Battle for the Group Stage
AC Milan take on PSV in the UEFA Champions League Play-off Second Leg tonight and both sets of fans are on the edge of a mental breakdown. Given the importance of the tie, in terms of both finance and pride, it might not be too far fetched to believe that the players feel much the same way.
Nevertheless, these two teams will give it their all in the time that remains. The teams seemed evenly matched last week when the game was played in the Netherlands but it is hard to imagine how this young PSV side will cope with what might very well be a capacity crowd at the San Siro tonight. It’s hard to predict how 80,000 strong shouting at the top of their voices can affect the game.
There will be certain areas of the game that will inevitably decide the contest and here we try and examine these match-ups.
Tim Matavz vs Milan Central Defence
AC Milan’s central defence pairing of Phillipe Mexes and Cristian Zapata has solidified over the last year but can still offer up certain loopholes that might be easy for the young forward to exploit. Another cause for concern for Milan is the aerial ability of the Slovenian international which might bother the susceptible pairing, after all, Milan did concede most goals from set pieces last term.
Stephan El Sharaawy vs Joshua Brenet
If Milan score early on then expect this to becomes just one of those nights for young right full back Joshu Brenet. We have already seen how potent il Faraone is, given even the tiniest bit of space and it will be the young Dutch full back’s job to keep check on the Italian international.
Nigel De Jong vs Adam Maher
This will be a real test for the young Dutch international. Given De Jong’s reputation for breaking up play and providing cover to the back four, it will be imperative for Maher to break down the World Cup runner up. On the other hand, if De Jong successfully stifles the creative midfielder than the entire game might just be a formality and we might just see Milan run away with it.
It will be tightly contested affair in the San Siro tonight and unlike the first leg, PSV won’t be able to control the rhythm of the game with their slick passing. The crowd and the pitch will play a huge part and might just act as the 12th man for the Italian side. Both teams will give it their all in pursuit for that spot in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage.