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Cocu keeps PSV in contention

Tuesday, 5 April 2005

By Matthew Spiro at Stade Gerland

[1] A late equaliser from Phillip Cocu gave PSV Eindhoven the edge in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Olympique Lyonnais as the Dutch Eredivisie leaders secured a valuable draw in France.

Late leveller

[2] Cocu sprang forward in the 79th minute and rifled a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area, scoring a potentially crucial away goal from virtually the visitors' first chance of the game. Florent Malouda had earlier put Lyon in front in the 12th minute, before Michael Essien and Sidney Govou missed gilt-edged chances to extend the French champions' lead.

Strongest lineup

[3] Lyon coach Paul Le Guen was able to name his strongest team for the first time since October, with right-back Anthony Réveillère and centre-half Claudio Caçapa returning to the back four. Govou shook off an ankle injury to take his place on the right of a three-pronged attack that had Sylvain Wiltord in the middle and Malouda on the left.

Attacking approach

[4] The visitors were also at full strength and lined up in a 4-3-2-1 formation. Cocu anchored the midfield, while centre-forward Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was flanked by Jefferson Farfán and Ji-Sung Park. The two sides seemed to cancel each other out in the opening stages, with the midfield area particularly congested. Juninho Pernambucano had the first shot on goal on eight minutes, firing an audacious free-kick narrowly over from 35 metres.

Malouda moment

[5] The Brazilian's effort brought the home fans to life and they were soon celebrating as the competition's top scorers broke the deadlock with 12 minutes gone. Mahamadou Diarra's crossfield pass picked out Govou on the right, who jinked past Young-Pyo Lee and found Wiltord inside the penalty area. Wiltord took his time before poking a pass to Malouda, who side-footed past Heurelho Gomes via Wilfred Bouma's outstretched foot.

Lyon on top

[6] It was Lyon's 28th goal in their ninth Champions League game this season, and they were close to making it 29 when Diarra struck a powerful shot wide after good work from Juninho. The French champions were full of confidence and PSV struggled to cope with their free-flowing counterattacks as Essien twice went close twice in quick succession, first heading Wiltord's cross straight at Gomes before the PSV goalkeeper touched the midfield player's fizzing shot on to the outside of the post as Lyon stepped up the pressure.

PSV warning

[7] PSV issued a warning to the home side on the stroke of half-time, however, when Vennegoor of Hesselink turned Cris on the edge of the box and struck a right-footed shot just over. Lyon struggled to find the same fluency at the start of the second period but continued to control possession, largely thanks to the strong running and tackling of Essien who was enjoying an influential game in midfield.

Superlative stop

[8] Vennegoor of Hesselink was close to heading in a Mark van Bommel corner before Essien's perseverance set up a glorious chance for Govou three minutes past the hour. But the Frenchman, who was completely alone after the ball broke to him ten metres out, saw his low shot brilliantly turned wide by the outstretched hand of Gomes.

Long-range strike

[9] PSV coach Guus Hiddink replaced Farfán with DaMarcus Beasley on 71 minutes, and the visitors immediately looked more dangerous. Cocu dragged a long-range shot wide but it was merely a warning to the Lyon defence, as moments later, the former Dutch international latched on to a return pass from Park and steered a left-footed shot past Grégory Coupet to set up an intriguing return next Wednesday.

Phillip Cocu (hidden) is congratulated after scoring PSV's equaliser