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PSV left empty-handed in Nijmegen. (

7 apr 2007 - Source:

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PSV’s hopes of retaining the title have been hugely dented after they slipped to a 2-1 defeat against N.E.C. in Nijmegen on Saturday night. Ronald Koeman’s team were unable to rise to the occasion and they were deservedly beaten. Brett Holman scored a double in the first period, while Phillip Cocu pulled one back for PSV after the break.
If Ajax take all three points against RKC Waalwijk on Sunday, they will be on top of the table, with the same number of points as PSV. The Eindhoven outfit have only themselves to blame, for they put in a poor and unconvincing first-half display against N.E.C. PSV hardly ever threatened and did not resemble a top-of-the-table team that was most anxious to win the game at all costs. With three games remaining, the future does not look too bright for PSV. PSV’s attacking options were strengthened with the return of Arouna Koné and Jefferson Farfán to the starting line-up. John de Jong and talented youngster Género Zeefuik started on the bench, while Phillip Cocu partnered Manuel da Costa in the heart of defence. Mika Väyrynen soon created danger from PSV’s first attack of note and minutes later Koné got a chance, but at the other end N.E.C. showed more attacking impetus. Romano Denneboom had already had two efforts on target, when the hosts opened the scoring after 22 minutes. Roy Beerens, on loan with N.E.C. from PSV, turned provider for Brett Holman and the Australian, who was left unmarked, slotted home the opener; 1-0. PSV were sloppy, when they were enjoying possession and were completely rattled when N.E.C. doubled their lead just two minutes later. Gomes saved a Romano Denneboom effort, but Holman pounced on the rebound, tapping home from close range; 2-0. Neither PSV nor the home crowd could believe their eyes: N.E.C., who had suffered 1-0 defeats in their two previous games against Willem II and Excelsior, had taken a stunning 2-0 lead over top-of-the-table PSV. While dark clouds gathered above the McDos Goffert Stadium for the defending champions, Ronald Koeman intervened and brought on Patrick Kluivert for Jason Culina after 34 minutes, playing three strikers. Da Costa was cautioned for hacking down Beerens. Denneboom, again, got a great opportunity to score, but sent his effort across the goal and seconds later Gomes did well to deny a N.E.C. forward.
Koeman made a second substitution at half time: Eric Addo replaced Mika Väyrynen, so captain Phillip Cocu moved up to a midfield position. It did not pay dividends the first ten minutes and Denneboom got another few opportunities to extend N.E.C.’s lead. A long range effort by Cocu and a header by Farfán were about all PSV had to offer and Gomes avoided an even more embarrassing scoreline by pulling off some saves. On the hour mark Timmy Simons set up Cocu, who started a fine run before his left-footed shot beat N.E.C. goalkeeper Babos; 2-1. PSV moved forward, but did not create any clear-cut chances. PSV played four strikers in the closing stages, after Género Zeefuik had come on for Da Costa in a desperate bid to snatch one points. But PSV were left empty-handed and may need much time to reflect on what has gone wrong.