NEWCASTLE make their return to the Champions League TODAY after 20 long years away.
The headline team news from the San Siro is that Eddie Howe has handed starts to Alexander Isak and Jacob Murphy in attack.
Sandro Tonali also starts in midfield as he takes on his boyhood club for the first time since his big-money move to St James’ Park.
- Kick off time: 5.45pm BST
- TV channel: TNT Sports 1
- Live stream: discovery+
- AC Milan team: Maignan, Theo, Thiaw, Tomori, Calabria, Krunic, Pobega, Loftus-Cheek, Chukwueze, Leao, Giroud
- Newcastle team: Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Guimaraes, Longstaff, Tonali, Murphy, Gordon, Isak
MILAN VS NEWCASTLE: CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FREE BETS
Stay up to date with all the action from the San Siro…
Toon’s Tonali faces former club
Eddie Howe makes three changes for his first ever match in the Champions League.
The Newcastle boss has reinstated Sandro Tonali for an emotional reunion at his former club with the Italian international replacing Elliot Anderson in midfield.
Up top, Alexander Isak has got the nod ahead of Callum Wilson while Jacob Murphy takes over from Harvey Barnes on the wing.
Kieran Trippier captains the Toon while Nick Pope will keep goal behind his usual back four.
Newcastle (4-3-3): 22 Pope; 2 Trippier, 5 Schar, 4 Botman, 33 Burn; 36 Longstaff, 39 Guimaraes, 8 Tonali; 23 Murphy, 14 Isak, 10 Gordon
Substitutes: 18 Karius, 84 Harris, 3 Dummett, 6 Lascelles, 9 Wilson, 13 Targett, 15 Barnes, 20 Hall, 21 Livramento, 24 Almiron, 32 Anderson, 67 Miley
Tomori and Loftus-Cheek start for Milan
Stefano Pioli threatened to ring the changes after his side were walloped by Inter in the Milan derby at the weekend.
As it is, the Italian boss makes just three switches with one new player coming into the defence, midfield and attack.
At the back, Malick Thiaw comes in for Simon Kjaer, Tommaso Pobega replaces Tijjani Reijnders in the middle of the park while Samuel Chukwueze is favoured over Christian Pulisic up front.
Former Premier League stars Fikayo Tomori, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Olivier Giroud line up for a Rossoneri side captained by Davide Calabria.
AC Milan (4-3-3): 16 Maignan; 2 Calabria, 23 Tomori, 28 Thiaw, 19 Hernandez; 8 Loftus-Cheek, 33 Runic, 32 Pobega; 21 Chukwueze, 9 Giroud, 10 Leao
Substitutes: 57 Sportiello, 83 Mirante, 7 Adli, 11 Pulisic, 14 Reijnders, 15 Jovic, 17 Okafor, 24 Kjaer, 42 Florenzi, 80 Musah, 95 Bartesaghi
Group stage not a sprint
Should Newcastle begin the group stage with a defeat this evening, then their long-suffering followers will be able to play the role of the voice of reason.
And that’s because those around in 2002-03 – the last season that Newcastle played in the Champions League – will recall that nothing is settled on matchday one.
Back then, the Toon last their opening three fixtures in Group E yet still recovered to qualify for the second group stage (yes, that’s right, kids).
The epic comeback that saw them beat Juventus, Dynamo Kyiv and Feyenoord meant they became the first ever club to lose their opening three Champions League group matches yet still progress to the next round.
Only Atalanta in 2019-20 have repeated the feat since.
Bookies unable to split sides
Newcastle are back in the Champions League for the first time in 20 years, but the bookmakers are undecided as to whether they will begin their group campaign with a win, chalking them up at the exact same price as AC Milan. The draw is the outsider of the three outcomes.
- AC Milan win 17/10
- Draw 21/10
- Newcastle win 17/10
Odds from Paddy Power correct at time of post publication.
Another Italian job for Toon
Newcastle United arrive in Milan this evening hoping to create more Italian memories for their fans.
The Toon won their last European away game against Serie A opposition, beating Palermo 1-0 in the 2006-07 UEFA Cup.
Alberto Luque scored the only goal, although that was as good as it got for the £9m striker during his time at St James’ Park.
But the Spaniard has his place in Newcastle history; until that point, the Magpies had failed to win any of their first four visits to Italy (D2 L2).
How to watch tonight’s action
AC Milan vs Newcastle will be broadcast LIVE on TNT Sports 1, with coverage starting from 5pm BST.
TNT Sports customers can live stream all the action via the discovery+ app or website.
Alternatively, you can stay right here and keep up to date with all the action via SunSport’s live blog.
Toon army takeover Milan
The Geordies have travelled in numbers to witness Newcastle’s return to the Champions League after 20 years away.
What have the managers said?
“We always live in hope that if we produce our best performance, we can beat anybody,” Howe said over the weekend.
“I do believe that. Bringing that A-game, bringing that to the table at the very highest level, isn’t easy but I back the players and I know if we can reach that level, we can be a match for any team.”
Meanwhile, Pioli added: “We had a lot of faith and positivity for the derby but it didn’t go well, there’s no point hiding it.
“It was a big disappointment, but we have the Champions League and that is good as it’s the only way to switch.”
What is the early team news?
Newcastle will still have to do without influential midfielder Joe Willock on Tuesday night.
The 24-year-old has been struggling with an Achilles issue and isn’t expected back until next month at the earliest.
Howe is also set to be without Joelinton for his first Champions League match as a manager, while Emil Krafth is a long-term absentee.
Defender Pierre Kalulu missed Saturday’s collapse against Inter for AC Milan and is set to be out once again against the Toon.
His centre-back partner Fikayo Tomori will return, however, having been ruled out of the Inter clash by suspension.
Midfielder Ismael Bennacer is a long-term absentee having undergone knee surgery in May.
It will be a big night for Sandro Tonali, meanwhile, with the midfielder making a quick return to the club he left for Newcastle in the summer.
The midfielder has already grabbed his first goal for the Toon, while he has also created three chances and made four tackles.
AC Milan will be hoping that Rafael Leao can be the star of the show when Newcastle come to town on Tuesday night.
The Portuguese livewire has already grabbed two goals and an assist in four games this term – while creating seven chances.
Welcome to AC Milan vs Newcastle
Newcastle end their 20-year Champions League absence TODAY against serial winners AC Milan – and SunSport will have minute-by-minute coverage.
Magpies fans will have the hairs standing up on the backs of their necks as the Champions League’s iconic anthem is blasted out as the sun sets around Milan.
And they’ll have water on their stomachs too after fans were spotted sliding through the Milan streets.
While Newcastle are new to this level, Milan have been steadily improving in Europe under Stefano Pioli.
Last season they were able to escape a group featuring Chelsea, Red Bull Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb.
They subsequently managed to make it all the way to the semi-finals, toppling Tottenham in North London and Italian champions-elect Napoli on their way.
This is bound to be an extremely competitive group, with Paris Saint-Germain hosting Borussia Dortmund across Europe in its other match on Tuesday night.
So every game really matters, and Newcastle will be desperate to come away from Milan with something.
Stay tuned as coming up is all the latest news and team selection before the big kick-off at 5:45pm BST.
Source: Soccer - thesun.co.uk