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Shevchenko wants to finish off PSV

Theo Ruizenaar in Eindhoven | May 03, 2005 15:22 IST

Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko has returned to form at just the right time to finish off PSV Eindhoven when the teams meet at the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven, Netherlands in their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.

The European Footballer of the Year drew first blood in the first leg before Jon Dahl Tomasson wrapped up a 2-0 win with a last minute goal that has put Milan in the driving seat.

The six-time European Cup winners travel to Eindhoven after a 2-1 Serie A victory at Fiorentina confirmed that European Footballer of the Year Shevchenko is back to full fitness.

With Milan trailing 1-0 at the break the Ukrainian, who has had a lengthy layoff with a broken cheekbone, struck twice to keep Milan level with Juventus at the top of Serie A.

They are fighting on two fronts as they seek to become only the third team to win a Serie A and Champions League double.

On the horizon is Sunday's showdown with Juve at the San Siro but before that they must dispose of a PSV side who can consider themselves very unfortunate to trail by two goals.

PSV, who won the European Cup for the only time in 1988, had much of the play at the San Siro last week and created a number of openings as South Korean Ji-Sung Park and captain Mark van Bommel went close but they just could not find the net.

"We're expecting it to be a battle in Eindhoven but we're used to those sort of games," said Shevchenko. "There is no alternative and we are happy to have games like this because we want to win everything."


Milan may be chasing a double but the Dutch champions are battling on three fronts with the domestic cup final to come later this month when they meet neighbours Willem II Tilburg.

Any hope of a treble relies on overturning the 2-0 deficit but PSV have twice recovered from a similar setback in Europe, albeit against lesser opponents than the Serie A leaders.

In 1976 PSV beat Hajduk Split 3-2 on aggregate in the European Cup quarter-finals before losing to Saint Etienne, while they beat East German side Vorwarts Oder by the same scoreline in the UEFA Cup first round in 1984.

However, Milan are the only Serie A team to have beaten PSV in Eindhoven in European competition, having won a Champions League group stage match 2-1 in the 1992/93 season before eventually losing 1-0 in the final to Olympique Marseille.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has a full squad to choose from including central defender Alessandro Nesta who is back after the suspension that saw him miss the first leg.

Nesta's absence was noticeable as Milan's defence struggled to cope with the pace of PSV's darting attacks and the Italian will likely partner Jaap Stam in central defence.

That would mean Paolo Maldini moving to left-back at the expense of Georgian Kakha Kaladze.

The other selection choice facing Ancelotti is whether to stick with two forwards or revert to a five-man midfield featuring Rui Costa.

Argentine striker Hernan Crespo has looked below par in recent weeks, although Tomasson would be a valid option if Ancelotti wants to play with two strikers.

PSV's American international winger DaMarcus Beasley is out with a shin injury picked up in Friday's 2-2 draw against Twente Enschede after a clash with Swede Daniel Majstorovic.

Fullback Andre Ooijer is suspended after a first-leg booking while central defender Wilfred Bouma, who came off at halftime in Milan with a back injury, is doubtful along with strikers Robert and Jefferson Farfan who have ankle problems.

The winners will play Chelsea or Liverpool in the final in Istanbul on May 25.

(Additional reporting by James Eve)


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