Category Archives: CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Feyenoord 1-2 Besiktas






A late penalty gave Feyenoord a major lifeline in the Champions League qualifying tie with Beşiktaş after failing to impress in the 2-1 defeat inside De Kuip this evening.

Feyenoord, Besiktas, Erwin Mulder, Feyenoord - Besiktas

It was a very unfamiliar side fielded by Fred Rutten, heavily depleted from this summer’s transfers. Ruben Schaken moved into the unusual right-back position with youngster Sven van Beek partnering veteran Joris Mathijsen in the centre. Dutch international Terence Kongolo began on the left of defence with Jordy Clasie and Tonny Vilhena protecting the back four, and Lex Immers pressing on. Jean-Paul Boetuis and Wesley Verhoek appeared on the wings giving support to inexperienced front-man Mitchell te Vrede.

Feyenoord, roared on by 50,000 Rotterdammers, exploded out the blocks and attacked the boys from Istanbul from the off, however, failed to create any decent chances. In fact, their first shot on goal did not arrive until three minutes before half-time, and it was a poor effort by Boëtius who dragged his shot wide of the target.

After it being all the home side for the first 13 minutes, the Turkish side got the opening goal from a corner on 13 minutes. The set-piece was whipped in and some terrible marking by Mathijsen allowed Mustafa Pektemek to rise above and head home to grab a vital away goal.

Throughout the first 45 minutes, Feyenoord struggled to break down Beşiktaş, the team who kept the most clean sheets in the Turkish top flight last season. The visitors looked in shape and well prepared by coach Slaven Bilic and pressed Feyenoord back, as De Kuip became frustrated and the game develop into a scrappy affair. With four bookings pulled out of Italian referee Luca Banti’s pocket in an uneventful first half.

After the interval, it was more of the same and inside the final twenty minutes the Turkish side wrapped up the victory. The impressive Kerim Koyunlu sprinted down the right wing unmarked and emerged into the area. He lashed a shot towards goal that goalkeeper Mulder looked to have covered but unfortunately it took a wicked deflection off substitute Khalid Boulahrouz and into the net.

The goal knocked the stuffing out of the crowd but gave Feyenoord a little life. However, they started to press more and gained some success forcing saves out of Tolga Zengin. But it was late on where the home supporters got a little relief.

The Feyenoord fans went home a tad happier after Ramon Motta conceded a penalty for a foul on tricky substitute Elvis Manu three minutes into stoppage time. Young striker Mitchell te Vrede converted the spot kick to give Beşiktaş a slender lead into the second leg next Wednesday night.


FEYENOORD: Mulder, Schaken (Boulahrouz 61), Van Beek, Mathijsen, Kongolo, Clasie, Immers, Vilhena, Verhoek (Manu 65), Te Vrede, Boëtius.

SUBS NOT USED: Hahn, Vormer, Nelom, Karsdorp, Achahbar.

GOALS: Te Verde 90+4P.

BOOKINGS: Verhoek 31, Boëtius 39.

BESIKTAS: Zengin, Kurtulus, Franco, Gülüm, Motta, Koyunlu (Cenk Tosun 89), Uysal, Özyakup (Ba 59), Hutchinson, Şahan (Ismail Koybasi 75), Pektemek.

SUBS NOT USED: Cenk Gonen, Sivok, Boral, Holosko.

GOALS: Pektemek 13, Koyunlu 71.


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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PREVIEW: Feyenoord vs. Besiktas






Already this match for Feyenoord is the one of the most important of the season, and they go in to battle depleted after a summer of transfers.

After a strong World Cup for the Dutch squad, defensive trio Daryl Janmaat, Bruno Martins Indi and Stefan de Vrij managed to enhance their reputations that earned them moves at Newcastle United, FC Porto and Lazio respectively. However, the big loss to Fred Rutten’s side may be the departure of Graziano Pellè to Southampton. Last season, the big Italian notched 23 goals in 28 games and technical director Martin van Geel has failed to bring a replacement before Wednesday’s clash with Beşiktaş.

The pressure will be on the massive shoulders of young target man Mitchell te Vrede to produce goals. Standing at 6ft 3inches, his build will be a threat to the Turkish defence however, the inexperience of the big game atmosphere may get inside the head of the big forward and the occasion may be too much for him. Although the attacking threats of Jean-Paul Boetius, Lex Immers and Ruben Schaken could take off some of the burden, although the latter is doubtful with a knee problem.

