By Mark Bennett at the Philips stadium
A blistering two-goal first-half performance from Mateja Kezman and a second-half strike from Mark van Bommel saw PSV Eindhoven cruise into the UEFA Cup quarter-finals at AJ Auxerre's expense.
Kezman struck in the fourth minute then again on 27 minutes to put PSV in command and Auxerre were unable to recover from the early blow. PSV captain Van Bommel sealed the success with his side's third goal 17 minutes from the end.
Robben and Cissé injured
Both sides came into the match, following an opening encounter that ended 1-1, hampered by injuries. First-leg goalscorers Theo Lucius and Teemu Tainio both missed out, and PSV coach Guus Hiddink also had to do without his influential winger Arjen Robben, who has a torn hamstring. Auxerre striker Djibril Cissé was forced to sit out with a bruised foot.
Despite only needing a goalless draw to qualify for the quarter-finals, Hiddink fielded an attacking 4-3-3 formation while Auxerre coach Guy Roux took a more careful approach with his side lining up 4-4-1-1.
Kezman strikes early
In the opening minutes PSV cleverly spread the ball around the park, probing for the weaknesses in the French side's defence and their early pressure paid off after only four minutes. Kezman broke down the left wing and found Ji-Sung Park in front of goal. The winger was pressured off the ball by the Auxerre goalkeeper Fabien Cool, but Kezman gathered the rebound and struck to put the home side ahead.
Auxerre hit back
Only two minutes after falling behind, Auxerre sent a warning to PSV, Lionel Mathis shooting from inside the area only to be denied by Ronald Waterreus in the PSV goal. In the following minutes Olivier Kapo was the man to watch, especially when PSV gave him the room to run at their defence down the right.
Kezman doubles up
But just when Auxerre had settled and were starting to look dangerous, PSV struck for a second time. The French side failed to clear a Young-Pyo Lee cross, which was too deep for Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink at the far post, but fell for Kezman who fired in his second goal of the night off the outstretched hand of Cool then the post on 27 minutes.
Kapo comes close
Auxerre pressed forward after the goal, but without really threatening until the closing seconds of the first half when Kapo lunged at a cross from Jean-Joël Perrier-Doumbé, but sent his header wide.
Despite his side now needing two goals to prevail, Roux made no changes at half-time. His counterpart Hiddink also stuck with the same XI that had impressed before the break, but this time they were forced to defend more deeply as Auxerre pressed from the restart.
Auxerre push forward
In the early minutes of the second half the visiting side looked more willing to push players forward, but their attempts were repelled by the well-organised Dutch defence. PSV were well in charge and content to sit back in defence and wait for chances on the break.
Van Bommel seals victory
Even with time ticking away Auxerre failed to pose a serious threat and PSV made sure of their place in the quarter-finals 17 minutes from the end. This time Van Bommel proved too quick for the Auxerre defence on the break and sealed a well-deserved victory that had been put beyond doubt by Kezman's double strike in the first half.