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Two goals by Kevin-Prince Boateng and one by Mario Balotelli ensured AC Milan overcame PSV Eindhoven to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons with a 4-1 aggregate win in the play-offs.
PSV had their fair share of opportunities at San Siro but Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati made a series of good saves before and after Boateng's opener until Balotelli scored a second for the Rossoneri early in the second half. Any hopes of a comeback vanished for Phillip Cocu's young side when Boateng added another 13 minutes from time following a nice team move.
With both sides fielding a 4-3-3 formation, spaces were hard to find in the early stages. PSV created the first opportunity after eight minutes when Tim Matavž forced Abbiati into a diving save with a precise header. A minute later Milan took the lead when Boateng found the bottom corner of Jeroen Zoet's net with a powerful right-foot shot from 25 metres.
Only another sprawling save by Abbiati denied PSV an equaliser on the night and on aggregate, the goalkeeper palming away a superb Adam Maher volley which seemed destined for the top corner. The home team continued to threaten themselves, Riccardo Montolivo missing the target with his right foot following a smart Boateng pass before Stephen El Shaarawy went even closer, meeting a low Mattia De Sciglio cross with a powerful shot that came back off the bar.
PSV also hit the woodwork after 41 minutes with a cross-shot by Jetro Willems from the left wing. The visitors had another glorious opportunity to equalise immediately after the break as a low centre from the left eluded everybody to reach the unmarked Georginio Wijnaldum at the far post but Abbiati somehow blocked the midfielder's close-range shot.
In the 55th minute, Milan made that escape count, Philippe Mexès heading El Shaarawy's corner across for Balotelli to volley in from close range. Abbiati's memorable night concluded with a fine save from Stijn Schaars's dangerous shot, and Boateng crowned Milan's victory with a precise low shot at the far post following a fine counterattack involving Balotelli and Andrea Poli.
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