AC Milan v Celtic: Champions League key battles

Late drama in Glasgow secured Celtic's Champions League qualification. Photo: PA

Celtic take on AC Milan in their first Champions League Group H game at the San Siro on Wednesday night. Here, we take a look at the key battles that could decide the outcome.

MARIO BALOTELLI v VIRGIL VAN DIJK

Summer signing Van Dijk has taken some time to settle but he has shown flashes of talent and class in defence and also promises to be a goal threat. However, it will be his defensive duties that will be put to the test against the enigmatic Balotelli. The former Manchester City player has undoubted talent and also has the ability to come up with something special just when he looks at his most disinterested.

SULLEY MUNTARI v SCOTT BROWN

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has been thrilled with the form of skipper Brown. Free from the injuries of last season, the Scotland midfielder has been at his driving best for club and country. It will take an equally hard-working 90 minutes to impose himself against the AC Milan midfield, in which Muntari will feature. With Kaka out injured against Celtic, former Portsmouth and Sunderland man Muntari staked his claim for a place with a late goal in the 2-2 draw against Torino on Saturday.

PHILIPPE MEXES v ANTHONY STOKES

Stokes has started the season in blistering form for Celtic. The Irishman scored his fourth goal of the campaign in the 3-0 Scottish Premiership win over Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday while also brilliantly setting up Teemu Pukki for a debut goal. Mexes has seen a number of his fellow defenders drop out through injury so there is much responsibility on the experienced France defender.