UEFA Cup – PSV complete Spurs smash and grab
Juande Ramos’s hopes of a historic UEFA Cup treble took a big dent as Tottenham lost 1-0 to PSV Eindhoven at White Hart Lane.
Jefferson Farfan‘s first-half goal gave the Dutch side a crucial away goal and handed Spurs only their third ever home defeat in European competition.
Brazilian full-back Gilberto, making his Tottenham debut, had a game to forget as his uncertainty in possession on 34 minutes allowed Farfan to steal the ball off him and fire past Paul Robinson to earn his side the advantage going into next week’s second leg.
Tottenham had the vast majority of early possession but the Dutch champions always looked capable of hitting them on the break. And so it proved on 15 minutes when Edison Mendez dispossessed Steed Malbranque in midfield and initiated a quick move that culminated in Farfan’s first-time shot which was straight at Robinson.
On 26 minutes another PSV break led to Farfan beating Gilberto for pace, forcing the former Hertha Berlin man to haul the striker down in desperation. Only Ledley King‘s presence on the edge of the area prevented the resulting yellow card being a red one. Farfan’s well-struck free kick curled round the Tottenham wall but was wide of Robinson’s goal.
Gilberto could have atoned for that error just two minutes later as he pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the area that he struck first-time, only to see it curl over the bar.
After the goal, Tottenham raised their game and Malbranque had a good effort deflected off-target before Jonathan Woodgate glanced a free header wide.
The home side then produced a wonderful one-touch move that involved the otherwise underwhelming Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane, Aaron Lennon and Malbranque only for the Frenchman to blast his shot well wide of the mark.
Keane then fought off two defenders to force the save of the match from goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
Ramos replaced Gilberto at half-time for Jamie O’Hara and the youngster added balance to the Tottenham defence.
After the break PSV, who are in the competition after finishing third in their Champions League group behind Inter and Fenerbahce, seemed content to sit back and protect their away goal and for all their endeavour chances were sparse for Tottenham.
They had several free-kicks in promising positions but both Jenas and O’Hara struck directly into the wall.
Jenas had to be substituted just after the hour mark when, in front of the watching England manager Fabio Capello, he twisted his ankle after landing awkwardly following a late Edison Mendez tackle.
Late on, former Liverpool defender Jan Kronkamp had a headed goal disallowed for offside and Robinson was forced into a fine save from Farfan’s shot across goal.
O’Hara had a crisply-struck volley flash just wide of the far post late on but PSV held on for the win as Spurs failed to score at home in any competition for the first time this season