There was not a word written in Stefano Braschi's notebook last night, which made it a rare document indeed. No goals and, more pertinently given Leeds United's recent trials and tribulations, no bookings. His Premiership counterparts will never believe it.
Thus, while a 0-0 draw may not, given the increased proliferation of away goals, be as valuable as it once was David O'Leary was very satisfied with his team's display in this Uefa Cup fourth-round first-leg game. PSV showed enough attacking threat to suggest Leeds will need a goal in Thursday's second leg, but Leeds will still be confident of reaching a quarter-final against either Rangers or Feyenoord.
Though Nigel Martyn made an outstanding first-half save, and Dominic Matteo a fortuitous block, Mark Viduka and Alan Smith were within inches of scoring at the other end.
Smith, like Lee Bowyer and Danny Mills, were recalled despite serving domestic suspensions. "They are vital players for us and the wonderful performance we gave had a lot to do with them," said O'Leary, the Leeds manager. "It is all about players and it's a long time since I've been able to put out the team I wanted."
The opportunity to see the banned trio ahead of England's friendly against Italy at Elland Road next month drew Sven Goran Eriksson to the Netherlands. Smith was excellent and, while Bowyer was rusty, and Mills caused problems at both ends, all three showed admirable self-control despite suffering heavy challenges. While Graham Poll or Graham Barber may have tempted to reach for yellow cards after tackles by Olivier Dacourt and Eirik Bakke, Braschi was not unduly lenient and there was minimal dissent.
Smith and Bowyer almost marked their return in dramatic manner, good defending just preventing either touching in Viduka's first-minute cross. Midway through the half Leeds went close again. After Smith had been clogged, Ian Harte's free-kick found Viduka at the back post. He headed back across goal and only Smith's lack of inches prevented him heading the ball in.
With PSV struggling to clear, Smith played a slick one-two with Harry Kewell and, though his shot was saved by Patrick Lodewijks, Viduka followed up to loop a header goalwards. The away support began to celebrate but Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, back helping his defence, volleyed athletically off the line.
PSV had gone equally close themselves. Mark van Bommel seems to have spent most of this season peppering Martyn with shots and last night was no exception. After just four minutes the pre-match intention to release Dennis Rommedahl against Harte was put into operation. The Dane left his marker on the floor, then pulled the ball back to Van Bommel. His shot was smartly tipped over by Martyn.
From the resultant corner Mills sent a poor header straight to Van Bommel. His shot was deliberately deflected by Rommedahl but Martyn, reacting superbly, tipped the ball around the post. Eriksson must have been watching approvingly.
The Swede would have been less impressed, however, when Martyn flapped at another Rommedahl cross after 26 minutes. It fell to George Gakhokidze 10 yards out but his thunderous shot cannoned against Dominic Matteo's chest. Leeds then took control but, though Kewell and Viduka tested Lodewijks, and Kevin Hofland clattered Smith, Braschi's notebook remained unsullied.
PSV Eindhoven (4-2-3-1): Lodewijks; Bogelund, Ooijer, Hofland (Nikiforov, 67), Bouma; Van Bommel, Vogel; Rommedahl, Bruggink (De Jong, 35), Gakhokidze; Vennegoor of Hesselink (Kezman, 60). Substitutes not used: Coutinho (gk), Faber, Ramzi, Addo.
Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Mills, Ferdinand, Matteo, Harte; Bowyer, Dacourt, Bakke, Kewell; Viduka, Smith. Substitutes not used: Robinson (gk), Keane, McPhail, Duberry, Batty, Burns, Kelly.
Referee: S Braschi (Italy).Reuse content