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Alex earns PSV a 1-0 win over FC Groningen (

24 feb 2007 - Source:

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It took blood, sweat and tears, but PSV eventually managed to snatch a crucial 1-0 win over FC Groningen in the Philips Stadium on Saturday night, after Alex had finally broken the deadlock with five minutes remaining. It may have been of the most vital wins of the season, ahead of Sunday afternoon’s clash between nearest rivals AZ and Ajax.
PSV by no means put in their best display of the season, but were rewarded for their fighting spirit in the closing stages, bagging all three points. FC Groningen, who were forced to defend deeply, refused to surrender, until Alex delivered a header that earned PSV a late victory. The defending champions can now lean back, holding an eight-point cushion over second-placed Ajax who will lock horns with third-placed AZ in Alkmaar tomorrow afternoon. PSV will extend their lead over one or maybe both fellow title contenders at any rate. FC Groningen deserve credit for a fine performance that almost earned them one point. PSV coach Ronald Koeman had made three changes to the team that beat Arsenal FC 1-0 last Tuesday. Afellay, Alcides and Farfán started against FC Groningen at the expense of Kromkamp, Da Costa and Tardelli, while Salcido, Alex en Alcides were deployed in an all Latin American three-man defence. Koeman’s choice to field as many as five midfielders bore fruit, as PSV dominated the game, enjoyed most possession and started a great many moves. The Eindhoven outfit put pressure on the FC Groningen defence, but did not create many chances. FC Groningen realised they could be caught on the break, if they conceded too much space and that’s why they played a compact defence. Once in possession, Ron Jans’ team patiently exchanged passes, always keeping players behind the ball. Both teams played a low- tempo game which sprang into life for a moment, when the home crowd started to boo FC Groningen striker Suárez, who, they thought, indulged in time-wasting, after he had been fouled by Alex. The PSV centre back also delivered a fine header on target.
After the break Afellay and Farfán tested Roorda with shots on target, but the FC Groningen keeper was not impressed. With time running out, the home fans were getting nervous, but they kept hope, as one goal would be decisive. Väyrynen and Sun left the bench to replace Afellay and Culina. The Finnish midfielder soon got a chance, but sent his effort wide of the goal. Groningen sensed they could pull off a stunning draw and took their time at set pieces, whereas PSV were getting impatient. Ten minutes from time Koeman brought on Jan Kromkamp for Edison Mendez, after Suárez had delivered a fine shot. The deadlock was broken with eighty-five minutes on the clock. Farfán took another corner kick and Alex, The Tank, headed the ball down at the far post, taking his season’s tally to five goals. Huge sighs of relief were breathed in the Philips Stadium, after which PSV were made to work hard until the final whistle.