PSV recorded a hard-fought 2-1 win at Sparta Rotterdam on Sunday afternoon. They came from behind after the break to grab all three points and claim their fifth away win in a row. Arno Verschueren’s red card in the 54th minute was the turning point of the game.
Zahavi had two shots on target
After an even start in the first few minutes both sides got themselves going on a spring-like, fresh afternoon. Playing long balls in a physical game, the hosts looked to create openings from the wings but PSV’s defenders headed all crosses away. PSV started to put a string of passes together on the artificial turf surface and Eran Zahavi had the first shot of the game on target. Maduka Okoye saved his shot and the Sparta goalkeeper also gathered the Israeli striker’s second effort. Sparta Rotterdam looked to hit PSV on the counter but most of the action was confined to the hosts’ half of the field.
A physical game of football
PSV were awarded a free kick on the half-hour mark and Olivier Boscagli forced the Sparta Rotterdam shot stopper into a decent stoppage. Against the run of play, Lennart Thy put the hosts ahead in the 32nd minute, capitalising on some poor defending: 1-0. Three PSV players went into the book, mainly for dissent, in a sloppy, physical game of football, with many tackles flying in. PSV had a chance to score an equaliser when Noni Madueke sent in a cracking cross, but the ball took a bounce and Mario Götze could not finish from a tight angle and the chance went missing.
PSV made one substitution at half time, bringing on Ritsu Doan for Yorbe Vertessen. PSV played to their own supporters, who cheered and rose to their feet, but PSV could not create any meaningful chances. This all changed when Arno Verschueren was shown a red card by referee Jeroen Manschot for a reckless challenge on Eran Zahavi and Sparta were reduced to the men in the 54th minute. It proved to be the turning point of a hectic game. PSV made the most of their numerical advantage and pinned the home side back into their own half. They passed the ball around and right back Mauro Júnior sent the away end into raptures when he unleashed a devastating left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area that flew past Maduka Okoye into the top of the net: 1-1. 59 minutes were on the clock and it was game on.
Roger Schmidt’s men overwhelmed their opponents, who could not ride the storm. Substitute Ritsu Doan gave PSV the lead in the 67th minute. Eran Zahavi picked out the Japanese winger who slotted home: 1-2. PSV had rectified things and comfortably held on for a crucial win. Drommel was called into action in the closing stages when he saved a header. PSV are second in the table with 55 points from 24 games, two points behind leaders Ajax who suffered a 2-1 defeat at Go Ahead Eagles. PSV will return to action next Wednesday when they take on Go Ahead Eagles in a KNVB Cup semi-final tie