Monday, 7 March 2011

Monday Match Report: The best game of the weekend that you may not have seen

SBV Excelsior Rotterdam 2-3 PSV Eindhoven
Dutch Eredivisie
Saturday 3rd March 2011

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This weekend's game saw 21 time Dutch league winners PSV Eindhoven come up against relegation strugglers and relative minnows SBV Excelsior, based in Rotterdam, and fighting for survival in the Eredivisie having been promoted last season. Many would have expected a PSV walkover, for the Dutch giants to effortlessly flex their muscles prior to their Europa League tie against Scottish club Rangers, which will be played in the Phillips Stadion this Thursday. However, and for the benefit of football fans around the world, it wasn't quite as simple as this for PSV, who were made to work for the three points, scoring a couple of tremendous goals in the process.

It was the home side who unexpectedly and against the run of play took the lead in this one, after PSV had gifted the boys in red and black the ball, a cross from the left wing was headed in by striker Guyon Fernandez, who somehow managed to beat the giant Swedish 'keeper Andreas Isaksson in the air, and find the roof of the visitors' net. It took until after the break for the pre-match favourites to level things up at Stadion Woudestein, Dutch winger Jeremain Lens outfoxing the Excelsior defender just inside the area, before his lofted cross deceived the home goalkeeper and found the back of the net, to the surprise and consternation of many, and sheer delight of the PSV supporters.

Canadian international Atiba Hutchinson, winner of 51 caps for the Canucks, then took over goal scoring duties for PSV, scoring by far the best goal of the game. Starting the move himself, Hutchinson was fed on the left hand side, nutmegging one on his path to goal, before lofting the ball over Nico Pellatz, having been unchallenged by the Excelsior defenders, who presumably had decided that such an incredible run deserved to be admired. With this goal coming just three minutes after Lens' strike, one could have forgiven Excelsior for being rather deflated and demurely slumping to a 3-1 or even 4-1 defeat. Yet clearly the hosts hadn't read the script.

Hutchinson turned from hero to villain in the 90th minute, handling Guyon Fernandez' shot at almost point black range, allowing midfielder Edwin de Graaf to slot home from the penalty spot after much deliberation and 'debate' with the referee from the PSV players. Yet their indignation soon turned to ecstasy as Excelsior kindly provided the Dutch giants with a convenient late winner. Pellatz, already humiliated by Hutchinson's delicious chip for PSV's second, then inexplicably felled substitute Danny Koevermans in the box. Hungarian winger Balazs Dzsudzsak kept his head, and placed the ball in the left hand corner, Pellatz already having dived to the right, in the 93rd minute to seal an incredible win for PSV, and decide this engrossing contest. The result keeps Excelsior third from bottom on 22 points, but means PSV are three points ahead of last season's league winners FC Twente, with the vital clash against Rangers looming.

Photos courtesy of (in order): Goal, Voet Balzone, The Soccer Room, Soccerway

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