Ten-man PSV hold on in goalless stalemate with Atletico
EINDHOVEN (Reuters) - PSV Eindhoven played for more than 20 minutes with 10 men but held on for a goalless draw at home to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.
The Spanish club have earned a well-founded reputation for their iron-clad defence this season but it was the Dutch champions who had to produce a stout rearguard action to avoid being beaten and leave the tie balanced ahead of the return leg on March 15.
PSV, making their first appearance in the knockout phase of the competition since 2007, were forced to play the closing stages deep in their own half after 20-year-old striker Gaston Pereiro was sent off for a second booking in the 68th minute.
Having been cautioned in the fist half, he was dismissed for a needless shoulder challenge on Atletico defender Diego Godin.
The home side had started the game in an ambitious mood, fielding three attackers despite the absence of suspended top scorer Luuk de Jong.
The match had few clear chances for either side and was marred by the frequent turnover of possession, with openings often spoiled by a poor final touch.
Godin did put the ball in the net with a close-range header midway through the second half but his effort was ruled out for a push on a PSV defender.
The best chance of the first half also fell to Atletico.
Forward Luciano Vietto raced onto a long ball inside the opening three minutes and scooped it over PSV keeper Jeroen Zoet, but saw his effort cleared off the line by the back-tracking defender Jeffrey Bruma.
Atletico had to wait almost an hour for another opportunity with substitute Fernando Torres hitting a good effort wide almost immediately after coming on.
Bruma then blocked a close-range effort from Angel Correa in the final 10 minutes, with the ball striking him full in the face and knocking him off his feet.
He continued, however, and played a major role in the defensive stonewalling of the Spanish side.
PSV’s only chance of the second half came when Maxime Lestienne, returning after a spell out with injury, crossed for fellow substitute Jorrit Hendrix at the back post but his last-minute half-volley sailed harmlessly over.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; editing by Toby Davis)