MATCH REPORT: PSV V SPURS
It was heartbreak in Eindhoven after a penalty shoot-out determined our UEFA Cup fate.
It was heartbreak in Eindhoven after a penalty shoot-out determined our UEFA Cup fate.We exit the competition after a 6-5 reverse on penalties following a superb single goal victory in the game itself. Dimitar Berbatov ensured the game went into extra-time, but penalties followed.Paul Robinson saved from Danko Lazovic and Jermaine Jenas had the chance to seal victory with our fifth kick, but Gomes saved and Pascal Chimbonda missed to spark joy among the home fans and hurt for Spurs.
The Philips Stadion was a rocking arena as the pre-match rituals were being gone through, the venue being a traditional style ground that carries a superb atmosphere.
However, it was a fairly timid beginning by both teams, no quick-out-of-the-blocks explosive stuff, but then the first goal was always going to have a huge impact on this meeting so perhaps a cagey start was understandable.
There was a great chance to level the aggregate score on 16 minutes when Tom Huddlestone - playing on the right of a midfield diamond - slipped the ball inside and into the path of Steed Malbranque. The Frenchman took aim but misfired from a good shooting position.
The balance of play was marginally with the team in all white, but PSV were passing the ball around in an efficient manner and always seeking to exploit any space. Thankfully, with Ledley King back in situe, space in and around our area was more often than not going to be at a premium.
PSV came close to being the architects of their own downfall just over ten minutes before the break when Carlos Salcido and the goalkeeper Gomes did not communicate and the defender nodded past him but also past the post. From the resulting Jermaine Jenas corner a King header flashed just past the post.
Jenas picked up a booking moments later, before stepping aside and allowing Huddlestone a shy on goal from a set piece, but his effort clipped the wall and flew narrowly over. Domination was creeping in and, from a Young-Pyo Lee centre, Malbranque teed up Huddlestone, who again was denied by a deflection.
There was a purposeful change at half-time with the withdrawal of Lee and introduction of Darren Bent. He had the chance to make an instant impact when Malbranque passed to the left of the area for Robbie Keane, who in turn delivered a low centre in front of the striker, but his effort lacked the power to significantly trouble Gomes.
Pascal Chimbonda nearly played us into trouble with a chest move back towards his own goal before PSV should really have taken the lead on the night when a chip into the area left Danny Koevermans unmarked in front of Paul Robinson. His first touch let him down and the relieved goalkeeper was able to gather.
Dimitar Berbatov then flicked a header wide from a Huddlestone set-piece, but PSV were livening up on the counter attack. Jenas was next with a forceful thrust but his final ball after darting into the area lacked direction.
Aaron Lennon came on just after the hour in place of King and this time Didier Zokora moved into central defence and Malbranque dropped in at full-back. Robinson was called on to produce a big save when Zokora got in a muddle on 65 minutes, stooping low to prevent Ibrahim Afellay an opener.
He was beaten all ends up by a Jefferson Farfan free-kick a couple of minutes later but thankfully if arrowed just over. Berbatov's persistance next opened up a shooting window for Huddlestone, but his powerful hit was too high.
Bent was through on goal on 70 minutes but elected to square to Keane and prodded without accuracy allowing the danger to be averted.
There was a real urgency going into the final 15 minutes and the game completely opened up - leading to almighty confusion between Gomes and Salcido that Keane was not quite able to capitalise on.
There was an exquisite turning point after much pressing in the 81st minute. A Chimbonda cross was met full on the volley by Berbatov, who fizzed right footed beyond Gomes and into the bottom left hand corner.
Jamie O'Hara came on to become our fourth left-back of the game, Keane being sacrificed, before a Lennon cross led to a Bent header being tipped over by Gomes. The tension was incredible inside the stadium and no doubt in the living rooms of Spurs supporters at home.
Extra time it was and a Berbatov chip resulted in a Bent volley that swerved just wide after a couple of minutes before an O'Hara whipped free-kick was touched by Jenas and volleyed over on the turn by Berbatov.
Other than this the first period was largely uneventful and the opening minutes of the second was pretty cautious from both sides - end to end, but without real conviction, although the defending was stout.
There was so nearly a glorious finale when a Malbranque smash was arrowing towards the top corner, only for Gomes' outstretched hand to prevent a stunning winner.
Then it was penalties.