Thursday, March 30, 2017

PSV v CSKA Moscow: Dutch champions eye qualification-clinching win

SoccerNews in Eredivisie 6 Dec 2015

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PSV host CSKA Moscow in their final Champions League Group B fixture knowing a win is enough to send the Eredivisie title holders into the knockout phase.

Phillip Cocu’s PSV have fate in their own hands on Tuesday, despite going into the matchday six contest in third place, two points adrift of Wolfsburg, who host second-placed Manchester United.

If Wolfsburg were to beat Manchester United, who were held to a goalless draw by PSV last month, then a draw would be enough to see PSV into the top two and through to the next round.

Although they will go into the match as clear favourites, PSV’s progression is not certain due to their poor record against Russian opposition in recent years.

CSKA, who lost 2-0 at home to Wolfsburg last time out, beat PSV 3-2 in Moscow earlier in the Group B campaign and the Dutch side lost home and away to both Dinamo Moscow and Zenit last season.

However, PSV have not lost a home match since March and will be confident of sealing a knockout berth.

PSV head into into the crunch clash on the back of a 1-0 league win against Vitesse thanks to Jorrit Hendrix.

“The way we win is what [makes us] happy, but this is a great feeling for Tuesday,” Cocu said. 

Russian league leaders CSKA need a positive result in Netherlands to avoid finishing bottom of the section, which would be the third season in a row they have ended the group stage in fourth place.

But CSKA go into the fixture on the back of five defeats in their last six matches in all competitions, prompting head coach Leonid Slutsky to admit: “Given the number of matches we have lost, I would say we are facing a crisis.”

CSKA’s lead atop the Russian standings has been cut to six points as the winter break starts, while PSV are unbeaten in nine matches across all competitions and are just four points behind Eredivisie leaders Ajax.

Cocu will be without Luciano Narsingh, who picked up an injury in PSV’s last Champions League fixture, although Florian Jozefzoon is close to a return.

CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is looking to arrest an unwanted run of 36 Champions League matches without a clean sheet, his last shutout coming against Arsenal in November 2006.

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