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Early goal gives PSV Eindhoven victory
Theo Ruizenaar in Eindhoven | February 23, 2005 03:41 IST
Last Updated: February 23, 2005 09:38 IST
Champions League first knockout round, first leg:
An early header from Brazilian centre back Alex helped PSV Eindhoven to a 1-0 first leg win over AS Monaco after their first appearance in the Champions League knockout stage in Eindhoven, on Tuesday.
Alex rose unchallenged to powerfully nod home the excellent Mark van Bommel's eighth minute corner for what was a rare highlight in anotherwise dull encounter.
"It was a typical European Cup match. We put Monaco under pressure from the first moment because we expected that it would cause problems for them," Eindhoven coach Guus Hiddink said.
"After the early opening goal we should have scored the second from the few small chances we created. In the second half we did better and kept control but still I wished we had decided the battle in this match."
In the first half both sides laboured on a slippery surface, caused by snow before the match, and Monaco's midfield especially struggled to link the play to their strikers as they frequently resorted to the long ball.
After 25 minutes Van Bommel found Johann Vogel in a good position on the edge of the penalty area but his hurried shot went wide.
In the opening period of the second half Monaco looked more threatening but it was Eindhoven defender Andre Ooijer who had the best chance to double their lead after 56 minutes only to blaze over the bar from a good position.
Didier Deschamp's Monaco, beaten finalists last year, then created their first real chance when Emmanuel Adebayor found the previously isolated forward Javier Saviola but the Argentine's shot was always rising.
"It is a disappointing result especially because we didn't score a goal," Deschamps said. "We will leave with mixed feelings because in my opinion this defeat was not necessary but we didn't play well in attack.
"My strikers lost too many battles although PSV have a good defence full of internationals."
The second leg takes place in Monaco on March 9.