missing the injured Olivera Domingos, Grzegorz Mielcarski and Quinzinho.

"I have not decided the team," the Porto coach, Antonio Oliveira, said.

MILAN (probable v Porto, European Champions' League Group D, San Siro, tonight): Rossi; Panucci, Maldini, Reizinger, Galli, Desailly, Boban, Albertini, Weah, Baggio, Simone.

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