By Mark Young.
For this edition of Throwback Thursday we will be jumping on the bandwagon of a terrific result for PSV Eindhoven against Manchester United on Tuesday night and going back 27 years to their only European Cup triumph to date.
May 25th 1988
PSV Eindhoven 0-0 Benfica (AET, PSV win 6-5 on penalties)
When talking about Dutch football in it’s present tense it is easy to underestimate it.
The national team is holding on by a single fibre of their finger nails to European Championship qualification and the Eredivisie is not what it once was but PSV Eindhoven at least had the country rocking on Tuesday night.
The reigning, defending and all conquering Dutch champions of last year hosted Manchester United, seemingly buoyed from their 3-1 victory over rivals Liverpool on Saturday and beat them. It wasn’t the kind of football from years gone by but Phillip Cocu finally had a Dutch team performing at the highest European level.
Naturally, when thinking about the Dutch on a European Cup level it is Ajax that take the plaudits and that many reminisce about but back in 1988 it was the team from Eindhoven that set Europe alight with their maiden European Cup victory.
In May 1988, mere months before this writer made his debut into the world, PSV and Benfica were to go head to head at the 64,000-seater Neckerstadion in Stuttgart.
This was a time where the European cup was straight knockout with the Dutch side having to go through Galatasaray, Rapid Vienna, Bordeaux and Real Madrid en route to Stuttgart. The two latter rounds were both won on away goals whilst Benfica were convincing throughout their route having only conceded one goal.
The match will not be remembered for a swashbuckling attacking display from either side but for defences and determination in what would be a summer of boom for Dutch football.
Guus Hiddink’s side were going into this with the added pressure of winning a treble after winning the domestic league and cup but they kept their Portuguese opponents out.
With 90 minutes turning into 120 minutes and penalties, this tense night got even more so.
Now Southampton manager Ronald Koeman would be the first to score in the penalty shootout but that would be one of 11 scored in a clinic of penalty scoring. After the initial ten spot kicks were all scored it was down to sudden death. Midfielder Anton Janssen held his nerve with Antonio Veloso charged with keeping Benfica in with a shout. The defender would not see the net bulge with his spot kick giving PSV a memorable victory.
It was a terrific treble for PSV but it would be the summer’s antics and a certain win in the European Championships for the Dutch that would make 1988 a year to remember and despite the current breed of PSV players looking promising, the national team certainly are not.
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