In defence, losing three big names has really hampered Feyenoord’s chances in this game. At right-back, 19-year-old Rick Karsdorp, who normally lines up in midfield, is set to make his first-team debut in this huge encounter. In the centre, Rutten has veteran pairing Joris Mathijsen and Khalid Boulahrouz available for selection with Terence Kongolo also in contention, although the 20 year old may slot in at left back. If Rutten chooses not to play Kongolo, look to Miquel Nelom to sit in the left of defence. The back four will not fill Feyenoord supporters full of confidence and Slaven Bilic’s side will look to attack down Karsdorp’s side.

With finishing third last season in Turkish Süperlig, Beşiktaş should not have qualified for the Champions League and were only granted the slot in place of Fenerbahçe, who were been banned from European competition due to a match-fixing scandal last season. They travel to Holland with new striker Demba Ba in tow. Ba has a phenomenal goal scoring record at all clubs he has represented and will be a huge threat in this game so Rutten will be looking to stop the Senegal international receiving the ball.

Providing him could see Dutch-born attacking midfielder Oğuzhan Özyakup and his excellent range of passing looking to thread Ba through on goal.  Jordy Clasie and Tonny Vilhena in the middle of the park will have the job of keeping the former Arsenal man quiet. Up top with Ba could see a partnership with either Cenk Tosun, a celebrated youngster from Gaziantepspor or Mustafa Pektemek, a longtime goal scorer on either side of the Bosphorus strait.

Key to Feyenoord’s plans to defuse Beşiktaş will be dealing with the Turkish team’s flexibility. Bilic may opt to deploy wingers and have former PSV midfielder Atiba Hutchinson play with Özyakup in the centre with Olcay Şahan playing advanced in midfield.

The big question is how can Fred Rutten motivate his team after suffering such losses of quality in their team?  If he succeeds, then young players can enter this contest with some confidence and possibly get themselves a result. However, this is a huge task lining up against the leadership of Slaven Bilic. Bilic has defined Besiktas with a new tactical system, described by Sinan Schwarting of as ‘Dortmund-like.’  With the likes of Şahan, Özyakup, Tosun, Pektemek and Ba closing down the Feyenoord defence, this may be a challenge too far for the under-strength Rotterdammers.

I would love to see a Feyenoord win and watch them progress in the second leg with the lead, but my head says they will struggle to score and I fancy the Turkish side to head back to Istanbul with a slight advantage.

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Feyenoord’s Champions League opponents – Besiktas

Beşiktaş and Feyenoord are similar in more ways than one. Both sides have few league titles in the 21st century and both teams have been absent from the Champions League for an extended period of time writes Yusuf Naishi.

Both droughts are less devastating in the case of Beşiktaş although Feyenoord manages to retain some pride in that they beat Borussia Dortmund in 2002’s UEFA Cup final at home in De Kuip stadium.

Beşiktaş are coming off their first season under the leadership of Slaven Bilić. The Croatian has extended his influence over the team with transfers and a new tactical system, described by Sinan Schwarting of as ‘Dortmund-like.’

Bilić managed to bring long time Trabzon goalkeeper Tolga Zengin to Istanbul. Beşiktaş have lacked a consistent keeper in recent times and Zengin had an excellent campaign this past season and led in clean sheets.  Zengin provides a tough challenge for any opposition as long as the players in front of him also do their jobs.

Beşiktaş has also been building up young talent. Although Bilić has opted to play them sparingly several youngsters appear ready to reach the big time.

Oğuzhan Özyakup, whom some in the Netherlands may remember as a Dutch international at youth level, has the experience and talent to lead the midfield this season. He will be expected to fill bigger shoes, however, now that Manuel Fernandes has left for the Russian league. Fernandes was an excellent number 10 for Beşiktaş’s even as he broke down opposition defences in his humble number 4 shirt.

Departing attacker Hugo Almeida scored a respectable 13 goals over 31 matches last season but he suffered several scoring droughts and did not have many other teammates to make up for those goalless spells. Thus, if Beşiktaş had any reason to make a transfer this summer it would be to bring in a striker.

That is exactly what the board of directors have done in bringing Demba Ba from Chelsea to Turkey. Although the Senegalese forward disappointed many in his time in London, his goal-scoring ability is unquestionable as his record at Newcastle United shows.

Ba can expect acceptable partnerships in front of goal with either Cenk Tosun, a celebrated youngster from Gaziantepspor or Mustafa Pektemek, a longtime goal scorer on either side of the Bosphorus strait.

