PSV with a relieved heart against Sparta

PSV - Sparta. Photo Credit: RTV Rijnmond

PSV needed to win against PAOK if they wanted to keep sight on more Europea League football after Christmas. They succeeded, which brought relief to everyone with a PSV heart, but the next match already waits ahead.

PSV had terrible start last Thursday, and looked at a 0-1 disadvantage after four minutes already. Their first attempt at goal came from Dumfries’ foot, in the seventh minute. The first yellow card of the game – for PAOK – followed one minute later. The first corner for PSV came in the nineth minute, with a goal as result. However, it was called off due to offside, something only the linesman himself could understand.

The 0-2 in the thirtheenth minute was quite unexpected, but PSV’s defence looked weak and instable. PAOK got so much space and freedom, the situation looked like the second half in Thessaloniki, but now with another 75 minutes to go instead of 45. The fast 1-2 by Cody Gakpo brought the hope on a victory for the home team. The Eindhoven side kept pushing forward, but Dumfries failed another time to set the score to 2-2.

Europa League. Photo Credit UEFA

After the first half hour, PAOK moved back a bit more and left all initiative to PSV. The white and blacks released a very dangerous counter attack in the 40th minute, but PSV kept the Greeks away from the goal and directly switched to pushing forward to the other side again. If only the forwards had played together a couple matches more, this would have resulted in one or two extra goals. Meanwhile, the Thessalonians stuck to using the long ball.

Second half
It took less than four minutes before PSV had created their first chance in the second half. The second chance was for Noni Madueke, who hit home and brought the 2-2 on the scoring board. The question now was how long Roger Schmidt’s men could keep up their vollgassfussbal. Donyell Malen’s 2-3, two and a half minutes later, surely gave them the boost they needed. Jordan Teze prooved why he deserved his new contract with several crucial interceptions.

With half an hour to go on the clock, it still looked like PSV had a lot of gass left in the tank. Philipp Max’s free kick just went over the bar, and Cody Gakpo lost the ball in a counter-attack. It looked like the first sign of strength fading away on the Eindhoven side, however it wasn’t Gakpo but Eran Zahavi who got substituted for Jorrit Hendrix. The Israeli showed huge dissattisfaction after this, a signal that his hunger to score more goals for his new club is very much alive. PAOK had also substituted several players, with clear attacking intentions from head coach Pablo Garcia.

On PSV’s side Schmidt chose for more control and focus on consolidating the lead by bringing Mauro Júnior for Madueke. The tention of the last ten minutes centered all around a possible goal from either side, but the last substitutions from both teams didn’t make a difference anymore. The much needed victory was a fact, PSV are back on the second place and have qualification for Europa League football after Christmas back in their own hands.

If you can come back from a 0-2 disadvantage, with the 1-4 defeat of two weeks ago clear in mind, you can speak of a mentally strong team. It appears that Schmidt managed to get the leak above the water, and the players maybe slowly into good shape. PSV are preparing for Sparta with a relieved heart.

Logo Sparta Rotterdam. Photo credit: Sparta Rotterdam

Next opponent: Sparta Rotterdam
Sparta Rotterdam is the oldest professional football club of the Netherlands; only 11 amateur teams are older. Established in 1888, the team with almost exactly the same jersey as PSV has had over the last 25 years, had their golden ages from 1909 until 1916 and from 1952 until 1958. From 1966 until 1973 the Rotterdammers were a serious contender for Ajax and Feyenoord, but then slowly became a mid-league team.

Sparta won their last national championship in 1959 and their last national cup in 1966. They participated in the Europa Cup II tournament for the last time in 1971/72 and the UEFA Cup in 1985/86, with the winning of the Intertoto Cup of 1994 as last highlight. From then on, the club became known for their great youth academy.

Danny Blind, Ruud Geels, Adri van Tiggelen and Louis van Gaal are some of the big names who defended the club colours in those days, while Frank Rijkaard, Adri van Tiggelen and former PSV head coaches Aad de Mos and Dick Advocaat all had the club under their wings as manager for a short period of time in the past 20 years.

Familiar faces
There are many players who wore the jersey of both teams. Goalkeepers Pim Doesburg , Jan van Beveren and Benjamin van Leer, defenders Dirk Abels, Denzel Dumfries, Adri van Tiggelen, Nick Viergever and Jetro Willems, midfielders Laros Duarte, Dante Rigo, Kevin Strootman, Georghinio Wijnaldum, and attackers Memphis Depay, Juul Ellerman, Danny Koevermans, Joël Piroe and Mohamed Rayhi are some of the best examples. Abels, Duarte and Van Leer are currently under contract at Sparta, while Dumfries, Piroe and Viergever are part of today’s PSV selection.

Facts and figures
PSV played no fewer than 124 matches against Sparta Rotterdam in its history. PSV won 71 and lost 26 times. PSV scored a total of 257 goals, and conceded 146. During all 56 Eredivisie matches at the Philips Stadium, PSV were victorious 40 times, Sparta eight times, and another eight times both teams split the points through half. The 9-1 in September of 1989 and the 7-0 of October 1999 and October 2006 were the biggest victories in Eindhoven. The last time Sparta took the three points home to Rotterdam was in December of 1995.

Philips Stadion. Photo Credit: Joey van der Hart

The difference between both teams is now 11 points. PSV are still the number four, because FC Twente lost their home match against RKC Waalwijk on Friday, and Sparta are doing surprisingly well with a tenth position on the ranking. Schmidt’s team can’t afford to lose because Ajax, Vitesse and Feyenoord all have more points already. Sparta beat ADO Den Haag with 6-0 last week, while they already drew against AZ and Feyenoord earlier this season. Enough reasons to be ready for another serious match in Eindhoven.

Situation PSV
Érick Gutiérrez, Armando Obispo, Maxi Romero and Marco van Ginkel are still working on their recovery, while Mohamed Ihattaren takes things a bit slower in order to become match fit again. Schmidt gave Mario Götze rest last Thursday, and everyone hopes he will be fit to start again because during the pre-match press conference he said he wants to make some changes in the team again. The main reason is the fact that so many players have suffered the corona-virus infection and he assumes the result of this might be felt for the rest of the season.

Match information
Match: PSV – Sparta Rotterdam
Time: 20:00 (8PM)
Location: Philips Stadion, Eindhoven
Referee: Allard Lindhout
VAR: Thomas Krijt
Broadcast: Fox Sports a.o.

Article by Joey van der Hart for Eindhoven News
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