By Jules Marshall at the Philips stadium
Despite a battling display from Panathinaikos FC, a single goal by Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink ten minutes from time was sufficient for PSV Eindhoven to claim the win they needed to get back on track in Group E.
Having lost 1-0 away to Arsenal FC on Matchday 1, Guus Hiddink's side came into tonight's match knowing that victory was imperative to revive their UEFA Champions League hopes. Although Itzhak Shum's team defended valiantly, ten minutes from time Alex's header was deflected in off Vennegoor of Hesselink's shoulder for three important points.
Both sides began the match by packing central midfield to little effect. It was PSV's Ji-Sung Park who showed the way, using space on the right and cutting inside for the first chance of the match on four minutes and threatening again a minute later. The Korean Republic player had another chance on nine minutes, drawing the first save of the match from Konstantinos Chalkias with a prodded effort.
Two minutes later Park was brought down on the edge of the area. Peruvian Jefferson Farfán stepped up and struck a lovely free-kick toward the top left-hand corner but the Panathinaikos goalkeeper tipped it aside, with Vennegoor of Hesselink unable to reach the rebound.
Michalis Konstantinou then appeared to have slipped past Wilfred Bouma in the PSV area on the visitors' first break only to be penalised for handball. That proved to be a rare foray forward for the Greek side, who were largely content to defend for the rest of the half.
PSV continued to hold possession but struggled to break through the Greek lines. However, Mark van Bommel was fouled outside the box, and the resulting free-kick was floated to Bouma on the left, but the defender lost his footing as he attempted to connect. PSV increasingly attacked down both flanks, Alex and Phillip Cocu orchestrating from the back, although Panathinaikos then enjoyed a spell of possession without really threatening.
Glimpses of goal
That changed moments later as Cocu's error let in Ezequiel González for the visitors' most dangerous moment of the first 45 minutes, but the midfield player's long shot flew into the arms of Heurelho Gomes. Play swung straight up the other end, John de Jong touching Cocu's left-wing cross just past the post, before Van Bommel came even closer on the stroke of half-time, flashing a half-volley wide with Chalkias wrong-footed after the goalkeeper had punched clear.
PSV started the second half more positively, forcing two corners and a goalmouth scramble in the first five minutes. The home fans really warmed up as PSV continued to press, but succeeded only in winning another couple of corners. Although Panathinaikos occasionally threatened on the break, with Gerald Sibon replacing Farfán, PSV looked the more likely scorers. Vennegoor of Hesselink almost connected with a right-wing cross, and Park and Van Bommel also went close.
Papadopoulus was withdrawn in favour of defender Nasief Morris with 20 minutes left, as Shum sought to shut the game down, but PSV continued to apply the pressure. Alex came close with a header from Van Bommel's free-kick on 75 minutes and it looked as if the match would end in stalemate.
Then with just ten minutes to go, Vennegoor of Hesselink's powerful strike was palmed wide by Chalkias, but the striker was not to be denied, scoring what proved to be the winning goal from the resulting corner. PSV visit Rosenborg BK on 20 October, with Panathinaikos meeting Arsenal.