Key to Feyenoord’s plans to defuse Beşiktaş will be dealing with the Turkish team’s flexibility. Bilic may opt to deploy wingers and have Canadian international Atiba Hutchinson play with Özyakup in the centre of midfield with Olcay Şahan playing advanced in midfield.

But what fans dressed in red and white are wondering is if Beşiktaş can prevent them from their first Champion’s League campaign since 2001.


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A late Stefano Denswil’s goal looked to have sealed the victory for the hosts but Mario Balotelli’s nerveless penalty earned a draw for the Serie A giants.

Rookie defender Denswil looked to have secured a fine triumph when he rose magnificently to power Danish substitute Lasse Schöne’s corner beyond the previously unbeatable Christian Abbiati. However, talisman Balotelli had other ideas. The former Manchester City striker, who had earlier hit the bar, was brought down by substitute Mike van der Hoorn. The Italian kept his cool as he calmly stroked in the spot kick with customary aplomb.

The Amsterdammers had much the better of the first half against a strangely lacklustre Milan side. The boisterous Amsterdam Arena crowd almost had a goal to cheer after only five minutes, but Icelandic striker Kolbeinn Sigthórsson, released by Lerin Duarte’s clever pass, shot against the goalkeeper’s legs.

Frank de Boer’s men continued to force Milan back into their own half, and left-back Daley Blind showed some fine footwork before slipping the ball to Danish youngster Viktor Fischer, who lashed an effort from 20 metres that only just evaded Abbiati’s left-hand post.

The first hint of an attack from the Rossoneri arrived on the half-hour mark, Kévin Constant managing to get in behind the Ajax back-line on the right, though his weak low cross was gathered comfortably by Jasper Cillessen. Back came Ajax, first with a Duarte free-kick that was palmed over by Abbiati and, seconds later, through a strike from Niklas Moisander that rose just too high.

After the half-time team talks, Massimiliano Allegri’s men began the second half a different team. Cillessen showed admirable reflexes to beat away Riccardo Montolivo’s close-range flick, then Balotelli’s free-kick cannoned off the wall and onto the roof of the net. The home side rallied, Sigthórsson heading Siem de Jong’s cross straight at Abbiati, though Balotelli came closest of all just after the hour. Cutting in from the left, he curled a beautiful shot that Cillessen tipped against the underside of the bar.

With the game seemingly heading towards a goaless draw, the last few minutes offered extraordinary drama. First Denswil’s header, his first goal for the club, sent the Amsterdam ArenA into an ecstasy replaced by agony when Balotelli coolly slotted in.



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Ajax slumped to a 4-0 defeat against a strong Barca side which saw Lionel Messi clinched his Champions League goals tally to 62 goals in 79 appearances – only former Real Madrid striker Raúl has more with 71. In another amazing stat, Messi now has 24 hat-tricks for Barcelona in his career so far. So a 4-0 defeat for the Eredivisie champions does not seem that bad.

The Dutch champions started well, stopping Barcelona’s route to the wings by double teaming each Barca attacker and stifling play from Neymar and Alexis Sanchez.

However, on 21 minutes Lerin Duarte conceded a free-kick for a foul on Messi. The new Ajax signing clipped the heels of the Argentine magician, just outside the box. Messi lined the free-kick up and scored his 60th Champions League goal with a glorious shot that cannoned in off the post. Kenneth Vermeer in the Ajax goal could snatch at the air as the set-piece was too good for the Dutch international stopper. The first genuine chance of the match produced the opening goal.

The first-half petered out even though Ajax nearly stole an equaliser on the half-hour mark when Bojan curled a cross deep towards the far post and a diving header from Ricardo van Rhijn forced a smart reaction save from Valdes.

The visitors could have had a penalty when Sigthorsson went to ground under a challenge from Pique. The loose ball was met by Duarte, but he placed his first-time effort straight at Valdes.

Messi got his second ten minutes after the break with an excellent finish from inside the area, before Gerard Pique put gloss on the scoreline with a header from Neymar’s cross on 69 minutes.

Frank de Boer’s Ajax could have had a deserved consolation when Javier Mascherano fouled substitute Thulani Serero in the area but Sigthorsson saw his penalty beaten away by Valdes.

The win marked an emotional Champions League debut for Barca coach Tata Martino, with the win coming just a few days after the death of his father.



