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Balotelli leads Milan rescue mission in Madrid

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AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf recalled Mario Balotelli to the starting line-up for the first time in four games for his side's Champions League last 16, second leg away to Atletico Madrid.

Balotelli was forced off with a shoulder injury in Atletico's 1-0 win in the first leg three weeks ago and has only made a brief appearance as a substitute in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Udinese since.

The Italian international will be supported by captain Kaka, who makes his return to the Spanish capital after a disappointing four-year spell with Atletico's rivals Real Madrid.

For the hosts, David Villa started on the bench despite scoring twice in Atletico's 2-0 win over Celta Vigo at the weekend.

Diego Costa, who scored the winner at the San Siro in the first leg, Diego Godin and Arda Turan all return to the side after being suspended against Celta.

Starting line-ups

Atletico Madrid (4-4-2)

Thibaut Courtois; Juanfran, Diego Godin, Miranda, Filipe Luis; Koke, Gabi (capt), Mario Suarez, Arda Turan; Raul Garcia, Diego Costa

AC Milan (4-2-3-1)

Christian Abbiati; Ignazio Abate, Daniele Bonera, Adil Rami, Urby Emmanuelson; Michael Essien, Nigel de Jong; Andrea Poli, Kaka (capt), Adel Taarabt; Mario Balotelli

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (ENG)

AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf recalled Mario Balotelli to the starting line-up for the first time in four games for his side’s Champions League last 16, second leg away to Atletico Madrid.

Balotelli was forced off with a shoulder injury in Atletico’s 1-0 win in the first leg three weeks ago and has only made a brief appearance as a substitute in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Udinese since.

The Italian international will be supported by captain Kaka, who makes his return to the Spanish capital after a disappointing four-year spell with Atletico’s rivals Real Madrid.

For the hosts, David Villa started on the bench despite scoring twice in Atletico’s 2-0 win over Celta Vigo at the weekend.

Diego Costa, who scored the winner at the San Siro in the first leg, Diego Godin and Arda Turan all return to the side after being suspended against Celta.

Starting line-ups

Atletico Madrid (4-4-2)

Thibaut Courtois; Juanfran, Diego Godin, Miranda, Filipe Luis; Koke, Gabi (capt), Mario Suarez, Arda Turan; Raul Garcia, Diego Costa

AC Milan (4-2-3-1)

Christian Abbiati; Ignazio Abate, Daniele Bonera, Adil Rami, Urby Emmanuelson; Michael Essien, Nigel de Jong; Andrea Poli, Kaka (capt), Adel Taarabt; Mario Balotelli

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (ENG)

AFP
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