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Edison Mendez goal boosts PSV hopes (

23 feb 2007 - Source:

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PSV pulled off a great result with a fine 1-0 win over Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League First Knockout Round first leg in the Philips Stadium on Tuesday night. Edison Mendez unleashed a fierce low shot that beat Arsenal keeper Lehman on the hour mark. PSV will meet Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in London for the return leg in two weeks’ time.
The party atmosphere at the Philips Stadium was terrific, with the closing day of carnival coinciding with the match. And PSV were not in awe of their English opponents. Arsenal fielded a team without any English players. The home crowd enjoyed the first entertaining moment of the game, when Phillip Cocu was put clear. The PSV captain, though, failed to connect with Diego Tardelli who deputized for Jefferson Farfán. The Peruvian striker had not recovered yet from his injury and did not start on the bench, either. Arsenal created their first real chance after fifteen minutes. Tomas Rosicky was put through by Thierry Henry, but Gomes made a brilliant save from Tomas Rosicky’ slow shot, after which Carlos Salcido hacked clear. Arsenal controlled the game and occasionally upped a gear, hoping to create an opening with their one-touch passing game. They rapidly switched from defence to attack, exchanging neat passes. PSV held on, backed by a solid defence, and attempted to move forward at times. Their forwards were marked by physically strong defenders, so PSV tried their luck with some long-distance efforts. After the break the game continued in the same vein. It was an equally contested affair, with Arsenal enjoying most possession of the ball. Yet the stadium erupted, when Edison Mendez PSV finally broke the deadlock on the hour mark with a stunning strike into the corner of the net. Lehmann dived at full length, but could not touch the ball. The vociferous PSV home crowd came to life again, feeling confident PSV could get a good result. After Philippe Senderos had been booked for clumsily handling the ball, Ronald Koeman brought on Xiang Sun for Da Costa after 66 minutes, the first Chinese player ever to appear in the Champions League. Sun played at left back, so Salcido moved to the heart of defence.
Gomes made his mark in the closing stages by pulling off some fine saves. The PSV stopper stretched to full length to tip over a Fabregas effort. At the other end Mendez got a chance, but had his shot blocked by a defender. While time was running out for Arsenal, Mika Väyrynen came on for Tardelli. PSV worked hard to hold on to their lead and Arsenal could not find a way through. After the final whistle had gone, PSV left the pitch to a standing ovation of the home fans, who may feel justified to continue Carnival celebrations into the small hours.