By Mark Bennett in Eindhoven
AS Monaco FC sustained their record of never having suffered defeat against a Dutch side by winning their opening UEFA Champions League Group C match 2-1 at the Philips stadium. Goals from Fernando Morientes and Edouard Cissé gave the French side victory against PSV Eindhoven.
PSV fielded a 4-5-1 formation with the lone striker Mateja Kezman supported by forward-thinking trio Ji-Sung Park, Arjen Robben and Dennis Rommedahl - and the tactic almost paid dividends inside the first five minutes. Mark van Bommel was quick to pounce on a mistake by the French side's defence and the ball broke to Robben, who unleashed a shot that forced Flavio Roma into an early save.
Robben sent a second effort fizzing over the crossbar a minute later as the visitors struggled to settle, but by the quarter-hour mark Monaco had signalled their intent. Cissé found left-back Gaël Givet with a searching ball, but the defender's shot was palmed away by PSV keeper Ronald Waterreus. Seconds later both Morientes and Ludovic Giuly came close but both failed to make contact with Jérôme Rothen's pacy delivery.
With Kezman waving his arms in frustration and both sides stuttering in their attempts to build attacks, Rothen took the game by the scruff of the neck. Just past the half-hour, Waterreus failed to collect the 25-year-old's swinging free-kick and the unmarked Morientes made no mistake with his free header from close range at the far post.
After the interval PSV coach Guus Hiddink tried to increase the pressure on Monaco by bringing on striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink for midfielder Remco van der Schaaf. All of a sudden the Dutch side looked much more settled and looked to prosper aiming high balls at the substitute striker. However, it was the guests who scored the decisive goal. A neat one-two with Morientes left Cissé through with only Waterreus to beat and the summer signing from Paris Saint-Germain FC made no mistake in doubling the lead on 56 minutes.
After looking shaken by the second goal it took a set piece to bring PSV back into the game. Midfield player Park was brought down 19 metres from goal and Wilfred Bouma stepped up to deliver a great curling free-kick that left Roma stranded after 65 minutes. However, there was no way back for PSV against a well-organised French defence, even though Vennegoor of Hesselink hit the post ten minutes from the end.