‘Ugly duels you have to win too’

‘Ugly duels you have to win too’

NOS Soccer

Watch the summary of PSV – Fortuna Sittard

PSV took another step toward second place as the final scoring team in the premier league, earning qualification for the preliminary round of the Champions League.

The Eindhoveners brought the extremely difficult home match against Fortuna Sittard to a good end (2-1) thanks to a peal from Xavi Simons in the closing stages.

“Ugly matches you also have to win, this was one,” coach Ruud van Nistelrooij said afterwards.

PSV saw the national title go to Feyenoord this season, having lost many points against the so-called “little ones” especially in the first half of the season.

The Eindhoveners are performing more stable in 2023 (fourteen duels in a row unbeaten), but convincing play is often not yet. Last week, for example, PSV escaped losing points at Sparta Rotterdam.

Little convincing

And also Sunday night at the Philips Stadium, PSV looked anything but convincing before halftime. Fortuna took the lead after only four minutes when striker Paul Gladon was adequate in the rebound with a nifty overhead kick.

PSV then responded with chances for Luuk de Jong (ball behind the stanchion) and Ibrahim Sangaré (header), but breathed a sigh of relief when Iñigo Córdoba’s 0-2 (after fumbling by PSV goalkeeper Walter Benítez) was disallowed for hands.

Premier league standings

Eindhoven’s play remained sluggish and needed the individual quality of De Jong to get to 1-1. The striker popped up at the far post to nod in a tailored cross from Jordan Teze.

But despite the resurgence, Van Nistelrooij had seen enough: things had to change in the second half.

The coach left Teze, Johan Bakayoko and Guus Til in the dressing room for Philipp Mwene, Anwar El Ghazi and Thorgan Hazard, respectively. The changes did not initially lead to better play by PSV, which did develop a huge preponderance.

De Jong knee injury

De Jong was pulled to the side after an hour of play due to problems with his left knee (he immediately received a pack of ice on the leg) and was replaced by Fabio Silva.

Luuk de Jong celebrates his 1-1 for PSV against Fortuna Sittard

Joey Veerman was still close to a goal, but his placed shot on the edge of the sixteen lacked direction. PSV lacked creativity, and a gesture from Veerman (“Who should I play the ball to?”) was telling.

The Philips Stadium became more nervous and nervous, until Simons in the 82nd minute with fine shot from about eighteen meters gave PSV three hard-fought points after all.

And so PSV breathed another sigh of relief after a difficult match. They don’t care about that in Eindhoven, because qualification for the preliminary round of the Champions League is a little closer.

Kayleigh Williams