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PSV Eindhoven defender Alex said he had never played a game quite like it after scoring for both sides in the Dutch champions' 1-1 UEFA Champions League draw with Arsenal FC on Tuesday.
The Brazilian's 58th-minute own goal had swung the momentum of a tight first knockout round tie Arsenal's way, but he hit back in the best way possible with a powerful header seven minutes from time to send PSV through to the quarter-finals 2-1 on aggregate. "This is the first time I've had a match like this," the 24-year-old told uefa.com. "I don't think there are many players who can tell a story like this one. I'm just really happy I was able to get the goal back for us. You cannot explain what it's like to score a goal like that. I knew as it went in just how important it was."
Defeat would have been hard on the centre-back, whose determined display in Eindhoven had kept Arsenal off the scoresheet in a first leg the London side had largely dominated. Built like a heavyweight boxer, Alex epitomised the fight in a defiant PSV team again in London and Ronald Koeman's side seemed to have weathered the worst of Arsenal's storm when Alex was unfortunate to deflect a corner into his own goal. Remarkably, the centre-back had also scored an own goal the last time PSV played Arsenal in London, which condemned the Dutch side to a 1-0 group-stage defeat in September 2004.
On this occasion, however, he got the chance to make amends 25 minutes later, climbing highest to connect with Edison Méndez's free-kick from the left to send a header past Jens Lehmann in the Arsenal goal. "No one said anything after the own goal, they were very sad just like me, but when I scored at the right end of the pitch my team-mates were happy for me and told me I'd put things right. We were feeling confident. We were playing better in the second half, particularly in midfield, and were making chances."
Midfielder Timmy Simons led the chorus of praise for the burly defender. "He takes the team to a higher level," Simons told uefa.com. "The own goal was unlucky, he couldn't do anything about it. Then scoring in the last five minutes was an enormous relief." With PSV on a high, Simons does not mind who they meet next. "We had a lot of confidence before this game, so nothing has changed," he said. "
We've played a lot of great teams in the past and it doesn't matter who we meet now."
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