It was a classic game of two halves at the Philips Stadium as PSV Eindhoven threatened to overwhelm CFR 1907 Cluj before the break in their UEFA Europa League Group K tie, yet ended up hanging on grimly to their one-goal advantage as the visitors outplayed them for most of the second period.
Key to the flow of the game was the intriguing tussle between PSV left-winger Balázs Dzsudzsák and the visitors' right-back Tony. Before the break it was the Hungarian who constantly came out on top, creating space for himself to launch numerous dangerous balls into the box and fire in a couple of goal attempts as well. However, in the second half it was the Portuguese defender who held the upper hand, nullifying many of Dzsudzsák's runs and frequently overlapping to supply the ammunition for the CFR forwards.
One of those, Lacina Traoré, rued his side's shortcomings on the night. "We didn't press them tightly enough in the first half, and lacked accuracy in the many chances we created in the second," said the 19-year-old Ivory Coast target man, who became increasingly problematic for the PSV defence as the game progressed. "But we still have three points and a good chance of going through."
Otman Bakkal, scorer of the game's only goal - a fine header from a Dzsudzsák cross – was not entirely surprised at how the game went. "It isn't that easy to play as well as we did in the first 45 minutes, so you can't automatically expect to be equally dominant after half-time," he said. "It's hard to identify one single reason why things went that way, but I think in general we just got sloppy and gave the ball away too easily. We also created less space and dropped back too far."
Fellow midfielder Orlando Engelaar felt his team made their own problems. "We combined well in the beginning and created a lot of really good chances. We should have been out of sight, but in the end we can count ourselves lucky they didn't equalise." Nonetheless, he left the stadium with a feeling of contentment. "We a kept clean sheet and recorded a victory, and also took an important step towards qualification for the next stage. In the end, that's what counts."
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