Vitesse 0-1 PSV: Maher the hero as PSV hold onto their early lead

PSV go four clear at the top thanks to Maher's goal.

PSV go four clear at the top thanks to Maher’s goal.

The pressure was on PSV ahead of they’re game with Vitesse, Ajax are breathing down their necks after they defeated Groningen 2-0 on Friday night. Vitesse went into the winter break with a four game unbeaten run which saw them draw three and win once. It was going to be a tough test for PSV and they will be confident after winning the reverse fixture 2-0 back in August.

Vitesse made a good start to the game as PSV were slow out the blocks, the homes side had the first chance of the game, Alex Ibarra managed to get past Jetro Willems before picking out Valeri Kazaishvili, the Georgian couldn’t direct his volley on target instead well over the bar. After settling PSV started to look like their normal selves. On the ten minute mark they were able to take the lead. A cross in from the right saw Luuk De Jong direct the ball towards goal, Eloy Room saved well to deny the striker, unfortunately Room was picking the ball out of his net moments later. An awful clearance went straight to an unmarked Adam Maher, his effort cannoned off the post and fell nicely for him to have a second try, this time he fluffed his shot and it managed to loop over Room as he desperately tried to keep it out.

PSV almost made it 2-0 from a dangerous position, Memphis Depay managed to curl a brilliant freekick over the wall to force Room into action once again, a cross back into the area was deflected to Willems, who’s effort was struck with great power, unfortunately a deflection took away the pace and directed the shot comfortably into Room’s arms.

The freekick was the end of PSV’s chances in the first half, they found themselves dropping deeper and deeper, Vitesse finished the half very strongly and came close on a number of occasions. Zakaria Labyad fired a great curling effort towards goal and Jeroen Zoet was at his best to brilliantly keep out the shot. The home side bombarded the PSV area with corners and plenty of crosses and twice they were denied by Maher, who was alert to clear off the line twice. One of those clearances came when a corner saw Zoet beaten to the ball by Guram Kashia, disappointingly for Vitesse Maher was there to take the ball on his chest and clearing the danger.

PSV could’ve and probably should’ve gone 2-0 up after ten minutes of the second half, first up was De Jong, Luciano Narsingh’s pass to Georginio Wijnaldum was flicked on to Depay and he picked out De Jong with a lovely chipped cross and the striker missed a golden chance as he was all on his own and could only hit the post with his header. Moments later Depay had the chance to double his team’s lead, a long ball over the top saw Depay race through on goal and after lobbing Room he agonisingly watched his effort crept just wide, taking a good whack in the process. Depay was in the thick of the action once more when he came in from the left and fortunately for the home side his impressive run resulted in a good shot going just over and not into the back of the net.

The game fizzled out for a while as both teams failed to create clear cut chances, however as the game ticked towards the last ten minutes Vitesse came very close to getting an equaliser. A lovely team move saw Wallace try his luck from the edge of the area, his strike was well blocked, the rebound fell to Ibarra and his low curling effort was inches from going in as it was denied by the post.

Things went a bit ugly for a couple of minutes, Depay was fouled by Wallace and Willems reacted angrily to the challenge and a brawl almost broke out, Wallace and Willems correctly got their names into the referee’s book.

That was about it for the rest of the action, somehow PSV managed to hold onto their one goal lead and grab a vital victory. With that win PSV go four points ahead of Ajax in second and will return to action on Tuesday when they face Roda JC in the cup, their next league game sees a third away trip in a row as they face Cambuur. As for Vitesse they have no cup action till the 28th and they have a big clash against Heerenveen next Saturday.

Article for VAVEL.

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