TUESDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – GROUP B
PSV 2-1 MAN UTD
It was a night marred with a horrendous injury to Luke Shaw, but PSV will treat this as a night to remember, a great return to the Champions League with an unlikely victory against Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United writes Will Burns.
As the teams emerged this evening, the atmosphere was electric and for good reason. The Philips Stadion had not seen Champions League football since the 2008/09 season when current head coach Philip Cocu was actually on the pitch at that time for PSV. This time he was leading from the sideline and grabbed a vital victory in Group B of the Champions League.
With Memphis Depay returning ‘home’ of sorts, Louis van Gaal handed a first start to £58m man Anthony Martial in the lone striker role for the Manchester United. The Red Devils came out with a high press, especially on Andrés Guardado, hustling the midfielder from the off. The match failed to get going and the visitors were forced make an early change after quarter of an hour when Luke Shaw suffered a suspected broken leg.
The left-back was moving at pace and made a great run into the PSV area, he was then met head-on with a strong challenge from Hector Moreno. The Mexican defender immediately moved away from the area looking distressed which explained to all it was a bad one. Shaw was replaced by Argentine international Marcos Rojo after a six minute delay to comfortably remove the England defender from the pitch. No booking, no penalty, no foul was given by Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli – Moreno left his feet in the challenge and was lucky to still be on the pitch.
The compassionated fans applauded Shaw off and the minutes surrounding the injury gave the stadium a real subdued feel. Once the game got going again, PSV pressed dangerously with the speed of Luciano Narsingh and Maxime Lestienne causing some trouble but the flag of the linesman was raised more than often halting the play.
Although the game was playing at a good tempo, we had to wait 38 minutes for our first chance as Chris Smalling nodded wide from a Juan Mata free-kick. In the second chance of the game, three minutes later, we had the opening goal. Daley Blind sliding in former PSV favourite Depay, whom overpowered Santiago Arias, slipping his challenge with great footwork and slotted home with a goal that the attendance has seen time and time before.
The former PSV hero could have grabbed his second just a minute later. Mata gifted Depay a ball which sent the winger wide and subsequently dragged his shot the wrong side of Zoet’s post. The hosts were on the ropes and Smalling, somehow found himself through on goal and forced a strong stop from Zoet to keep the score at 1-0.
The lead only lasted six minutes as Cocu’s men grabbed a fortunate equaliser on 47 minutes. Lestienne with a whipping corner and defender Moreno easily rose over Matteo Darmain and the Mexican’s effort skimmed off Blind’s head to nestle into the net.
The second half began an even contest with both sides using swift attacks to build chances but neither goalkeeper were trouble initially before Narsingh gave David de Gea no chance with PSV’s second goal.
As they threatened in the first half, PSV’s famous counter attacking football gained them the unlikely lead. Great awareness from Guardado spotted the troublesome Lestienne sitting on the high defence of United. The Belgian received the ball and sped down the left and crossed at the back post for the unmarked Narsingh nod home from yards out and the Philips Stadion erupted.
Van Gaal’s side should have been level soon after, Bastien Schweinsteiger lofted a wonderful ball over the PSV back four, putting it on a plate for Mata, but the Spaniard failed to control the ball and the Eindhoven jeers and cheers sounded out to sarcastically congratulate him.
The visitors dominated and hunted the equaliser but lacked options in the final third. Van Gaal added Marouane Fellaini into the mix replacing Ander Herrera but the big Belgian, like on Saturday in United’s 3-1 win over Liverpool; he did not have any affect.
United’s energy waned and the long balls were being booted forward as PSV got men behind the ball and rode out the unlikely win.
It was great performance for PSV who finally deliver some good news for the Eredivisie and Dutch football in general. The Eindhoven side had done their country proud tonight and on the final whistle they celebrated like they had lifted the trophy, not just a victory in their first game.
PSV: Zoet – Arias, Bruma, Moreno, Brenet – Hendrix, Pröpper, Guardado (Schaars 72) – Narsingh, De Jong, Lestienne (Locadia 86).
GOALS: Moreno 47, Narsingh 57.
BOOKINGS: Arias 55, Moreno 60, Bruma 71.
MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea – Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw (Marcos Rojo 24) – Schweinsteiger, Herrera – Young (Valencia 86), Mata, Depay – Martial.
GOALS: Depay 41.
BOOKINGS: Smalling 67.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Joshua Brenet (PSV)
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