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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Ajax get tough draw


The Eredivisie defending champions Ajax have been drawn into the glamour group along with Barcelona, AC Milan and Glasgow Celtic.

20130818 - Ajax 2-1 Feyenoord

Progress from Group H will be a tough task for Frank de Boer’s side, especially after the impending departures of Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld this week.

The group is highlighted by Lionel Messi’s Barcelona, who will look to re-establish their European dominance under the new leadership of Argentine coach Gerardo Martino. It will be up to the new boss to guide the Blaugrana past Scottish champions Celtic. Neil Lennon’s side memorably upset Barca 2-1 in last season’s group stage last November with a dramatic late goal from Tony Watt.

PSV’s playoff conquers AC Milan will face Barca in a repeat of last year’s last sixteen clash, where the Spanish giants roared back from a 2-0 first leg loss to score four goals in the second leg and win 4-2 on aggregate.

The Group Stage matches will take place over the course of six matchdays beginning September 17th and concluding on December 11th. The top two teams from each Group will move on to the Round of 16, while the third place side will drop into the Europa League and the fourth placed club will be eliminated from European competition.

The Round of 16 will be played over two legs in February and March 2014, with the winners continuing on to a two-legged Quarterfinal in early April. The winners will march on to the Semifinals, which will be played in late April, before the winners head to the final at the Estadio de Luz in Lisbon, Portugal on May 24th, 2014.



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Goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Mario Balotelli ensured Serie A giants AC Milan disposed of PSV Eindhoven to reach the Champions League group stages with a 4-1 aggregate win on Wednesday evening.

Philip Cocu’s men had their fair share of chances inside the packed San Siro but the Italian’s goalkeeper Christian Abbiati made a string of good saves before and after Boateng’s opener. Balotelli extended the Rossoneri’s lead early in the second period and any hopes of a comeback disappeared for the young Dutch side, when Boateng added another with only 13 minutes remaining to seal a 3-0 win on the night.

Both sides began the contest with 4-3-3 formations and spaces were hard to find in the early stages of the game. The Eredivisie side created the first opportunity when Slovenian striker Tim Matavž forced Abbiati into an early diving save with a precise header after eight minutes. Just moments later Milan went a goal ahead when Boateng found the bottom corner of Jeroen Zoet’s goal with a powerful right-foot shot from outside the area.

PSV should have been level but another sprawling save by Abbiati denied the Eindhoven side an equaliser, after the goalkeeper palmed away a superb Adam Maher volley which seemed destined to score and steal the show.

The hosts continued to threaten a second goal with Riccardo Montolivo and Stephen El Shaarawy especially going close, with a powerful shot that cannoned off the crossbar.

Milan were saved by the woodwork also after 41 minutes with a cross-cum-shot by left-abck Jetro Willems. PSV had another glorious opening to equalise immediately after the interval as a low cross from the left eluded everybody to reach the unmarked Georginio Wijnaldum at the far post but Abbiati somehow blocked the PSV captain’s close-range effort.

In the 55th minute, Milan made that Abbiati save count as the Italians went further ahead to concrete their victory. French defender Philippe Mexès headed an El Shaarawy’s corner across the goal for Balotelli to volley home.

Abbiati’s night finished with a fine save from a Stijn Schaars’s dangerous shot, and Boateng finalised the result with a precise low shot at the far post following a fine counterattack involving Balotelli and Andrea Poli.

PSV now drop into Friday’s Europa League draw as a consolation, a trophy they must be in a great chance of winning with this young powerful outfit.



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Once again the all-new Phillip Cocu PSV team showed great maturity and went onto record a more than well-deserved draw against Serie A giants AC Milan in the first leg of their Champions League play-off.

The Eredivisie side dominated throughout the first-half, hitting the woodwork and forcing Milan ‘keeper Christian Abbiati into several vital stops. Yet against the run of play, the only goal of the half came courtesy of a Stephan El Shaarawy header. Slovenian striker Tim Matavž restored parity on the hour mark to leave the contest wide open ahead of the second-leg battle at the San Siro next Wednesday.

The Eindhoven side nearly went 1-0 up in the opening minutes when Adam Maher touched Matavž’s shot a fraction wide of the Milan goal. Abbiati was kept busy as the Milan keeper saved from Georginio Wijnaldum before Cristián Zapata deflected young left-back Jetro Willems’ strong on-target drive behind.

