EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS - Seven time Champions League winners AC Milan have the unenviable task of facing PSV, who have won their opening three games in the Eredivisie, for a place in the Champions League group stages. It was arguably the toughest draw for the rossoneri as this game wouldn't look out of place at the business end of the tournament.
The bookmakers are not quite sure how to price up this first leg match. AC Milan are considered slight favourites to leave Holland with a victory and you can pick up a top price of 2.75 with BetVictor, it's as short at 2.50 elsewhere. While some firms consider the Dutch outfit favourites. PSV backers can find an industry best price of 2.80 with Boylesports and the draw is widely available at 3.40 with BetVictor among others.
PSV manager Phillip Cocu will be after revenge as he was part of the losing PSV side back in 2005. The Italian's won the tie on away goals 3-3 and went on to reach the final that year. But Cocu will be confident of his side's chances of springing an early season surprise.
Despite the Eredivise runners-up selling their top stars over the summer (Pieters, Martens and Strootman) they have ready-made replacement ready to step-up. Belgian 17 year-old Zakaria Bakkali has been sensational already this season, the right winger has scored five goals in four appearances, one in the previous round against SV Zlute Waregem and a hat-trick in the Eredivisie against NEC - becoming the youngest ever player to score three goals in a Dutch league game.
PSV's team has an exciting, youthful feel about it and Bakkali, who was rested at the weekend, epitomises the energy and hunger Cocu has instilled into his side and I confident the Dutch side will get some kind of result this evening. Both sides would be happy with a draw and the 1-1 result at 7.50 with BetVictor looks like great value.
AC Milan have yet to kick a competitive football this season and could really do without a trip to The Phillips Stadium with so much at stake. Nevertheless, the rossoneri have the talent and class at their disposal it's a just a case of how fit the players. Indications suggest Mario Balotelli will start the game and he is favourite to open the scoring at 6.50 with BetVictor, for an outside punt you may want to consider the PSV starlet Bakkali who is chalked up at 10.0 with Skybet - as always with first goal scorer bets, check the team news prior to kick off.
Goals have been backed in the lead up to kick off and I agree with the trend. Both Teams to Score looks a decent bet at 1.70 with Bwin and Skybet. PSV have scored 11 goals in three league games and the Italian giants have enough talent and firepower to snatch that crucial away goal.
It should an entertaining an end-to-end game, it's just a shame one of these teams will be knocked out at such an early stage of the competition.
The game kicks off at 7:45 p.m. BST on Tuesday 20th August 2013 and is live on Sky Sports 1.
Mark Smith's bets on this game