AFP via Getty Images

AC Milan's 'leaked' starting XI v Newcastle United as Stefano Pioli drops £18m man - gallery

AC Milan expected starting XI to face Newcastle United in the Champions League tonight.

Newcastle United and AC Milan face each other at St James' Park this evening - and both are in with a shout of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages.

The Group F permutations are simple. Newcastle must beat Milan and hope Paris Saint-Germain drop points away to Borussia Dortmund.

But regardless of PSG's result, avoiding defeat against the Italian giants will at least guarantee a place in the Europa League. Lose, and United drop out of Europe for the second-half of the campaign altogether.

Milan too have everything to play for. If they win and PSG lose in Germany, then it will be Stefano Pioli's side who clinch second spot in the group. A win on Tyneside will see them leapfrog Eddie Howe's men into third.

Milan have a problem at the heart of the defence with former Chelsea man Fiyako Tomori the only fit centre-back.

The hope was Simon Kjaer would return but the Denmark international reportedly trained separately on Sunday, making him unlikely to even make the bench. Milan's other central defender options Malick Thiaw, Pierre Kalulu and Mattia Caldara are also unavailable through injury.

Pioli, however, is boosted by the return of key man Rafael Leao.

Here's AC Milan 'leaked' starting XI v Newcastle - based on reports in Italy.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.