Unfortunately for Cocu’s men, Milan took the lead with their first attack. Ignazio Abate overpowered Memphis Depay and crossed for the unmarked El Shaarawy to head home leaving goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet helpless. Moments after, Zoet was called into action again as he tipped Mario Balotelli’s effort onto the bar.

However, it was still Abbiati who was the busier between the sticks, the 36-year-old making two great saves from Maher as Phillip Cocu’s side pressed for an equaliser. The lively PSV playmaker then crashed a shot against the crossbar from just inside the area after outmuscling the bigger frame of Zapata.

The midfielder trio of Stijn Schaars, Park Ji-Sung and Wijnaldum held the AC Milan midfield at bay and the latter getting forward at every opportunity and stringing some tremendous passing around. Linking up well with wingers Depay and Maher and later, Florian Jozefzoon.

PSV - AC Milan

Milan emerged for the second-half looking stronger and only a superb interception by Willems at the back post prevented El Shaarawy from doubling the score. The young lions of PSV responded by giving the Rossoneri a taste of their own medicine and scoring on the counter attack. Abbiati could not hold central defender Jeffrey Bruma’s 35-yard swerving shot and the previously quiet Matavž happily nodded in the rebound.

Milan almost forced a winner in the closing stages, but Zoet made a fine save from substitute Andrea Poli to keep the level. PSV will be the unhappier of the two sides, as the chances missed inside the first period could have seen them home and dry.



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20130807 - PSV

PSV face AC Milan in a Champions League preliminary round match-up to decide who makes it through to the group stages of Europe’s elite competition, and a tight game is expected between two sides that are no stranger to high profile continental clashes.

Both sides have won the Champions League before, PSV winning the trophy in 1988 while AC Milan have lifted the European Cup seven times, most recently in 2007. The sides last met in European competition at the semi-final stage in 2005, when an Massimo Ambrosini goal sent the Rossoneri through to the Champions League final.

Despite losing star players like Kevin Strootman and Dries Mertens, PSV have built their team around a youth philosophy managed by former PSV and Barcelona star Philip Cocu.


Zoet; Arias, Bruma, Rekik, Willems; Wijnaldum, Hiljemark, Maher; Jozefzoon, Locadia, Depay.


Abbiati, Abate, Zapata, Silvestre, Constant, De Jong, Montolivo, Poli, Boateng, El Shaarawy, Balotelli.

Player to watch: Stephan El Shaarawy

While all eyes will be on Mario Balotelli, Stephan El Shaarawy comes off a sharp pre-season and will look to start the 2013-14 season in the same manner he began the 2012-13 one. Pacy, hard-working with excellent technique and flair, “Il Faraone” could benefit from Balotelli attracting defensive attention and become Milan’s matchwinner on Tuesday.

Prediction: PSV 1-2 AC MILAN

Milan should get a scare from PSV who will be sharper and fitter due to already starting the Eredivisie season three weeks ago, while Massimiliano Allegri’s side may still be a little rusty. However, experience and quality should show through, and Milan are expected to have too much for their largely inexperienced opponents.


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PSV win 5-0 on aggregate

It’s mission accomplished for PSV Eindhoven as they defeated Belguim’s SV Zulte-Waregem 5-0 on aggregate. They now await Friday’s Champions League playoff draw to see who stands in their way of a place in the group stages of the competition. It will be no easy task as the Eindhoven club will have to deal with either Arsenal, Lyon, AC Milan, Schalke or Zenit St. Petersburg if they are to reach groups.

Zulte Waregem - PSV

Throughout the first-half, as excepted, looking to reduce their 2-0 deficit, the Belgians were on the attack but PSV held strong and kept another clean sheet.

In fifteenth minute, Philip Cocu’s side had a glorious chance to take the lead. Slovenian striker Tim Matavz, in a good position, tried to round goalkeeper Sammy Bossut and the ball dropped perfectly for Memphis Depay but he dragged the effort wide with the goal gaping.

Matavz, who had a terrible night in front of goal in the first leg, had his own chance to put PSV in the lead, but like last week, fluffed at the opportunity. With the ball played through by Depay, the Slovenian was through on goal with the onrushing Bossut trying to close him down. With time, the striker blasted the shot straight at the keeper’s chest much to the delight of the home supporters.

The teams went down the tunnel for half-time, goal-less but ten minutes into the second-half the game finally started to come together for the Eindhoven side.

Bossut again did well to thwart Depay early in the second period after he was played through by central midfielder Stijn Schaars, but the keeper was finally beaten on 56 minutes.

