PSV knocked out of the Champions League after loss to Rangers
PSV has once again failed to reach the group stage of the Champions League. The Eindhoven club and manager Ruud van Nistelrooij lost their home game against Rangers FC by the score of 0-1. The first match of the preliminary play-off featuring the two teams ended in a 2-2 draw in Glasgow last week.
PSV will continue their European football adventure in the Europa League, where there is less prestige and less money at stake. That visibly hurt players and supporters, as could clearly be seen in the Philips Stadium after the final whistle. This season, Ajax will be the only Dutch participant in the Champions League.
PSV supporters clearly showed that, after four years, they are eager to enter the group stage of the Champions League. They set off many fireworks around the stadium hours before the game, and blocked the Rangers FC team bus, to the anger of trainer Giovanni van Bronckhorst. The Scottish club tried in vain to postpone the kick-off.
The enthusiasm of the fans spread to the players in the final phase of the first half. The home side started tame and cautious, with Érick Gutiérrez and Ibrahim Sangaré setting the pace, and Joey Veerman as attacking midfielder. Van Nistelrooij had no place in his basic formation for the adventurous playmaker Xavi Simons.
Rangers FC easily remained strong for more than half an hour, and also had the best chance of scoring the opening goal, but John Lundstram’s shot went wide. PSV then threatened twice via Jordan Teze and Luuk de Jong, who failed to score twice after a cross from the right back. The best chance before half-time was for Cody Gakpo, who may have played his last match for PSV. The attacker is prized by Manchester United, but did not put on his best performance.
PSV played their second half without Luuk de Jong. The captain was injured and had to be replaced at half time. Simons came on the field after the break. The talented player, who came to Eindhoven from Paris Saint-Germain, started as a right winger. Ismael Saibari replaced De Jong in the striker. Carlos Vinícius, a true striker, stayed on the bench and saw PSV escape in the 56th minute when Tom Lawrence hit the crossbar.
It went wrong for PSV four minutes later.
Four minutes later it still went wrong. Goalkeeper Walter Benítez played the ball in a risky way to André Ramalho, and saw the Brazilian defender lose the ball to Malik Tillman. The American attacker set up Antonio Colak with an unmissable opportunity, to put Rangers ahead 0-1 in the 60th minute.
Van Nistelrooij eventually made five changes, but that was not enough for PSV to make an escape, like in the previous preliminary round against AS Monaco.
Before the match, Rangers had tried to delay the kick-off against PSV, because the Scottish team arrived at the Philips stadium later than planned when the players' buses were held up. UEFA ignored the request, and the game started at 9 p.m. at the Philips stadium in Eindhoven as planned.
Thousands of PSV supporters gathered around the Philips Stadium more than two hours before kick-off to wait for their favorite club’s players to arrive by bus. Aside from setting off fireworks, they also targeted the Rangers’ buses when they arrived.
Rangers trainer Van Bronckhorst was not at all pleased with the behavior of the PSV fans. "I've been involved in football for a number of years now, I've never experienced this," he grumbled in front of the RTL 7 camera. “It is really not right the way we were received here. We had to wait for 15 minutes surrounded by supporters. The second bus even had to turn back, and arrived at the stadium much later. UEFA thought it was all fine."
He continued, "You expect a club like PSV to arrange everything properly when it receives a club." Van Bronckhorst added, "And that you can just go in without worrying about your safety. That was not the case at all today."
Reporting by ANP