Milan 3, PSV 0: Decisive

In a game where everything was on the line, for once, Milan left nothing to chance. After the anxiety felt worldwide for weeks or even months, our boys came through in a big way and proved their Champions League worth at home at the San Siro in front of 50,000 fans. They weren’t perfect, there were errors, but they did keep a clean sheet, and silenced the PSV fans in the best way possible: with 3 goals. Decisive.

You've earned it, boys. 

Boateng struck first. After last season, where he took 92 shots in Serie A to score 2 goals, more than any other player in all of Serie A, the numbers finally caught up with him. So in the 9th minute, on a pass from Montolivo, he used the gravitational pull of the earth to keep it low and slot it past the keeper on the right hand side. 1-0 Milan.

After holding off PSV’s dangerous attacks, it was Balotelli who scored next, in the 55th minute. 2-0 Milan. Balotelli was his usual dangerous self, getting fouled, but both creating and making chances. My ridiculously biased and uninformed commentators went back and forth calling him a diving cheater to worshipping his sublime moves, like the exquisite backheel pass he sent El Shaarawy’s way in the 27th. Those of us who know Balotelli better know that the sublime is closer to the truth.

The man of the hour

The nail in the coffin for PSV would also make a brace for Kevin Prince Boateng in the 77th. 3-0 Milan. So great that he stepped up when it counted, particularly that he was able to match his Serie A goal record last season in just one match. To the passing fan, they might have even believed that he deserved to wear the number on his jersey. Well done. Now if we could get all of last season back when he also wore that number, and was only worthy of one of the 2 digits. (hint, it wasn’t the "1". And yes, I did just hate on the “star” of the match. Deal with it.)

I thought El Shaarawy was tremendous on the night. Poor Zoet probably has PTESD: Post Traumatic El Shaarawy Disorder. Our little Pharaoh kept running right at him and had a number of great chances that Zoet or his defenders managed to shut down. He really could and should have had a goal, particularly after his shot in the 32nd hit the inside of the crossbar and came back down, but didn’t go in. It was a shame, especially once he was subbed off for Poli in the 74th.

"Se saltelli segna Balotelli..."

Montolivo was hit and miss for me on the night. He misplaced a few passes, and when he tangled up with Schaars in the 42nd, he got up and was screaming at him, not something Milan’s captain should be doing over a little tussle. He was also awarded a yellow card for this, which was less than ideal. But he had the assist in the first goal, a couple of shots from distance that went just wide, and improved as the game went on. I just worry that he is becoming his old, inconsistent self again.

De Jong was absolutely brilliant. He showed how very much he was missed not only on Saturday at Verona, but all of last season. His fantastic passing and excellent work ethic and grinta make such a tremendous difference in the midfield. We cannot afford to have him injured. Ever again.

Abate and Mexes were solid, and Zapata did well, despite a couple of stray clearances, etc. that made fans anxiety raise to pre-game levels. Abbiati was his typical beastly self, sometimes keeping us in the game singlehandedly. De Sciglio impressed my uneducated commentators, but he put in a fantastic performance for those of us who know what to expect. When Poli subbed on, he impressed, too, other than earning a yellow card in the 80th. Which leaves us Milan fans drooling for what might be if Allegri could trust the young players a little more.

Abbiati letting it all hang out after another great performance

Speaking of young players, Mister Inzaghi, who helped secure Milan’s last Champions League trophy, was at the San Siro with his Primavera squad and staff to watch this joyous occasion. It must have been hard for him to simply watch, and have the fate of not only his former team, but his young team also hanging in the balance. But with the victory, the first team also secured the Primavera’s spot in the new UEFA youth league this season. They will play the youth teams of whichever teams we draw in the group stages.

I will spare the tirade on Allegri’s substitutions, except that if Balotelli turns up injured after he went down in the 72nd with a knock to his knee and wasn’t subbed off, then my wrath shall know no limitations. And I have to hand it to Allegri, despite doing the same things he’s always done, he was able to get a positive result. Well done, Mister.

Milan have qualified. It wasn’t pretty getting here, but we clawed our way to where we are supposed to be. Celebrate and enjoy this moment, the one so many of us feared would not come this season.

Congratulations for a team effort and a victory for Milan fans everywhere

And now we have a whole new set of problems. With just a few days left until Galliani Day™, or the end of the mercato, Allegri has requested another striker, specifically the €10-12m Matri from Juve, who was his pet and star when he was at Cagliari, but would be very expensive surplus at Milan. There are so many rumors, it is difficult to sift through what is true, but with Ljajic gone to Roma and no word on Honda, I would prefer to plug my ears and just cry until all of the transfer fodder settles and try to make the best of whatever happens.

Tempting fate

The more pressing concern is the Champions League Group Stage Draw, being held tomorrow, Thursday in Monaco at 17:45 CEST (11:45 EDT) As of this time tomorrow, we'll have a whole new set of problems to worry about. The rules for the draw are here. And here are the pots (Milan are in Pot 2):

Pot One: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Arsenal, FC Porto, Benfica.

Pot Two: Atletico Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, AC Milan, Schalke, Marseille, CSKA Moscow, PSG, Juventus

Pot Three: Zenit, Man City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, Basel, Olympiakos, Galatasaray, Leverkusen

Pot Four: FC Copenhagen, Napoli, Anderlecht, Celtic, Steaua Bucuresti, Viktoria Plzen, Real Sociedad, Austria Vienna

And the draw.... Milan are in Group H with Barcelona, Ajax, and Celtic

The rest of the groups as drawn....

Forza Milan!

This post inspired by the music of Inno Milan

Our next match is
Milan vs. Cagliari
Sunday, September 1 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)

Milan 3, PSV 0: Decisive Milan 3, PSV 0: Decisive Reviewed by Elaine on 3:51 PM Rating: 5
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