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Dark clouds gather for PSV after 4-1 defeat at Ajax (

16 nov 2008 - Source:

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Dark clouds gather for PSV as they suffered an emphatic 4-1 defeat against Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA on Sunday afternoon. The score line may have flattered the hosts, but Huub Stevens and his men were dealt a devastating blow as they suffered their fourth consecutive defeat.
Four consecutive defeats
PSV knew beforehand they would face a tall task in Amsterdam, after suffering defeats against Olympique Marseille, N.E.C. and AZ in their previous three outings. PSV's crisis season continued as they scored just one goal in their past four matches. For some time it looked they could at least snatch a draw at the ArenA, but the revival was short-lived and Ajax coasted to an emphatic victory in the closing stages. The gap between leaders Ajax and defending champions PSV has now been extended to seven points.
First-half report
Ibrahim Afellay and Otman Bakkal returned to the PSV starting line-up. Salcido was partnered in the centre of defence by Maza. Jérémie Bréchet also returned to the squad, but had to make do with a place on the bench. Ajax enjoyed a lively start. Kennedy, left completely unmarked, popped up in the area after only two minutes, but he sent his header wide. PSV looked a bit nervous in the opening stages and could not get going. After twenty minutes PSV were given a scare as Kennedy headed the ball on goal, but keeper Isaksson managed to keep a clean sheet. At the other end, keeper Vermeer kicked the ball at Koevermans, who failed to capitalise on this chance. PSV started their first meaningful move after 25 minutes. Defender Maza combined well with Wuytens, turning provider for Koevermans. PSV's striker was put clear but saw his shot go wide when well-positioned. Suarez gave Ajax a fully deserved lead two minutes later. PSV lost possession in midfield; Rommedahl set up Suarez and the Uruguayan blasted home the opening goal, delivering a terrific blow to PSV, who had put in a far from convincing display; 1-0. The home side came close to doubling their advantage shortly before the half-time interval. Van der Wiel delivered a low cross from the right but Kennedy failed to connect properly, with the goal at his mercy. PSV struggled in the first half. They did not have much of the ball and created very few chances.
Ibrahim Afellay equaliser
With Lazovic, who had replaced Wuytens after 52 minutes, PSV started to take control. The home crowd fell silent seven minutes into the second half, when Ibrahim Afellay put PSV level. Lazovic rushed to the byline and delivered a cross into the path of Bakkal. The midfielder could not connect but Afellay was on hand to tap the ball home; 1-1. Culina was brought on to replace Marcellis, as PSV went in search of the winning goal. They came close to taking the lead when Koevermans had a shot on goal and Afellay just could not pounce on the rebound. Sulejmani, who had returned to full fitness, came on for Ajax, replacing Rommedahl after 61 minutes and the substitution paid dividend thirteen minutes later. The home side had gradually regained the initiative again. Keeper Isaksson denied Emanuelson, but Sulejmani was in the right place to give Ajax the lead for the second time. Ajax wrapped up the game in the78th minute. Suarez unleashed a fierce shot that took a deflection off Pieters, leaving Isaksson with no chance; 3-1. Game, set and match. Ajax were rewarded for their hard work and substitute Leonardo made it four in the dying seconds. After the international midweek break, PSV will play four games at home, starting on Saturday when they entertain Heracles Almelo at the Philips Stadium.