Monday, March 27, 2017

Manchester United 0 PSV 0: Stalemate leaves Van Gaal´s men facing tricky final game

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 25 Nov 2015

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Manchester United’s hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stages were severely dented by a goalless draw with PSV at Old Trafford.

United headed into their penultimate Group B fixture knowing three points would secure a last-16 spot, yet now likely need a win at leaders Wolfsburg on December 8 to progress following Wednesday’s disappointing stalemate. 

Louis van Gaal, perhaps keen to avoid heading to Germany requiring a victory, named an attacking United line-up featuring former PSV star Memphis Depay, Wayne Rooney, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial in a four-man attack.

The quartet’s fluidity caused plenty of problems for PSV early on, although the home side failed to break the deadlock in the first half as Martial missed two good opportunities.

United’s frustration only mounted in the early part of the second period as they struggled against the Eredivisie outfit’s resolute backline.

And the visitors’ resilience paid dividends, with a point meaning PSV will progress if they overcome CSKA Moscow at home and Van Gaal’s men fail to beat Wolfsburg.

The game featured a poignant moment in the seventh minute as supporters displayed mobile-phone lights in a tribute to United legend George Best, who died 10 years ago to the day.

PSV’s cause was not helped by being forced into an 18th-minute change, Gaston Pereiro replacing the injured Luciano Narsingh.

The hosts began to grow into the game thereafter, epitomised by Matteo Darmian delivery a fizzing cross that narrowly evaded Rooney.

United almost forced a deserved opener in the 31st minute when Jeroen Zoet denied Morgan Schneiderlin’s sliding effort after the midfielder met Daley Blind’s corner.

That seemed to awaken the visitors, who fashioned an opening of their own as Jorrit Hendrix forced a save from David de Gea.

A glorious chance came United’s way soon after as Lingard’s blocked shot found its way to Martial, whose low effort was kept out by Zoet.

The PSV goalkeeper denied Martial again on the stroke of half-time, saving a stinging strike low at his near post.

United flew out of the blocks after the break, with Lingard heading inches wide before Depay forced another stop from Zoet.

That wave of pressure seemingly did not sufficiently impress Van Gaal, who introduced Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young in the 59th minute.

Another sitter went begging in the 74th minute when Young’s deflected effort rolled into the path of Lingard, who curled over with the goal gaping.

That proved the final opportunity, though, as United ran out of ideas to ensure an uphill task awaits in Germany.

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