Electric Performance From PSV Trips Breakers on United’s Defense
The visitors United were unable to win after controlling the game for long periods. They fell victim to the impressive Dutch champions who came from behind to cause an upset to Group B.
Luke Shaw was stretchered off early on in the game with a double fracture to his leg, which will keep him side-lined for an extended period. The challenge was made by Hector Moreno after Shaw burst into the box in the 15th minute. Rojo came on to replace the injured Shaw.
United looked comfortable in the first half, and were a constant threat to the PSV goal. Pressure mounted and in the 41st minute Memphis Depay got behind the PSV defence and slotted a nice finish between the legs of PSV keeper, Jeroen Zoet after a lovely weighted through ball from Blind. The ex PSV player had said at a pre match press conference that he’d still celebrate if he scored, stating that “Football is a game and scoring is special”. Depay was a consistent goal threat throughout the game, and merited his inclusion in the starting line-up.
Things were looking good for United until a corner two minutes into injury time when Hector Moreno was able to grab one back for PSV against the run of play. The new signing from Espanyol rose higher than Darmian to direct a header into the net, with a deflection coming off Blind to put it out of reach of de Gea. Moreno was arguably the man of the match, acting solid in the centre of defence and suppressed any threat from Martial, while also intelligently distributing the ball when in possession.
United continued to have the bulk of the possession in the second half, and were able to create numerous chances with it. Their midfield dominance was impressive but they were ultimately unable to convert it into goals. Lapses in concentration and indecision in the final third resulted in opportunities going to waste.
This was especially exasperating for United as the home side struck again in the 57th minute. A quick break down the left, and a beautiful cross into the box from Lestienne onto the head of Luciano Narsingh and PSV were in front.
In an attempt to rescue the situation Van Gaal brought on Fellaini and Valencia, but in the end Philip Cocu’s side were well organised in defence and were able to see the game out with relative ease.
Having not participated in the Champion’s League for two years, Van Gaal’s team seemed to suffer from inexperience and a lack of clinical finishing in the final third. Champion’s League veteran Sebastian Schweinsteiger was unable to get his lesser experienced team mates to rise to the occasion. Rooney’s absence up front was also clearly missed, and his replacement Antony Martial, was unable to replicate his electric performance against Liverpool on the weekend.