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Thursday, September 30, 2004 

PSV 1 - 0 Panathinaikos (CL)

It took PSV eighty minutes to overcome tough resistance from a stubborn Greek defence, but then Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink broke the deadlock and by scoring a lucky header he made sure of the first victory in the Champions League current campaign. PSV collected a hard-fought, but deserved 1-0 victory over Panathinaikos in the Eindhoven Philips Stadium.

PSV did not effectively capitalize on the many chances they created against Panathinaikos, who were slow, passive and full of only defensive ideas. The Greeks cannot just take credit for having not conceded a goal until ten minutes from final time; PSV should rather be blamed for not having found the net before against a rather mediocre opponent. So eventually the goal that Vennegoor of Hesselink scored, a header from a corner that deviated off Alex, was welcomed with great relief. The first step towards qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions league, a home win, had been taken.

On eleven minutes PSV earned a big opportunity from a free kick taken by Jefferson Farfán. Two PSV players just could not make contact with the ball, Alex suddenly was completely unmarked, but he did not hit the ball properly and fired wide. After half an hour Wilfred Bouma popped up in front of the Greek goal, but he missed the cross by some inches. Ands five minutes from first half final time John de Jong was put clear, but his effort agonizingly went on the wrong side of the post. PSV got three opportunities and Panathinaikos had nothing whatsoever to offer.

The Greeks attempted to play counter attacks, but they lacked two important ingredients: speed and moving forward when in possession of the ball. They were helpless in attack and actually their only ambition was to grab one point. PSV keeper Gomes was never forced to swing into action in the first forty-five minutes. The game was never stopped for players who were off-side and the simple explanation is that Panathinaikos leaned back and hardly ever crossed the midfield line.

After the break the game continued in the same vein and did not burst into life. PSV surged forward and the opponents from Athens defended in a compact way, intimidating the hosts with a wall of physically strong defenders. On the hour mark winger Farfán was taken off and another striker, Gerald Sibon, came on. He returned from injury by which he was on the sidelines during the sc Heerenveen league game last Saturday. Meanwhile PSV created one chance after another. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, De Jong, Alex and various other players all had a chance to score, but either the final pass was sloppy or the finishing was poor. But then, ten minutes from final time the crowd finally had reason to celebrate. A corner kick was cleared, Mark van Bommel produced another cross; Alex headed the ball on to Vennegoor of Hesselink, who accidentally headed home; 1-0.

The atmosphere in the Eindhoven Philips Stadium was great. Ahead of the game, the popular Dutch singer Guus Meeuwis had sung two songs to warm up the crowd. There was a flag on each seat and the 26, 000 fans were cheering their team and singing songs.

Goal: 80´ Vennegoor of Hesselink

Source: PSV.nl

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