PSV head coach Phillip Cocu is anticipating a tough away task when his side takes on Sparta Rotterdam on Saturday evening. Sparta manager Alex Pastoor has transformed his team into a mighty fighting machine. The Rotterdam outfit are currently sitting in thirteenth place in the table and reached the KNVB Beker semi-finals.
Ramselaar scored twice
PSV are no doubt wary of the danger posed by Sparta. A goal scored by Bart Ramselaar on 78 minutes separated the two sides in this season’s reverse encounter in the Philips Stadion. Three days later, Sparta knocked PSV out of the KNVB Beker, following a 3-1 win. Bart Vriends, Zakaria El Azzouzi and Loris Brogno got their names on the score sheet for Sparta, while Bart Ramselaar was on target for PSV.
Only defeat in fourteen games
That was Sparta’s only win against PSV in fourteen games in all competitions, both at home and away. Sparta last savoured the sweet taste of success against PSV on 3 November 2001. Mateja Kezman opened the scoring for PSV, but Sparta fought back and Aron Winter and Danny Koevermans scored a goal each to help Sparta to a 2-1 victory.
After claiming a KNVB Beker win over PSV, Sparta also knocked out Heracles Almelo and FC Volendam before their Cup run ended on 1 March at the semi-final stage, following a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Vitesse. Yet just four days later, Sparta striker Mathias Pogba scored a goal in the first minute to ensure a 1-0 win against leaders Feyenoord.
Three in a row ?
Sparta were then thrashed 5-0 by Vitesse, but registered a 3-1 home win over Heracles Almelo one week before the international break. Sparta would very much like to win three games in a row. They have never managed to achieve this feat since December 2008. PSV will do their very best to prevent this from happening.