Rostov hold PSV, through to Europa League

Eindhoven (The Netherlands), Dec 7 (IANS) Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven finished a disappointing Champions League campaign with a 0-0 draw against Russian side FK Rostov, ending up at the bottom of Group D.

After a successful 2014/2015 Champions League ride, when PSV were only stopped by eventual finalists Atletico Madrid following a penalty shoot-out in the last 16, the reigning Dutch champions hoped for a similarly stellar showing this year. However, PSV proved unable to repeat that success, reports Xinhua.

The 2-2 draw against Rostov in Rostov-on-Don was the only point for PSV after five matches, after loses in home and away games against Atletico and Bayern.

With Rostov winning the previous match against Bayern 3-2, PSV needed a win to continue as number three in the Europa League, while Rostov would qualify for the Europa League knockout stage with either a win or a draw. Both teams were already out of contention for the next phase of the Champions League.

Despite having a clear task ahead of them, and with the pressure on, PSV failed in terms of both creativity and speed in the first half against Rostov on Tuesday. Both teams created very few chances.

In the second half, PSV were not able to find holes in the Russian wall at the outset, but by substituting Siem de Jong, Luciano Narsingh and Gaston Pereiro for Santiago Arias, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin and Oleksandr Zinchenko respectively, coach Phillip Cocu took some risks to force a goal.

The more offensive approach led to more chances. Siem de Jong was close with a header, a shot by him was saved by Soslan Djanaev and an attempt by Bart Ramselaar was cleared before the line. Rostov managed to hold on to the goalless draw and finished as third in Group D with five points, four points ahead of number four PSV.

Atletico Madrid had already qualified for the knockout phase as Group D winners, but they lost their perfect score on Tuesday with a 1-0 defeat to second-placed Bayern Munich, also already a certainty in the next Champions League round.

–IANS

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