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Crvena Zvezda push PSV

Wednesday, 11 August 2004

By Aleksandar Boskovic at the FK Crvena Zvezda stadium

[1] FK Crvena Zvezda hold the edge against fellow former European champions PSV Eindhoven after a tight UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first leg.

Fascinating position

[2] PSV struck first through Ji-Sung Park, but Crvena Zvezda were ahead before half-time thanks to Milan Dudic and Boško Jankovic. They stretched their lead just before the hour through Marko Pantelic but John De Jong then struck to set up a fascinating return in the Netherlands on 25 August.

Park on target

[3] With 54,000 spectators gathered in the FK Crvena Zvezda stadium, home coach Ljubo Petrovic deployed a 4-4-2 formation against Guus Hiddink's 4-5-1. But it was the visitors who took early command, Park going close on five minutes before finding the target three minutes later, picking up the ball after a corner and shooting inside the right-hand post.

Home side push

[4] But the young Serbo-Montenegrin champions, keen to emulate their triumph of their 1990/91 predecessors, began to take the initiative and Nikola Žigic gave notice of their intentions with a shot on 14 minutes that went wide. At the other end Jan Vennegor of Hesselink also sent an effort past the post, but soon after his side's lead disappeared.

Vital goals

[5] On 20 minutes Aleksandar Lukovic's quickly-taken free-kick was teed up perfectly for Dudic, who rose highest and headed his side level. Crvena Zvezda were buzzing, and six minutes before the interval Jankovic's strong shot from 25 metres out flew in. Dudic then went close with a header, and his side were on top by half-time.

PSV rally

[6] Hiddink responded by introducing experienced midfield player Phillip Cocu for Kasper Bøgelund, and his side had a spell of dominance. Wilfred Bouma's header went close two minutes into the half and Vladimir Dišljenkovic was then forced to save a De Jong shot. Park also threatened the goal, but PSV could not force the ball in and on 59 minutes fell further behind.

Superb move

[7] It was a superb move. Žigic found Milan Bisevac, who sent a brilliant ball over the PSV defence for Pantelic to head in from ten metres out. They were now in a tight spot, but PSV, European Champion Clubs' Club winners in 1987/88, are no strangers to this level and six minutes later they snared a second away goal.

De Jong scores

[8] DaMarcus Beasley found Vennegoor of Hesselink, whose shot was parried by Dišljenkovic into the path of De Jong, who found the top right-hand corner of the net from 14 metres out. Crvena Zvezda were keen to extend their lead again, but although substitute Vladimir Tintor sent in a cracking shot from 18 metres in the final minute, PSV goalkeeper Heurelho Silva Gomes was equal to it. The tie is delicately poised.

Vladimir Dišljenkovic's goalkeeping helped Crvena Zvezda to victory