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Manolev cameo inspires PSV past Rapid

PSV Eindhoven 2-1 FC Rapid Bucureşti
A much-changed PSV side rounded off their Group C campaign in victorious fashion thanks largely to the intervention of Stanislav Manolev.

Marcel Ritzmaier (right) takes on Rapid defender Rui Duarte
Marcel Ritzmaier (right) takes on Rapid defender Rui Duarte ©Getty Images

Stanislav Manolev and Tim Matavž scored in the last quarter of an hour as PSV Eindhoven extended their unbeaten home record in European competition to 17 matches with victory over FC Rapid Bucureşti.

On the field for five minutes, Manolev unleashed a swerving shot that went through substitute goalkeeper Catalin Straton, before turning provider to teed up Matavž. Daniel Pancu's added-time effort was mere consolation for Rapid, who finish bottom of Group C.

Assured of top spot, Fred Rutten named a youthful PSV XI with 20-year-old debutant Stefano Marzo at right-back. Perhaps sensing an opportunity to exploit such inexperience, Rapid began purposefully, forcing three corners in as many minutes early on.

It was from a PSV delivery, however, that the game's first major incident occurred. Rapid's Dănuţ Coman received a cut to the head in a collision with team-mate Cássio and the hosts' Marcelo which resulted in the keeper being bandaged up and then replaced a few minutes later by Straton.

Before he departed, though, Coman was relieved to see the covering Rui Duarte take the ball off Matavž's toes with a perfectly timed-tackle, while 18-year-old midfielder Marcel Ritzmaier snatched at a chance when in space on the edge of the area.

In a further blow to Rapid, Romeo Surdu also hobbled off before the break. Răzvan Lucescu would have cursed his luck further had Vladimir Božović not denied Jeremain Lens with a last-ditch block. Having saved his team once already, Duarte repeated the feat before the hour with a goal-line clearance after Ritzmaier's corner.

The Rapid net was breached, though; twice in the closing stages. Pancu's late follow-up, after Ciprian Deac's shot had rebounded off a post, made for an exciting finish. PSV will discover their UEFA Europa League round of 32 opponents when the draw is made on Friday.