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AC Milan-Zenit features tense Tuscan reunion

Associated Press Modified: October 2, 2012 at 6:47 am •  Published: October 2, 2012
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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — It will be a tense Tuscan reunion when former teammates-turned-coaches Massimiliano Allegri and Luciano Spalletti meet Wednesday in the Champions League.

Seven-time champion AC Milan has won only two of seven matches in all competitions, putting Allegri's job on the line. Zenit St. Petersburg coach Spalletti is among those being floated as a possible replacement.

Allegri and Spalletti played together 30 years ago with Serie D side Cuoiopelli. Both coaches are from Tuscany, and they were born 80 kilometers (50 miles) apart, in Livorno and Certaldo, respectively.

Russia coach and former Milan manager Fabio Capello will likely be at the Petrovski stadium to watch his former squad meet many of his current players.

In the other Group C match, Anderlecht hosts Malaga.

Malaga leads the group with three points after beating Zenit 3-0 in its opener. Anderlecht and Milan are next with one each after drawing 0-0.

Anderlecht is seeking its first home win in the Champions League in nine years, and the Belgian side should face a tough test in Malaga, which is unbeaten and in third place in the Spanish league.

Malaga also beat Panathinaikos in the playoffs to reach the group stage. Against Zenit, under-21 Spain midfielder Isco scored twice.

In Serie A, Milan has just two wins in six matches. After giving up the lead in a 1-1 draw at Parma on Saturday, Allegri has come under more pressure.

"Allegri is not up for discussion, but any manager needs to put up results," Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said.

Milan is struggling to overcome the loss of an entire squad's worth of top players, including the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, who both bolted for Paris Saint-Germain. Stalwarts Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf also left.

A couple bright spots for Milan have been teenage striker Stephen El Shaarawy, who has scored four goals in the last three league matches, and 22-year-old Spanish forward Bojan Krkic.

Giampaolo Pazzini scored a hat trick against Bologna a month ago but has been bothered by injuries since then. He could return against Zenit, with the Milan derby four days later.

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