PSV Eindhoven and Atlético Madrid played out the only 0-0 draw in the eight first legs and match reporter Derek Brookman picks out the reasons why the stalemate ensued.
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With Atlético Madrid sturdy as ever in defence but currently struggling to convert chances into goals, a 0-0 UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg draw at PSV Eindhoven was always going to be a likely outcome. But we dig deeper to reveal five reasons why the game ended in stalemate.
PSV's keeper was in excellent form and presented a formidable barrier for the visiting strikers. One save in particular in the first half was top class. Antoine Griezmann burst through the PSV defence and bore down on goal. Zoet stood his ground, remained calm and managed to palm clear an attempted flick by the French international. The 25-year-old shot-stopper was beaten twice, however, but the first time Jeffrey Bruma scampered back and cleared Luciano Vietto's attempt from the line, and in the second half Diego Godín's headed goal from a corner was ruled out correctly because of climbing by the Atlético defender.
Neutralising Jetro Willems
Juanfran was always looking for an opportunity to rove up the right flank, and – especially in the first half – created several opportunities to get in a cross. His overlapping meant that PSV's Jetro Willems, who himself likes to get forward at every opportunity and cross into the box, was pinned back more than he would have liked. This helped neutralise one of the homes side's most important attacking weapons. Willems' lack of match fitness – this was only his second start in more than six months – also reduced his effectiveness.
No Luuk de Jong
The suspension of the PSV captain seemed to have a profound effect on his team. Not only did they lack their main goal threat, they also missed a secure target for balls out of defence. The Dutch champions' forwards surrendered possession too frequently, and often could not hold up the ball long enough to let the midfielders become involved. As a result, too few genuine chances were created. De Jong's return for the second leg in Madrid could be telling.
Maturity in the home defence
Arsène Wenger described some of his players as 'naïve' as basic mistakes caused Arsenal to turn what was a credible 0-0 against Barcelona after 70 minutes into a 2-0 defeat on Tuesday. Phillip Cocu was determined not to let the same thing happen. After Gastón Pereiro's dismissal for a second yellow card after 68 minutes the home side regrouped and dug in. Despite incessant pressure from the visitors in the last 20 minutes, Zoet did not have a huge amount of crucial saves to make. It was a mature defensive performance.
We're only halfway
Diego Simeone's men could have gone for the jugular after Pereiro received his marching orders, committing more players to attack and taking risks in order to score that oh-so-crucial away goal. Yet, although they were dominant, Atlético certainly were not reckless. They too realised it was prudent to guard against conceding. In the end both coaches can probably be fairly satisfied with the outcome, and can also be realistically optimistic about their chances of progressing to the quarter-finals on 15 March.