Playmaker Balázs Dzsudzsák once again underlined his value to PSV Eindhoven with a clinical last-minute strike that earned his side a point against UC Sampdoria in UEFA Europa League Group I.
After a lacklustre first 45 minutes in which the Serie A team scored through Fabrizio Cacciatore, the hosts created chance after chance in the second half. However, a combination of good goalkeeping, sloppy finishing and a lack of luck – Ibrahim Afellay's drive hit the inside of the post – looked set to condemn them to a painful defeat on this opening UEFA Europa League evening.
Dzsudzsák had other ideas. "
We did everything to win and deserved the point," the Hungarian international said. "In the first half we couldn't work out how to get in behind their defence and we gave the ball away too often. At half-time the trainer told us to raise the tempo, get crosses in earlier and have more shots on goal. It was a great feeling to score, especially because it was with my right foot."
Team-mate Marcus Berg acknowledged it had been a hard-fought contest. "Sampdoria had a bit of fortune when they scored, and after that we knew they would play defensively so in the end a point is better than none," said the forward. "It's difficult to play against defences like theirs but we still managed to create chances."
Reto Ziegler, Sampdoria's full-back, was not too downbeat about the outcome. "The result is OK, because they played well in the second half," he told UEFA.com. However, he did question his side's mental sharpness. "We had the same against Werder Bremen, conceding in the last minute [in the UEFA Champions League play-offs], so that's something we need to change. It's concentration. The game isn't over until the referee blows his whistle."
Dzsudzsák remained positive despite dropping two valuable points at home. "I think Sampdoria and PSV are the best teams in the group, although I hear the Ukrainian team [FC Metalist Kharkiv] won 5-0 this evening [against Debreceni VSC]," he said. "We play there in two weeks and if we win then Sampodoria and ourselves will go through."
Ziegler also predicted better results to come. "We can beat PSV at home, we play really good football there and I don't remember the last time we lost in our own stadium. I'm confident for the return."
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