Milan scrape through to final
By Alex Dunn. Last Updated: 04/05/05 7:05pm
Milan successfully negotiated their passage to the UEFA Champions League final despite being comprehensively beaten 3-1 on the night by PSV Eindhoven.
Massimo Ambrosini stole the tie for the Italian giants in the final minute with an away goal after Ji-Sung Park and Philip Cocu had earlier put PSV in deserved control.
Cocu netted in injury time to cause further palpitations on the Milan bench but ultimately, it will be Carlo Ancelotti that leads his side out in Istanbul against Liverpool.
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Five minutes later and Milan's veteran back four shared a look of even greater consternation when the busy Park finished off a move of his own creation.
Strong running in the middle of the field saw the talented South Korean play the ball into the feet of vennegoor of Hesselink and with the target man grappling with Jaap Stam, Park continued his run to dispatch the ball high past Dida from eight yards.
With Milan rattled, the Philips Stadion sensed an upset and just shy of the half hour mark, vennegoor of Hesselink threatened to take the roof off, but his glancing header from Mark van Bommel's excellent delivery came back off the bar.
As the half drew to its close, Cafu fired over in a rare Milan foray before Alex headed into the ground and over from another devilish van Bommel set piece.
A previously peripheral Kaka could have broken Dutch hearts in the final moments but saw his snapshot from close range brilliantly blocked by a sprawling tackle from compatriot Alex.
PSV were wasteful last week in the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza and within ten minutes of the restart their coach Guus Hiddink was again ruing opportunities squandered.
Park miskicked on the edge of Milan's box after van Bommel's clever dummy made space and then Wilfred Bouma's goal-bound effort was inadvertently blocked by Ambrosini.
When the jet heeled Young-Pyo Lee broke down the left his cross found Alex but leaning back, the free scoring stopper scooped the ball over.
Lee would prove the architect of PSV's second when in the 65th minute - after skinning Cafu - his sumptuous delivery from the byline was gleefully headed past Dida by an on-rushing Cocu six yards from goal.
With PSV in the ascendancy substitute Robert brought a decent save from Dida and from the resulting corner, Jefferson Farfan saw his hooked volley drift wide.
Then came Ambrosini's moment. Kaka went down the left and from his dinked cross the Italy international brushed his header past a previously redundant Gomes to send the Italians through.
PSV's resolve was such that even with their brave resistance broken they still managed to breach Milan's rearguard again, when Cocu took vennegoor of Hesselink's flick on the turn to rifle a brilliant volley past Dida; albeit in vain in what was the cruellest of games.
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|PSV Eindhoven||Team Statistics||Milan|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||2|
|7||Shots off Target||3|
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|1||Paris St Germain||6||13|
UEFA Champions League Group D
|3||FC Viktoria Plzen||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group E
|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||6|
UEFA Champions League Group H