PSV Eindhoven vs. AC Milan, final score 1-1: Milan grab an away goal in a fairly even match

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

These two evenly matched sides played out a fun first leg in Eindhoven, with Stephan El Shaarawy scoring in the first half for AC Milan and Tim Matavz heading in PSV's equalizer in the second.

AC Milan head into the second leg of their Champions League playoff tie with a crucial away goal, but an error from goalkeeper Christian Abbiati allowed PSV to score the equalizer.

When the match began it seemed that PSV would be the one to control the game's destiny. Right from the start the hosts had Milan on the back foot. The first attempt came before 60 seconds were out, with Adam Maher picking up a pass from Tim Matavz but placing the resulting shot just wide of the post. Another early shot saw their roles reversed, with Matavz going wide this time, as PSV found it all too easy to get behind the Milan defense.

More from our team blogAC Milan Offside

Yet it was the visitors that opened the scoring in Eindhoven. As the cross came in from the right, goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet turned his attention to Ignazio Abate. His backline, however, were nowhere to be found, and Stephan El Shaarawy was able to knock in a free header.

Less than a minute later, the PSV defense was in shambles once again. Fortunately for the Dutch side, the woodwork stepped in as the 12th man, blocking a shot from Mario Balotelli.

At that point, Milan seemed to think that one away goal was sufficient, and allowed PSV to go on the attack again and again. It was Maher that was the main threat, usually off a ball from Matavz. Christian Abbiati was kept on his toes blocking Maher's shots, and the woodwork on that end was called into question as well. After Abate lost the ball in midfield, Maher's excellent shot collided with the crossbar, but the Milan right back managed to get back in time to clear a shot from Memphis Depay off the line.

After the restart, Milan were back on the offensive, perhaps after Massimiliano Allegri explained that just one goal might not be enough considering the visitors' defensive abilities. But it was the rossoneri that were exposing the poor PSV defense, particularly on the left side, where El Shaarawy managed to get behind Jetro Willems again and again.

But, just like in the first half, it was the side that was put on the back foot that wound up getting the goal. Jeffrey Bruma sent in an absolute rocket from distance, which Abbiati was able to block. However, the goalkeeper was unable to control the ball, dumping it right in front of Matavz. The forward had no trouble heading in the equalizer.

PSV very nearly found a second goal in the 75th minute. Milan were again caught out by a flurry of activity inside the area, resulting in a blocked shot from substitute Florian Jozefzoon. The ball was knocked out for a corner, with the resulting kick falling to a completely unmarked Karim Rekik. The defender contrived to place his header well wide of Abbiati's goal, howver.

With five minutes left to play, Milan went on the counter after a bit of a blunder from Jozefzoon. Andrea Poli, making his first official appearance in a rossoneri kit, sent in a great shot, but Zoet was up to the challenge, making a great save. From there, desperation crept in. From a corner, Philippe Mexes took a shot at thin air, completely missing the ball. Then El Shaarawy managed to kick the ball at himself. So in the end, it wasn't that surprising when the match finished 1-1.

PSV Starting XI: Jeroen Zoet; Joshua Brenet, Jeffrey Bruma, Karim Rekik, Jetro Willems; Georginio Wijnaldum, Stijin Schaars, Adam Maher; Park Ji-Sung (Florian Jozefzoon 68), Tim Matavz (Jürgen Locadia 76), Memphis Depay

Goals: Matavz (60')

AC Milan Starting XI: Christian Abbiati; Ignazio Abate, Philippe Mexes, Cristian Zapata, Urby Emanuelson; Riccardo Montolivo, Nigel de Jong (Andrea Poli 78), Sulley Muntari; Kevin-Prince Boateng (M'Baye Niang 84), Mario Balotelli, Stephan El Shaarawy

Goals: El Shaarawy (15')

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