Bale to miss Milan game

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Bale to miss Milan game Empty Bale to miss Milan game

Post by ADMIN on Mon 14 Feb 2011, 7:56 pm

Gareth Bale will sit out Tottenham's Champions League last-16 first-leg match against AC Milan on Tuesday after failing to recover from a back injury.

The Welshman, who has been a revelation for Spurs in the past year, did not travel with the squad to Italy on Monday despite hopes he might be fit.

That will mean another chance for the rejuvenated Niko Kranjcar, while Rafael van der Vaart (calf) will also play.

Peter Crouch (back) is a doubt, though, as is Luka Modric (appendicitis).

It means boss Harry Redknapp's side could line up at the San Siro with something resembling a skeleton first XI, with long-term absentees Tom Huddlestone, Ledley King and Younes Kaboul, as well as the suspended Jermaine Jenas, also unavailable.

Serie A leaders AC Milan will be without ineligible January signings Antonio Cassano, Mark van Bommel and Urby Emanuelson.

That would mean coach Massimiliano Allegri deploying a three-man front line of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Alexandre Pato, with few attacking options on the bench and key midfield duo Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini also out through injury.

But Bale's absence, in particular, is a big blow to Redknapp's plans - especially following the left-sided player's demolition of Inter Milan earlier in the season.

Despite losing 4-3, Tottenham fought back from 4-0 down on their last visit to the San Siro thanks to a Bale hat-trick, and the 21-year-old produced another man-of-the-match performance when AC's cross-city rivals Inter visited White Hart Lane as the Londoners secured an outstanding 3-1 win.

"I'd like to be able to scare Milan and say he's going to be available, but he's not," said Redknapp on Sunday. "He's struggling to get over this back injury.

"The specialists don't see too much of a problem there. There's nothing that should keep him out too long... [but] we've got to make sure he's right. He's a young lad and he's very important. He's got a great future in front of him.

[Sandro] will be playing, for sure, because I've only got two central midfielders [alongside Wilson Palacios]

Harry Redknapp

''On Sunday morning, when the fitness coaches started to push him a bit, he couldn't go on. He doesn't feel he's ready to play. We've got to take our time and make sure he's right when he comes back."

Modric, too, looks unlikely to play, with Redknapp admitting: "He trained on Sunday morning and felt a bit better again but to push him back into it would be difficult. He's not quite up to speed yet."

And that will mean a start for Brazilian Sandro. The 21-year-old was not even named in Tottenham's 25-man Champions League squad for the group stages.

"[Sandro] will be playing, for sure, because I've only got two central midfielders [alongside Wilson Palacios]," said Redknapp. "We've got to wrap them in cotton wool and they'll be playing."

Tottenham qualified for the last 16 after finishing top of Group A, pushing Inter Milan down into second and knocking out FC Twente and Werder Bremen, while finished AC Milan finished second in Group G behind winners Real Madrid.

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