Champions League - El Shaarawy goal earns Milan draw at PSV

Champions League play-off tie first leg, Philips Stadion - PSV Eindhoven 1 (Matavz 60) AC Milan 1 (El Shaarawy, 15)

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AC Milan's Stephan El Shaarawy (Reuters)

Stephan El Shaarawy put Milan on course for the Champions League group stage with a headed opener in a 1-1 draw against PSV Eindhoven at the Philips Stadion.

PSV's young side made a vibrant start to the evening, but were undone on 15 minutes when MIlan - playing their first competitive match of the season - grabbed the lead as El Shaarawy headed home from close range from Ignazio Abate's cross with PSV badly exposed at the back.

The home side never lacked heart in front of a vociferous home support, and were level on the hour-mark. Visiting goalkeeper Christian Abbiati failed to hold a powerful drive by Jeffrey Bruma, and Tim Matavz followed up to nod into the net.

Both sides could have won it as play raged from end to end in a pulsating contest, but a draw was about the right outcome. Mario Balotelli saw an effort come back of the bar after El Shaarawy's opening goal while the brilliant Adam Maher cracked an effort off the underside of the Milan bar after skipping into the visiting box.

PSV must score at the San Siro in the return leg a week on Wednesday to keep alive their hopes of progress in the tournament.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Adam Maher (PSV) - A fine performance from the young midfielder. Little wonder PSV fans gave him a standing ovation at the end.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND PLAYER RATINGS

KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH: Italy striker Mario Balotelli started for Milan after missing Italy's friendly against Argentina last week through injury.

2' CHANCE FOR PSV Adam Maher knocks the shot wide of goal from eight yards out. Effort from Matavz but his team-mate tried to divert it home. Inches away with Abbiati going the wrong way.

13' MILAN GOAL! Stephan El Shaarawy rises to head into the net for Milan. Lovely move and a fine finish. Great cross from Abate.

15' ALMOST A SECOND Balotelli cracks an effort off the bar as Milan push for a second goal. Milan could easily be two to the good. Maher uncorks an effort from long range. Fine hit.

22' PSV RECOVER Abbiati dives to his left to nudge the ball wide of goal from a Maher shot. More fine play by PSV.

34' PSV HIT THE BAR Maher cracks a shot off the bar. Brilliant effort after a probing run. Abate then fouled as he headed over. Lovely stuff from Maher.

43' BALOTELLI NONSENSE Going to be a booking for Maher for a late one on Balotelli, who goes down like he has been shot.

60' PSV LEVEL Bruma's shot not held by Abbiati and Matavz follows up to nod home the rebound. 1-1 now. PSV back on level terms.

84' MILAN PRESSURE Chance then opens up for Poli. Plenty of power on the shot, but Zoet is alert to tip over the bar. Should have perhaps kept the effort down.

KEY STATS

This was AC Milan’s first competitive match of the season. The Italian side begin their Serie A campaign at Verona on Saturday.

The draw brings to an end PSV's five match winning run, but they remain unbeaten from six games so far this season.

PLAYER RATINGS

PSV: Zoet 6, Rekik 6, Bruma 7, Willems 6, Brenet 7, Maher 7, Schaars 7, Park Ji-Sung 6, Matavž 7, Wijnaldum 7, Depay 7.subs: Hiljemark 6, Locadia 7, Jozefzoon 7

Milan: Abbiati 7, Mexès 7, Zapata 7, Abate 7, Muntari 6, Boateng 6, Montolivo 6, Emanuelson 6, De Jong 6, Balotelli 6, El Shaarawy 7..subs: Poli 7, Niang 6

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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