PSV STRUGGLE OUTSIDE OF THE EREDIVISIE, SETS UP CRITICAL SHOWDOWN
Eredivise (H) : PSV 6 - sc Heerenveen 1
This had all the makings of a trap game, or at least an opening for PSV to fall apart. At least sc Heerenveen came into this game 3rd in the Eredivisie, they weren’t quite the massive underdogs FC Groningen were and this time it was a home game. With a massive road game against Celtic in just a few days van Bommel decided to field his second team and give his first team the rest they needed coming off the international break. Dirk Abels, a Jong PSV player, was drafted to start at RB and a number of his regular teammates filled the bench. The potential for things to go south really quickly was high, apparently PSV did not get the memo.
Abels, almost to his disbelief, scored his first senior goal just 2’ into the game. Four minutes later Marlon Frey made it 2-0 with an absolutely stunning goal from 40 yards out that might have gone in from the halfway line. Warner Hahn may have been better off not getting in the way of that one, perhaps that’s what helped PSV do it four more times. It was 3-0 before sc Heerenveen’s Arber Zeneli broke PSV’s shutout streak, a fact that was quickly forgotten as the score rose to 6-1.
The big win was great for morale, they would need everything they could get for their midweek game in Glasgow. A win would put them in 1st in the group and guaranteed qualification, anything else would leave the Roma game to decide their fate.
Champions League (A) : Celtic 2 - PSV 0
If you had told PSV fans they had a chance to win their Champions League group by beating Celtic, they would have been more than excited about their chances. Unfortunately for Mark van Bommel, it took quite a bit more than that and he got a good picture of where his team stands in the continental pecking order. Unfortunately for PSV fans, their place in that order is behind Celtic and they are going to need to work harder to change that fact.
For the most part both teams were fairly equal, and statistically it was hard to draw much of a conclusion other than PSV enjoyed a big edge in possession and failed to do anything with it. Brendan Rodgers’ approach for this one was fairly simple, and he was willing to let PSV fall on its own sword by being too aggressive in an attempt to take the group lead. Celtic weathered an attack after attack, one sequence deflecting four straight attempts to break them down while sending the ball back across the half way line. When it looked like PSV had the momentum they finally made a critical mistake courtesy of Erick Gutiérrez. A quick pass out to an overlapping Denzel Dumfries near the top of the box was picked off by an advancing Kieran Tierney who knocked it forward to Olivier Ntcham, he would take it two-thirds of the field by himself without a whiff of resistance before sending a low cross through the box to an unmarked Moussa Sissoko to make it 1-0 after 20’. Jorrit Hendrix, Daniel Schwaab, and Pablo Roasio were left standing around looking at eachother like they had no idea how this could happen, a more than familiar scene as of late.
Celtic had managed the perfect counter attack, and perhaps it was just the score but they seemed to tighten up and sit back even more. With PSV needing a win, they had no reason to open up sitting on 13 points in the standings with no way for PSV to pass them now. The only change of play was an injury to Ezequiel Schelotto in the 66’, he was carried off with a groin injury while PSV looked impatient to start playing. Van Bommel paced the technical area, clearly frustrated with their failure to break down Celtic’s defense. The clocked ticked down, and if to pour salt on the wound Celtic would score again in stoppage time to make it 2-0. Sissoko sent a long cross into the box to a clearly offsides James Forrest who hammered the ball in not long before the whistle blew, and van Bommel came rushing out to the referee to angrily discuss the second goal and was only met with a wave of the hand to suggest he leave the field.
PSV had no answer for Sissoko.
“We will be discussing this with UEFA, that is all we can do” said a dejected van Bommel after the game.
Despite the general balance of stats, PSV were little threat to Celtic during this game. They only managed (3) key passes as a team where Celtic produced (8) and Sissoko ate them alive. Things got worse as Roma won against Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 setting up a win-or-go-home game to close out the group.