By Matthew Spiro at Stade Abbé-Deschamps
A valuable headed goal from Theo Lucius earned PSV Eindhoven a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their UEFA Cup fourth-round tie against AJ Auxerre after Teemu Tainio had put the French side, who dominated for long periods, in front.
Auxerre lined up with an unfamiliar look to their defence, as injuries to Jean-Alain Boumsong, Philippe Mexes and Johan Radet forced coach Guy Roux to reshuffle. Left-back Jean-Sébastien Jaurès was fit to play, while Stéphane Grichting and Jean-Pascal Mignot were drafted into the centre and Jean-Joël Perrier-Doumbé came in at right-back. PSV started with Mateja Kezman as a lone striker, Lucius and Arjen Robben on the wings and John de Jong in an advanced midfield role.
It was the French side - out to avenge a 3-0 defeat in the UEFA Champions League against the same opponents last season - who started the brighter, creating two chances inside ten minutes. First Tainio latched on to Yann Lachuer's lay-off and had a crisp shot palmed to safety by Ronald Waterreus, then Philippe Violeau's slide-rule pass sent Djibril Cissé racing clear through the centre, but the French international's shot flashed centimetres wide.
With both sides looking to play on the counterattack, neither looked willing to take unnecessary risks and defences appeared to be on top. Cissé almost forged a goal out of nothing on 22 minutes when he chased a hopeful long pass, sprinted past Kevin Hofland and hit a low shot straight at Waterreus.
Robben forced off
PSV looked most dangerous when Robben was in possession and it was hardly a surprise when the winger had the visitors' first shot on 25 minutes, collecting De Jong's low cross and forcing an acrobatic block from Fabien Cool. It was Robben's final contribution, however, as he was carried off minutes later and replaced by Ji-Sung Park.
It was the home side who made the breakthrough, taking the lead ten minutes before the interval thanks to a superb strike from Tainio. Lachuer teased a right-wing cross to the far post and the Finnish midfield player arrived unmarked to send a fierce left-footed volley past Waterreus and into the net.
Auxerre on top
The goal gave the home side an extra spring in their step and they continued to dominate proceedings after the interval. Bonaventure Kalou miscued his volley from the edge of the area two minutes after the restart before the outstanding Tainio stung Waterreus's hands with a powerful low drive. PSV appeared to be growing frustrated as they failed to make any inroads in the Auxerre defence and Waterreus was called into action again on 53 minutes, this time to beat out a Kalou volley.
Waterreus in action
Waterreus looked less convincing on the hour when he completely missed his punch from Kanga Akalé's corner, but there was no Auxerre player on hand to force the ball in. The one-way traffic continued, though, and Cissé was the next to test Waterreus with a powerful free-kick that deflected kindly into the goalkeeper's hands.
But to the dismay of the enthusiastic home support, PSV drew level against the run of play 19 minutes from time. On one of the few occasions that the Dutch team ventured into the Auxerre half, Young-Pyo Lee collected a free-kick and unleashed a shot that looked bound for the top corner before Cool intervened. The Auxerre goalkeeper, however, could only parry the ball into the path of Theo Lucius who gratefully headed in to give PSV the edge ahead of the return in Einhoven in two weeks' time.