PSV 3, Milan 0: Final Blow

Milan traveled to Eindhoven for a well-intentioned final friendly of the year in preparation for the return of Serie A on Wednesday. However, instead of looking polished and ready to take on all four competitions, they looked as sickly as their split pea soup puke kits. PSV were as explosive as their surprising pyrotechnics before and after the match, and took full advantage of Milan's inability to function as they dealt them a 3-0 final blow to end our intense year of 2022.

There is only so much these two can do with no budget.

Much was written in the media about who Pioli would line up. Missing Ibrahimović, Florenzi, Maignan, Origi, Messias, and Krunić to injury, as well as Giroud and Theo Hernández due to international duty, he was still limited by absences. The one surprise was starting Mirante over Tatarusanu, something that seems like a desperation move now that Maignan is out for an extended period of time. In the end, his starting lineup was:

Mirante; Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Dest; Tonali, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, De Ketelaere, Adli; Rebić.

It only took about 30 seconds for PSV to put enough pressure to force Kalulu to make an error, allowing Vertessen to go one on one with Mirante, but gratefully, the PSV player choked dreadfully and sent it wide. However, it was just the beginning of PSV finding opportunity after opportunity, making it obvious that goals were coming. And not for Milan.

Mirante getting some time as a test?

The first goal came in the 8th minute, when Max put in a perfect cross for Til, who was left wide open to head the ball in, 1-0 PSV. Milan frantically tried to ward off the PSV attacks, including some very physical contact with zero cards from Mr. Lindhout, the Dutch referee. Mirante made a solid save in the 17th just before Adli was elbowed in the face, for example. But in the 21st, a brilliant strike from a very talented young Madueke made it 2-0 PSV.

Calabria, who had just returned from injury, was rugby-tackled in the 27th, taking a shoulder to the face. Still no cards. Rebić finally got a powerful shot off, but it went just wide. At the other end, when it seemed like everyone was beaten again, the much maligned De Ketelaere was exactly where he needed to be to make a headed goal line clearance.

Our captain is finally back, but he took a few knocks

Rebić got another shot off from distance, this time forcing Benitez into an axtual save. Milan were putting together a few attacks, albeit fairly weak. Dest had a shot saved, and Benitez grabbed a cross as well. The first half ended with PSV players sending a couple of shot well over the goal.

Pioli made one change at the half, bringing on Lazetić for Rebić. But he was not able to make an impact either, and in the 56th, Madueke scored another fantastic goal. 3-0 PSV. There was one team play where Milan were able to build up a chance to send Lazetić into the box in the 60th, but Benitez stopped him.

De Ketelaere had the surprise goal line clearance

In the 67th, Pioli subbed off everyone else besides Lazetić, bringing on literally ten new players. The new lineup was:

Tatarusanu; Thiaw, Kjaer, Gabbia, Ballo-Tourè; Bakayoko, Vranckx; Brahim Díaz, Pobega, Leão; and Lazetić.

In contrast, van Nistelrooy had his substitutions trickle on throughout the rest of the half, which was a frustrating display of few chances for either side. But plenty of physicality. Brahim Díaz had probably the best chance of the second half in the 83rd, but it was saved. A dangerous PSV free kick in the 89th was blocked by the wall, with the rebound sent over the top of goal.

Ballo-Touré played less than 25 minutes and still got injured.

The worst thing was that after such a physical match, you had to know that Milan would pick up at least one more injury. That injury would be a shoulder injury to Ballo-Touré, who came off in stoppage time and will be assessed tomorrow as to the severity. Not exactly how we wanted to head into the second part of the season, though.

Milan lost all three friendlies against foreign opposition over the break, with their only win vs. Serie D side Lumezzane. They were not alone, most Serie A sides fared poorly over the unprecedented winter break, even Napoli. But it is disconcerting to have had such poor results and still have so many injuries. As Kjaer pointed out in his postmatch interview, once Serie A kicks off, Milan will be playing every three days. A win or even a draw in this match would have been ideal for mentality alone. But unfortunately, PSV helped Milan end the year on a low note, as our poor performance and their excellent attack were the final blow.

This post inspired by the music of The Primitives' "Crash"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 16
Salernitana vs. Milan
Wednesday, January 4, 2023 • 12:30 CET (6:30am EST)

PSV 3, Milan 0: Final Blow PSV 3, Milan 0: Final Blow Reviewed by Elaine on 11:00 PM Rating: 5
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