AC Milan were denied three points as determined PSV Eindhoven held them to a goalless draw in their UEFA Champions League Group E tie at the San Siro.
The visitors endured a ferocious onslaught from last season's runners-up as the Rossoneri monopolised possession throughout. But despite creating a string of half-chances, Milan were unable to find a way past PSV goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
True to his word, Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti stuck with his new rotation policy, making five changes to the side that won on Sunday against Cagliari Calcio. Alberto Gilardino was dropped for Christian Vieri up front, while Filippo Inzaghi – just back from a five-month lay-off – began the night on the bench.
PSV coach Guus Hiddink, meanwhile, breathed easier with the news that Jefferson Farfán passed a late fitness test. The Peruvian was paired opposite DaMarcus Beasley in the channels, with Robert spearheading the Dutch team's three-man attack.
An eager-to-impress Vieri, still searching for his first goal in Rossoneri colours, nearly got on the scoresheet after just 120 seconds. The former FC Internazionale Milano marksman raced on to a Clarence Seedorf pass only to send his half-volley blazing over the crossbar.
In the opening period, PSV's striking options were stifled as they found themselves unable to release their lightning-quick forwards into space. But at the other end, the PSV back line did well to keep out Milan, exemplified by André Ooijer's ability to read the runs of Milan's front men.
With the hosts controlling play, an opening goal seemed close at hand and Andriy Shevchenko should have done better when Andrea Pirlo set him up with a raking long pass. But the Ukrainian turned the wrong way after trapping the ball and his subsequent shot was directed almost straight at Gomes.
Milan ended the half with several more chances as a galloping Kaká tested Gomes with a powerful blast that forced the Brazilian into a double save. Then Pirlo dribbled his way into space and unloaded a right-footed effort that dipped just over the crossbar.
No sooner had the second half started than Milan went into overdrive looking to break the deadlock. Straight from the kick-off, Seedorf drove a low ball at Gomes which the goalkeeper nearly spilled. Next, with Shevchenko clearly in discomfort, Ancelotti brought on Inzaghi in his place.
The return of 'Pippo', who had already earned the lion's share of applause when introduced before kick-off, energised the locals. Team-mate Kakha Kaladze heeded the call to pour forward and fired a bullet at Gomes to herald a 20-minute spell that saw the PSV goal under siege.
Clearly not pleased with his earlier efforts, Seedorf again was the protagonist as he found room on the right and let fly a deflected shot which Gomes blocked. It was an impressive one-man display of grace under fire as the Brazilian fended off wave after wave of Milan incursions into his area.
In order to stop the continuous barrage, Hiddink replaced Robert with Ismaïl Aisatti to break up the tempo. The coach seemed content to emerge with a well-deserved point and stay close to Milan at the top of the group - and despite four minutes of added time, his disciplined team held firm.