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AC Milan take huge step towards final
Simon Evans | April 27, 2005 02:25 IST
Last Updated: April 27, 2005 02:44 IST
AC Milan beat PSV Eindhoven 2-0 in their Champions League semi-final, first leg on Tuesday with a first half goal from Andriy Shevchenko and a last minute strike from substitute Jon Dahl Tomasson, giving the Italians a great chance of a place in the final.
Shevchenko gave Milan the lead after 42 minutes at the San Siro when he latched on to a through ball from Kaka and outpaced Wilfred Bouma before firing past PSV's Gomes from 10 metres.
Danish striker Tomasson wrapped up the victory in the last minute after PSV seemed to have done enough to give themselves a strong chance in next Wednesday's second leg in Eindhoven.
PSV created a number of openings in their impressive performance and made it tough for Milan but Tomasson's late strike leaves Milan favourites to reach the final in Istanbul on May 25.
It was Milan's seventh successive Champions League match without conceding a goal -- a new record for the competition --but without the suspended Alessandro Nesta their defence was uncharacteristically shaky against a pacey PSV attack.
Milan made a positive start and Shevchenko had a chance in the second minute when skipper Paolo Maldini picked him out with a diagonal, cross-field pass but the Ukrainian shot meekly at PSV's Brazilian keeper Heurelho Gomes.
Clarence Seedorf and Hernan Crespo both forced saves out of Gomes during an intense spell of opening pressure from Carlo Ancelotti's side.
WARNING THREAT But they soon got a warning of the threat that PSV pose on the break when Peruvian striker Jefferson Farfan tested Dida with a low shot that the Milan keeper uncomfortably fumbled out.
Farfan then showed his pace with a darting run that took him past Milan's Dutch former PSV defender Jaap Stam and goalward but he could only scuff a harmless shot. The pace of South Korean Ji-Sung Park and American DaMarcus Beasley were causing Milan's defence some problems but the Italians soon got off the back foot and restored their control over the game.
Brazilian Kaka, looking close to the impressive form of his first season in European football, burst through from midfield and had a shot well saved in the 31st minute and then shortly after he produced another, more powerful strike from the edge of the area which forced Gomes to full stretch.
It was Kaka who was then behind Milan's breakthrough, opting for a direct ball over the top to Shevchenko who outpaced Bouma and coolly slotted past Gomes to give Milan the advantage at the break.
Guus Hiddink's Dutch side were unaffected by the setback though and made a positive start to the second half with Dida again failing to keep hold of a shot from South Korean left-back Lee Young-Pyo and then his compatriot Park shot straight at the Milan keeper after being slipped in by Beasley.
Milan's forward excursions were becoming increasingly rare but they almost grabbed a precious second goal when Shevchenko lobbed Gomes with a superbly weighted shot after a smart chest down but the PSV keeper recovered to pull off an acrobatic save.
Still the pressure was coming from PSV and Mark van Bommel wasted a good chance in the 66th minute when he blasted over from a tight angle after a misplaced pass from Kakha Kaladze had let him in.
Two minutes later and another chance went begging for the Dutch side with Farfan drilling across the Milan area but the dangerous Park could only poke wide from close range.
After all that pressure Milan were prioritising denying the Dutch an away goal but in the final moments, cruelly for PSV, they snatched the potentially vital second.
Kaka's shot struck Phillip Cocu and fell kindly to Tomasson inside the area and he did well to hook it past Gomes and leave Hiddink's team with a huge task for next week's return, although they will be without Andre Ooijer, suspended after picking up a disqualifying yellow card.