A scramble occurred inside the penalty area and Depay fired a shot at goal, and with the Bossut stranded out of the goal, Zulte’s Steve Colpaert saved on the line with his hand. German referee Felix Zwayer pointed to the spot and gave the defender his marching orders with a straight red. Matavz slotted the penalty home to give PSV the lead and with Zulte needing four goals with only ten-men on the pitch, the Belgians were heading out of the tournament. The goal was PSV’s 200th in the Champions Cup and their first goal in Belgium after four previous outings without scoring.

The lead was doubled with a beautiful goal from 17-year-old Zakaria Bakkali. The lively Depay whipped in a cross from the left to the back post where the Belgian winger was arriving and volleyed the ball home giving Bossut no chance of saving. The technique was sublime to keep the ball down with such power to make it 2-0.

The final nail was slammed into the Zulte coffin in the dying seconds, when the Dutch side went three up. Adam Maher broke free from his marker and Bruno Godeau aiming the tackle the attacking midfielder ended up sending the ball past his own keeper.

Five goals to nil on aggregate but it will not be this easy in the next round, the youngsters of Eindhoven will have to work hard to clinch that Champions’ League group spot.



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Tonight’s game will have the PSV fans in a hopeful mood for the upcoming season. Not only does it look like their team will be one step away from the group stages of the Champions League, but the young side that Cocu picked showed a great display of pace, creativity and mature defensive organisation.

From top to the bottom, they impressed. Central defensive pairing Jeffrey Bruma (21) and Karim Rekik (18) kept things tight at the back and protected goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet (22) at all opportunities. Bruma, in the role of leader, organised the backline into a brick wall that the Belgian side could not smash down. The on-loan Rekik showed his awesome strength to shun the massive African strikers Mbaye Leye and Habib Habibou, and remember the Manchester City defender is just 18-years-old.

The right-back position has been a worry for the Eredivisie runners-up over the past few seasons, with past poor performances from Atiba Hutchinson and Stanislav Manolev, in that role tonight was Joshua Brenet, just 19 years of age. The youngster’s hunger and aggression impressed from the opening whistle, and his attacking prowess shone through when his mazy run created the second goal.

When Kevin Strootman, Dries Mertens and Jeremain Lens all left on big money moves, fans must have been wondering where the replacements and the goals were going to come from. Tonight proved that maybe PSV may need some help finishing chances, but they certainly do not need any support in creating them. The youngest player on the pitch, Zakaria Bakkali (pictured above), 17, was frightening everytime he was in control of the ball. As was 19-year-old left winger Memphis Depay, when PSV pressed forward, it looked like they were going to find a goal on every attack.

Inside the first minute, the lively Bakkali had the bumper Phillips Stadion crowd out of their seats, as he announced his arrival to the game by crashing a well taken shot onto the bottom of the post. Captain for the night, Georginio Wijnaldum and Slovenian striker Tim Matavz should have also scored all within the first ten minutes. Matavz especially wasted a great chance in a one-on-one contest with Zulte keeper Sammy Bossut.

PSV dominated throughout and had the ball in the net five minutes before the interval when Depay’s header was correecty ruled out for offside latching onto a rebound after Matavz smashed his shot off the bar.

The second period began as the first finished, with PSV looking defensively sound but lacking that composure in front of goal. It was the turn of Wijnaldum to crash a shot against the post, minutes into the second-half and it looked to be one of those nights for the Eindhoven side.

On the hour mark, relief and euphoria buzzed through the stadium, when the search for a new PSV hero was over. The young Depay lashed a picture-perfect 30-yard effort towards the goal, finding the top corner, and the deadlock had well and truly been opened.

Yet another highly-rated prospect entered the fray on 72 minutes, when Jurgen Locadia replaced Matavz up front and within three minutes of being on the pitch, he doubled PSV’s lead. As earlier mentioned, a tricky forward run by full-back Brenet ended with a brilliant cross turned in by the substitute for the 2-0 win.

New signing Florian Jozefzoon came on for Bakkali minutes later, and the young Belgian winger received a well-deserved standing ovation from the Phillips Stadion observers for a tremendous performance.

The game finished 2-0 and Cocu will have some concerns over the finishing on display this evening as his side really should have killed the tie off, but never the less the coach will be happy with the clean sheet, and the fans will be buzzing with enthusiasm for the next crop of future heroes coming through the ranks at the club.



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