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Spurs v PSV Eindhoven, 06.03.08


Farfan, 34

Attendance: - 33,259

Referee: - Mr. S. Lannoy (France)

Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Chimbonda, Woodgate, King (Capt.) (sub Taarabt, 73), Gilberto (sub O’Hara, 46); Lennon, Jenas (sub Huddlestone, 63), Zokora, Malbranque; Berbatov, Keane
(Keane received armband from King when substituted)
Subs not used: - Cerny; Lee, Dawson; Tainio

Booked: - Gilberto, Chimbonda, Berbatov

PSV (4-2-3-1):- Gomes; Kromkamp, Marcellis, Salcido, Eduardo (Alcides); Simons (Capt.), Mendez; Farfan (sub Dzsudzsak, 84), Culina, Afellay (sub Bakkal, 90); Koevermans (sub Lazovic, 77)

Subs not used: - Roorda; Rajkovic, Zonneveld; Aissati

Booked: - Farfan

Spurs whipped up a frenzy of support, with the pre-kick-off parade of the Carling Cup by non-squad members Gareth Bale and Chris Gunter, but it was not enough to enable a winning performance by Spurs last night. Having lost their first home European game in 20 years earlier this season, it happened for a second time in 5 months as PSV continued their record of success in North London. This time last year, the Dutch side put paid to the Champions League hopes of Arsenal, and whilst it is only half-time in this tie, they must be favourites to go through to the quarter-finals.

Spurs fielded the strongest side they had available, with Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate returning in central defence, Chimbonda at home at right back, and Gilberto making his debut at left back. That debut was to be marred by a poor error that gifted PSV’S goal to the man of the match Jefferson Farfan, who was a thorn in the side of Spurs all night. Gilberto had also taken a booking for a cynical foul when left in the lurch by a Zokora error, and at half-time was replaced by Jamie O’Hara.

Spurs kept goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes busy all night, and he made several decent saves, but despite their endeavours, Spurs lacked imagination for a lot of the game and relied too often on the long ball, with Jenas and Zokora being ineffective against the well-organised PSV midfield. The fact is that there was a discernible difference in pedigree between the two sides. PSV are on target for the Champions League next season, and their five man midfield dominated when it came to quality possession. Juande Ramos’s attacking intentions for the second half left a worrying gap on Jamie O’Hara’s flank which was often exploited by the pact runners of PSV.

PSV skipper Timmy Simons was partnered by Ecuadorian Edison Mendez at the back of the midfield, with Farfan, Culina and Afellay supporting lone striker and top scorer for PSV – Danny Koevermans. The two sides cancelled each other out for the opening phase, and nearly a quarter of an hour had passed before the first resemblance of a chance, which came for the visitors when former Liverpool defender Jan Kromkamp crossed from the right and Farfan tested Paul Robinson with his quickly taken shot. Spurs responded with an attack where Malbranque was fouled by his opposing number 15 – the Australian Culina. Jenas floated in the free kick and Woodgate back-headed towards the top corner where Gomes collected with ease.

Gilberto got that early booking after Zokora had been caught out by a quick break, and Farfan’s powerful free kick was deflected by the wall for a corner. Malbranque and Gilberto showed skill and determination to work the ball to the edge of the PSV box, and when Malbranque just let the ball run a little too far, it fell back to Gilberto who hit a shot a yard wide of the post. All had been going reasonably well for the debut boy, including an Atouba-like clearance from just outside the box, but it all went wrong when he collected the ball just inside the box, and should have cleared comfortably. Instead he gifted it to Farfan, who made no mistake with his right foot shot beyond Robinson.

In the remainder of the first half, Spurs started to play with the sort of passion that might have earnt them a result. Keane fed Malbranque for an effort which was deflected for a corner, and soon after Berbatov sent Lennon away with a great ball from just inside the PSV half. Berbatov received the return pass and sent a deep ball to Malbranque at the back of the area, whose shot was saved by Gomes – conceding another corner. Woodgate had another headed chance which went wide soon after, from a Jenas cross Then Malbranque was involved in a great move after receiving from Gilberto. Malbranque created a great opening but fired wide. Just before the break, Robbie Keane won the ball from a Robinson clearance, and whilst he felt he was being impeded, his shot was pushed out for a corner by that man Gomes.

Soon after the re-start, Berbatov was fouled about 25 yards out Jenas’s free kick reached Malbranque and Lennon beyond the far post. Lennon crossed and Berbatov’s effort was wide. A flowing move involving Chimbonda, Lennon and Berbatov ended with a Berbatov cross/shot from an angle on the right, which passed wide. PSV broke forward to good effect, with effective passing from the back, and Farfan passed inside from the right channel to the advancing Afellay, whose shot went wide.

Jenas had gone down injured during this move and had to be stretchered off, replaced by Huddlestone. A Huddlestone free kick was blocked and fell to Berbatov, who chipped a ball over the defence. Chimbonda had a great chance with a free header, but could only manage to loop it over the bar. Ledley King was replaced by Taarabt, and whilst Ramos was clearly being adventurous, the defensive three looked a little frail, consisting of Chimbonda, Woodgate and O’Hara, whose flank was open to exploitation. Zokora sat in front of those three, and at last Lennon got further forward with Huddlestone, Taarabt and Malbranque trying to drive on Keane and Berbatov.

Spurs attempts came more from desperation though, rather than judgement. PSV attacked down the right and Robinson had to make a fingertip save from Farfan’s shot. Chimbonda had to make two important defensive clearances – one with his head, and the other with feet. Spurs best effort came after a long ball by Taarabt to Jamie O’Hara on the left. O’Hara smashed a driven cross/shot that passed a yard in front of the post, with Berbatov lunging to try and make contact. PSV did get the ball into the net after Robinson saved from Afellay, but the effort was correctly ruled offside.

Spurs had an effort apiece from Berbatov and Keane in the closing stages, but PSV safely saw out time, and take a slender advantage and a clean sheet home for next Wednesday’s second leg. The PSV fans crowed “Always look on the bright side of life”, but an early goal for Spurs next week could give the tie a wholly different complexion. This game is not over – yet.

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