Rostov withstood a late surge from PSV to earn a goalless draw in Eindhoven that maintained their hold on third place in Group D and took them into the UEFA Europa League.
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Rostov held off a late burst from PSV Eindhoven to claim third place in Group D and a berth in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 at the expense of the Dutch champions.
Needing a win to overtake their opponents, PSV started slowly but gradually came more into the game as the first half wore on, Bart Ramselaar twice firing off target from the edge of the penalty area.
The home side continued to increasingly dominate territory and possession after the interval, but struggled to create clear chances till the last five minutes. Then visiting goalkeeper Soslan Dzhanaev made a reaction stop to deny Siem de Jong before racing out to block from Gastón Pereiro, Vladimir Granat kicking Ramselaar's follow-up effort off the line.
PSV pressed hard in the final moments, but Rostov retreated to their penalty box, stood firm – and their celebrations were long and loud at the final whistle.
Key player: Bart Ramselaar (PSV)
One of PSV's few shining lights. When a shot came, it was more often than not from him, and he was always trying to create space and drive forward when in possession. The 20-year-old was also physical enough to compete with the Rostov midfielders.
PSV pay for cautious start
Phillip Cocu's decision to go with five at the back for the majority of the match was surprising. PSV often seemed outnumbered in the middle of the park, and when they did manage to get the ball up there were still generally three of their defenders hanging back to deal with the threat of Rostov's single striker Sardar Azmoun. A more attack-minded formation from the off may have prompted a different outcome.
Rostov were very much the dark horses in Group D but ultimately acquitted themselves creditably. Their compact, unspectacular style of play worked well, and the two forwards Azmoun and Dmitri Poloz always looked like they could create havoc if given the chance. Their defence were solid and they handled PSV's sporadic attacks with comparative ease.
Derek Brookman (@UEFAcomDerekB)
This has clearly been an extremely disappointing campaign for PSV. After being one of the surprise packages of last season's UEFA Champions League – forcing Manchester United into third place in their group – they couldn't muster a single home win this time, despite having more or less the same team. They struggled to call Rostov keeper Dzhanaev into action until late on, and paid for that lack of cutting edge.