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Ibrahim Afellay shone in PSV's 2-0 win over Heracles (

19 aug 2007 - Source:

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PSV got their new campaign off to a perfect start with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Heracles in Almelo on Sunday afternoon. PSV were made to work hard and only claimed three points when Ibrahim Afellay, who was outstanding, scored the opening goal in the closing stages of a very physical encounter. Mike Zonneveld wrapped up the game in the last minute of official time.

Sunday afternoon's game in Almelo was a carbon copy of the encounters in the previous two seasons. Heracles acted like street fighters, using all forms of physical intimidations to give PSV, who missed their forwards Farfán, Lazovic, Perez and defenders Kromkamp and Da Costa, a very hard time. Heracles restricted themselves to defending in the first half, but after the break they created some chances. Ibrahim Afellay was at the end of his tether, but scored a precious opening goal that brought so much relief and turned provider for Mike Zonneveld who extended PSV's lead in injury time. Three PSV substitutes, Conserva Fagner, Jonathan Reis and Slobodan Rajokovic, were all handed league debuts.
With Arouna Koné back in their starting line-up, PSV kicked the new campaign underway in Almelo on Sunday afternoon at 14:30. Koné earned the first genuine chance of the game after eight minutes, but had his effort blocked. The Heracles players made it clear from kick-off what game plan their coach had thought out: battle for every inch of ground, do not concede any space and play a physical and opportunistic game of football. So the PSV players were closely marked and technically skilful players, such as Afellay, Aissati and Bakkal, were frequently the victims of foul play on the artificial turf. Referee Ben Haverkort had shown yellow cards to Maas en De Vries in the first fifteen minutes for fouls committed on Afellay. PSV were attack-minded and, as might have been expected, the hosts played a compact defence, attempting to ward off PSV. They committed a great many fouls and made it hard for PSV. The Eindhoven outfit put on pressure, but lacked clinical finishing and luck was not on their side, either. They dominated proceedings entirely, but failed to make their dominance count. Heracles captain Maas could have been shown a red a card for a nasty challenge on Aissati and Méndez curled the resulting free kick just over the goal. PSV enjoyed the bulk of possession , 61%, in the first period, unleashing ten efforts, seven of them on target.

Heracles had brought on Glusevic at half time, at the expense of De Vries, but it did not change their style of playing football. They were particularly focused on eliminating Afellay at all costs. Koeman made his first change on the hour mark, when the young Brazilian defender Fagner came on to replace Méndez. Heracles became more self- confident by the minute and Gomes was booked for verbal dissent and Addo for unsporting behaviour. Fifteen minutes from time Koeman made another tactical change: Jonathan left the bench to take over from Aissati, With an extra forward, PSV kept on fighting to score a goal, and the tactics bore fruit when Ibrahim Afellay struck a low left-footed shot that beat Heracles goalkeeper Pieckenhagen, crowning a great performance with a great goal. Koeman took off Koné and defender Slobodan Rajkovic was given his first taste of Dutch league football. PSV started a counter attack in injury time and, again, Afellay set up Zonneveld, who put the result beyond doubt with a left-footed shot.