PSV takes deserved win over Sparta and delays Feyenoord championship for at least a week
Watch the summary of Sparta – PSV
PSV ensured that Feyenoord cannot secure the Eredivisie championship until next week at the earliest. The Eindhoveners recorded a difficult but deserved victory against Sparta at Het Kasteel: 0-1.
Feyenoord now cannot secure their 16th national title until next week, provided they manage to win the upcoming duels with Excelsior (May 7 at Kralingen) and Go Ahead Eagles (May 14 at De Kuip).
PSV appeared to have left the revelry of winning the KNVB Cup behind them at the start of the match. Coach Ruud van Nistelrooij’s team started nicely and had chances through Xavi Simons (shot wide), Guus Til (saving Sparta goalkeeper Nick Olij) and Ramalho (header).
But after 15 minutes Sparta got better into the game and PSV slumped. The Spartans looked more dangerous, but very big chances did not create the number five of the premier league.
The best Rotterdam opportunity came in the name of left back Mica Pinto, who shot just wide of PSV goalkeeper Walter Benítez’s goal with a flaming diagonal effort.
Bakayoko gets angry faces
PSV had two opportunities in the otherwise lame first half from both sides just before halftime through Joey Veerman (shot into Olij’s hand) and Johan Bakayoko, who saw his attempt blocked. It earned Bakayoko angry faces from Veerman and Simons, who were in more promising positions.
That selfishness was perhaps the straw for coach Van Nistelrooij, as he left Bakayoko in the dressing room for Anwar El Ghazi after the first half. Jordan Teze was also replaced at halftime.
PSV screws up tempo, Silva important again
In the second half, Til was close to the opening goal, but the PSV player came a toe length short of tapping in at the goal line. The Eindhoven players continued to play shaky soccer and the substitution after an hour of play of the invisible captain Luuk de Jong was exemplary.
PSV screwed up the pace again in the last 20 minutes and became increasingly dangerous. First it was Érick Gutiérrez who shot wide after a clever ball from Simons.
Moments later El Ghazi crowned his appearance by scoring from the rebound after preparatory work by the strong substitute Fábio Silva, who again played an important role for PSV after his decisive penalty in the cup final.
Supported by the lead, PSV then lurked on the counter and allowed Sparta to come forward. The Rotterdammers did appear in front of the Eindhoven goal a couple of times, but lacked the conviction to make things really difficult for PSV in the closing stages.
Just before time, PSV breathed a sigh of relief when the Sparta striker Koki Saito, who broke through after an inadvertent header by Ramalho, shot wide of PSV goalkeeper Benítez.
El Ghazi: ‘Difficult to get sharp again’
Matchwinner El Ghazi admitted afterwards that it has been quite difficult to regain focus after the double win over Ajax (premier league and KNVB cup final. “I’m very honest, that’s just very difficult. It has to do with your mindset,” the striker said.
“But we also know that life goes on. We are still playing for preliminary round Champions League. This is also part of professional soccer. If we had lost, we would have gone home with a bad feeling, so we knew what to do,” El Ghazi said.
Watch reactions from Anwar El Ghazi, Ruud van Nistelrooij, Maurice Steijn and Adil Auassar below:
Van Nistelrooij was pleased with how PSV managed to hold their own at Het Kasteel and praised his substitutes in particular. “I thought Phillipp Mwene and Anwar El Ghazi filled in excellently, and Fábio Silva again.”
He was not surprised that PSV’s level was volatile. “Everyone is struggling here,” Van Nistelrooij said. “We put in an excellent performance today. Especially in the second half we scored a deserved goal and also took home the win deservedly.”