THURSDAY 31ST JULY
EUROPA LEAGUE – THIRD ROUND QUALIFYING – FIRST LEG
PSV 1-0 ST. POLTEN
PSV may rue the missing opportunities inside the Philips Stadion tonight as they will travel to Austria next week with a slender 1-0 lead over SKN St Pölten.
Philip Cocu chose a young side to face the Austrian Eerst Liga side with new signing Luuk de Jong spearheading the attack. Jeroen Zoet started in goal with an inexperienced back-four of Joshua Brenet, Jorrit Hendrix, Jeffrey Bruma and Abel Tamata ahead of him. In midfield, Oskar Hiljemark, Adam Maher and Marcel Ritzmaier lined up, with the latter returning from a successful period on loan at Cambuur last year. On the wings supporting De Jong saw Luciano Narsingh and Jurgen Locadia looking to supply the chances.
Although a young eleven was selected, the expectations inside the Philips Stadion was that PSV would send St. Polten back home with a hiding. That did not materialise. The Austrians arrived well organised and out to stifle the Eredivisie giants and stifle they did.
PSV could not get the ball into the box without an Austrian head or foot booting it away. No matter how much possession the hosts had they were unable to test the St. Polten goalkeeper Patrick Kostner. The major threats, ironically came from PSV’s Austrian midfielder Ritzmaier but he could not get his efforts from outside of the box on target.
After the team went into the break goal-less, PSV emerged with a grip on the game and the opening goal finally came on 56 minutes. Luciano Narsingh weaved some magic and placed a pin-point accurate ball to the back post where Luuk de Jong was waiting to head home.
Unable to add a second goal, it got worse late on for PSV. Stupidly, substitute Florain Jozefzoon received a double booking within four minutes by referee Slavko Vinčić for diving.
PSV head to Austria next week with the goal advantage and will need to improve if they wish to comfortably enter the next round.
PSV: Zoet, Brenet, Bruma, Hendrix, Tamata, Maher, Hiljemark, Ritzmaier (Vloet 78), Narsingh (Jozefzoon 72), De Jong, Locadia.
SUBS NOT USED: Pasveer, Koch, Leemans, De Wijs, Boljevic.
GOALS: De Jong 56.
BOOKINGS: De Jong 80, Jozefzoon 90.
SENT OFF: Jozefzoon 90+3.
ST. POLTEN: Kostner, Huber, Wislo, Grasegger, Holzmann (Ambichi 65), Stec, Parada Calvillo, Kerschbaumer, Hofbauer, Segovia (Noel 76), Fucik (Hartl 46).
SUBS NOT USED: Riegler, Brandl, Schibany, Hayden.
BOOKINGS: Segovia 30.
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