Mario Balotelli fails from the spot.
Mario Balotelli fails from the spot.Reuters

Italian giants AC Milan will look to avoid the possible potholes set to be provided by Celtic when the two sides meet in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Milan and Celtic have been drawn in a tough group along with Barcelona and Ajax and all the teams in the group will know that they cannot afford to drop points if they hold visions of qualifying for the last-16.

Massimiliano Allegri, the Milan manager, is expecting a physical game against Celtic at the San Siro.

"This is the first game of the UEFA Champions League group stage -- it is an important match and we face a physical and dangerous team," he said. "It will certainly be a great game, a tough match, but I'm comforted by the fact there'll be at least 50,000 fans there.

"We have to look for the win while trying to be solid defensively as a team, as these are three important points for the group that we're in. We have to get through the group stage.

"UEFA Champions League games are different from Serie A ones. Results are not only down to us but also the quality of the opponents. Barcelona are the strongest team in the group. We have to compete for points with Celtic and Ajax. It will not be easy -- in Europe it never is."

Celtic were eliminated by an Italian side - Juventus - last season in the last-16 and manager Neil Lennon is determined to do at least one better this time around.

"I feel good, I'm glad to be here," the Scot said. "Our elimination last season has given us the motivation to do even better. There is some pressure but it will help us do well, it will make us more competitive. It's a difficult group but it will be a positive experience, I'm sure.

"The experience last season has certainly helped us. But now it is important to focus on the game -- we have to think about Milan."

Team News: Milan have a bit of an injury crisis with Kaka, who signed for the Italian club from Real Madrid in the summer, joining the likes of Riccardo Montolivo, Stephan El-Shaarawy, Ignazio Abate and Mattia De Sciglio on the sidelines.

Celtic are fretting over the fitness of Joe Ledley, while James Forrest and Steven Mouyokolo are definitely ruled out.

Where to watch

The game is scheduled for a kickoff on Thursday morning (12.15 am IST) while the match is not set for a Live telecast. 

Expected lineups: Milan: Abbiati; Zapata, Mexes, Zaccardo, Emanuelson; Nocerino, De Jong, Muntari; Robinho, Matri, Balotelli.

Celtic: Forster; Lustig, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown, Mulgrew; Samaras, Commons, Boerrigter; Stokes.

Prediction: 1-1