PSV Eindhoven 0-0 Atletico Madrid: Advantage Atleti despite stalemate
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 25/02/16 1:55pm
PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid played out a goalless draw in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 clash on Wednesday night, despite the hosts having to play the final quarter of the game with only 10 men.
The best opening of the match at the Philips Stadion fell Atletico's way after striker Antoine Griezmann failed to beat PSV goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet when clean through on goal in the first half.
However, the balance of the tie turned the visitors' way when PSV's young Uruguayan forward Gaston Pereiro was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in quick succession midway through the second period.
Despite failing to take advantage of their numerical superiority, Atleti will still be confident of finishing the job off when the two teams meet again in the return leg at the Vicente Calderon in three weeks' time.
PSV welcomed back influential Mexico midfielder Andres Guardado after injury, although the home side were without their leading marksman Luuk de Jong - who has scored 22 goal in all competitions this season - through suspension.
Atleti, meanwhile, had Augusto Fernandez available again after a knee problem, although the midfielder was forced to settle for a place on the substitutes' bench.
And it was Diego Simeone's side who really should have taken a fourth-minute lead after Gabi's long ball over the top found Luciano Vietto with a clear sight of goal.
However, despite chipping the ball over the advancing Zoet, Vietto was denied a goal by the backtracking Jeffrey Bruma, who just managed to clear the ball before it had crossed the goal line.
Thereafter the first half was a cagey affair with few clear-cut openings, although both teams will feel they should have scored before half-time after spurning presentable chances.
On the half-hour mark PSV's back four tried to play offside, only to miscalculate badly, allowing Griezmann a one-on-one with Zoet. But the 'keeper did well to rush off his line and thwart the Frenchman, who has failed to score in his four previous games for Atletico.
And Diego Simeone's men were very nearly made to pay for that miss minutes later, only for 'keeper Jan Oblak to react smartly to block Davy Propper's close-range effort, before a spot of ping-pong in the box almost resulted in the opening goal for PSV.
The second period was an equally disjointed affair, with both sides seemingly happy to settle for a draw going into the second leg in the Spanish capital, that is until Pereiro's moment of madness.
The 20-year-old picked up his first caution of the night after 54 minutes for needlessly pulling back Filipe Luis, before receiving his marching orders from Italian referee Daniele Orsato following a clumsy challenge on Diego Godin 14 minutes later.
As a result, Atletico dominated the final quarter of the match as they went in search of a crucial away goal to take back with them to Madrid.
However, the closest the visitors came to breaking the deadlock arrived with 20 minutes to go when substitute Fernando Torres fired over from close range after good approach play down the right from Juanfran.