AC Milan and FC Zurich both go into tonight's Champions League Group C match at the San Siro in poor form. Milan have managed only two victories and three goals in their first six Serie A games under new coach Leonardo, while Zurich have lost two in a row in the Swiss league and are 13 points adrift of leaders Young Boys after only 11 matches. The difference lies in how the clubs began their European campaign. Filippo Inzaghi scored twice in Milan's 2-1 win over Marseille, while Zurich were beaten 5-2 at home by Real Madrid.
Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani has noticed that his team usually seems to perform better in Europe than domestically, and he pumped the Champions League music into the club's changing room before a 1-0 victory over Bologna earlier this month. "For some reason, whenever we hear that music we play better," Galliani said. Milan were whistled off the San Siro pitch after a 0-0 draw with Bari on Sunday. "The fans' whistles are deserved. We're having a hard time imposing our game and they want to see a better show," Leonardo said. "We've got to control the ball better and be more aggressive."
Kaka's departure to Real is starting to weigh heavily on Milan, with Ronaldinho out of form and unable to take over the playmaker mantle. "Any game could be the one that becomes the turning point," Galliani said. "Let's let [Leonardo] do his job." Milan beat Zurich twice, 4-1 on aggregate, in the first round of last season's Uefa Cup. It has been all downhill for the coach Bernard Challandes since the Real defeat.
A simmering dispute between Challandes and the midfielder Almen Abdi came to a head on Monday with an announcement the Kosovo-born Swiss international, 22, who scored 19 goals last season, will join Serie A team Udinese for 2010. * With agencies