In a thrilling encounter, PSV Eindhoven made a triumphant return to the race for a UEFA Champions League (UCL) knockout berth with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Lens, marking their inaugural win in Group B.
PSV found themselves under early pressure from Lens, with Przemysław Frankowski and Elye Wahi posing a constant threat. However, in the 12th minute, when PSV managed to break free, they capitalized on the opportunity. Johan Bakayoko delivered a precise cross into the box, finding the head of Luuk de Jong, who exploited lax defending to power his header off the underside of the bar, beating goalkeeper Brice Samba.
The inclement weather, marked by heavy rain in the Netherlands, made the conditions challenging for both teams throughout the first half. Despite the treacherous weather, Samba made crucial saves from Joey Veerman, Sergiño Dest, and Hirving Lozano. Just before halftime, Lens had a chance to level the score when Deiver Machado sent a low cross over the bar, their best opportunity in the first half.
PSV, who had triumphed in all 11 of their Eredivisie matches this season, dominated the opening quarter-hour of the second half, with Lozano coming close on multiple occasions. However, Lens responded with a threatening long-range free-kick from Angelo Fulgini, forcing Walter Benítez to tip the ball over the bar. Bakayoko’s skillful dribbling further troubled the weary Lens defenders.
Despite PSV’s persistent attempts to secure a second goal, they nearly surrendered their lead in the dying minutes. Morgan Guilavogui burst into the box and struck the post, coming agonizingly close to an equalizer. Guilavogui’s fortunes took a downturn when he received a second yellow card for a foul on Olivier Boscagli, reducing Lens to ten men. Ultimately, PSV held on to their one-goal advantage, securing their first win in the group and climbing to second place. Meanwhile, Lens dropped to third in the group, extending their drought without a first away UCL group stage win to 25 years.