Thursday Feb 13, 2020. 13:00
AC Milan will pin their hopes on Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer when they take on Juventus on Thursday night.
The two heavyweights of Italian football are scheduled to clash in this season’s Coppa Italia semi-final first-leg match at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
African duo of Kessie and Bennacer are set to keep their spots as the midfield pairing after starting in the Derby Della Madonnina against Inter Milan last weekend.
Kessie, 23, remains an important player for the Red and Blacks having made 21 appearances across all competitions and netted once this season under coach Stefano Pioli.
The Ivorian player, who is known for his physical qualities which he uses to outmuscle his opponents, was heavily linked with English giants Arsenal FC last month, but Milan managed to retain his services.
His partnership with Bennacer has been impressive as they look to inspire the 18-time Serie A champions to their maiden major trophy since 2016.
Bennacer, 22, has done very well in his debut season with Milan having featured in 19 matches across all competitions including two appearances in the Coppa Italia.
His versatility makes him an important player in the Red and Blacks team as he can operate as a defensive midfielder and offensive midfielder, and he is also blessed with impressive vision and technique.
The Algeria international has indeed continued the form he displayed at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Egypt where he was named Player of the Tournament.
Bennacer and Kessie will have to dominate the midfield battle against the accomplished duo of Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi, who are both expected to start for Juventus.
This would enable the likes of Hakan Calhanoglu, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rafael Leao to focus on creating and scoring goals for Milan and help the team overcome the Italian champions.