PSV Eindhoven will not bask for long in the glory of Tuesday's crucial UEFA Champions League win against Fenerbahçe SK. On Sunday, the Dutch champions and Eredivisie leaders visit Rotterdam to play challengers Feyenoord in a game that could help determine the 2005/06 title race.
Goals from captain Phillip Cocu and Jefferson Farfán saw off the Turkish champions at the Philips stadium, and booked PSV's passage to the knockout rounds for the second year running. Now Guus Hiddink's men turn their attentions to retaining their domestic crown in arguably their most difficult local contest of the season.
The match at De Kuip represents a collision between an irresistible force and an immovable object. Feyenoord are Eredivisie top scorers with 39 goals from 14 games - their striking tandem of Dirk Kuijt and Salomon Kalou registering 15 between them. PSV, on the other hand, have the best defensive record, having conceded just nine league goals. It was this much-trumpeted rearguard that stood firm in midweek against the threat of Nicolas Anelka and his Fenerbahçe colleagues.
No single chance
"Fenerbahçe had a lot of possession but didn't create a single clear-cut chance," said PSV's Dutch international Theo Lucius. "I thought we gave the ball away too easily in the first half, and also conceded quite a few corners, but overall we had the better of the game and deserved to win. To be honest, I actually thought they would pressurise us more after going a goal down."
Winning for Frits
Tuesday was special for local boy Lucius in another way too - marking a fitting tribute to PSV's 100-year-old patriarch Frits Philips who died on the eve of the big match. "The death of Frits Philips was a great loss. I come from around here, so I know what he meant to PSV and to Eindhoven. You could hear from the supporters just how much he meant to them. So it was especially nice to win."
Defender André Ooijer, a rock upon which Turkish attacks floundered, was quick to praise his team-mates. "Ismaïl Aisatti again did very well when he came on as a substitute, but I can't think of anyone in our team who didn't do what he had to. Michael Lamey was playing at left back, which is not easy for a naturally right-footed player, and did wonderfully well. And Robert put in a great shift at outside left, which isn't his normal position either."
The focus now for this talented PSV team is resurgent Feyenoord. Erwin Koeman's side, currently joint second alongside AZ Alkmaar, will move level on points with PSV should they win. The irony would be if PSV's European exertions contributed to their downfall in Rotterdam.
Feyenoord have seen PSV and AFC Ajax progress into the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 – and undoubtedly want a piece of the action next time. Victory on Sunday would be a significant step towards realising that ambition. PSV have been warned.
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