The Phillips Stadion was host to a surprising result on Tuesday, with hosts PSV Eindhoven coming from behind to beat Manchester United 2-1, thanks to two gorgeous assists from Maxime Lestienne and a gameplan that worked to perfection.
The start of the match was lively and open, with Manchester United dominating possession and getting forward almost at will. Still, PSV did very well to break up Manchester's attacks, or to funnel them into areas where shots have a lower chance of winding up in the back of the net. It was a smart gameplan, and while PSV struggled to get forward during the opening period, it kept Manchester from building too much momentum with an early goal.
Then 15 minutes in, the match came to a sudden halt when a hard challenge appeared to seriously injure United defender Luke Shaw. It took some time to get him off the pitch and resume the match, and once it did you could tell that the wind had been taken out of Manchester's sails somewhat after seeing their teammate in such pain.
PSV took advantage of that to finally build some attacking pressure of their own, putting on some impressive forays into Manchester's half of the pitch to take the pressure off their own beleaguered back line. Of course, opening things up like that has its risks, and former PSV star Memphis Depay exposed those risks when he went on a silky run into the box and finished between the legs of PSV's keeper to give United the lead late in the half.
Going behind didn't get PSV's head down at all, though. They kept up the pressure, looking to take advantage of the long injury time to try to find an equalizer -- and it came in the first minute of it. A corner was served up by Maxime Lestienne, and Hector Moreno whipped it in strongly after finding enough space to latch onto the ball. The ball was deflected by Daley Blind, making some think it was an own goal, but even if Blind hadn't hit it, it looked like Moreno's header was destined for the back of the net.
Losing a fullback and their lead like that seemed to make Manchester United start the second half slow, and PSV once more took advantage. They came out with blistering pace, and while it took them some time, they found another goal just before the hour mark. It was Lestienne again with the creative wizardry, streaking into space and putting in an inch-perfect cross to the far post, where Luciano Narsingh put it in with a diving header that bounced the ball low under David De Gea's arms.
That goal sent the Phillps Stadion crowd into rapture, with cheering and songs and chanting that lasted for the rest of the match. United kept knocking on the door of PSV's goal, but they looked rattled and that seemed to keep them from finding the last touch they needed to get an equalizer.
The result is a huge surprise, as almost no one thought that PSV would be able to overcome Manchester United's edge in talent. That's exactly what they did, though, and now they have three huge points after one round in a group that looks like it will be very, very tight at the end of it. If they keep this up, PSV could be the big surprise of the Champions League group stage this season.
PSV Eindhoven: Jeroen Zoet; Santiago Arias, Jeffrey Bruma, Hector Moreno, Joshua Brenet; Davy Pröpper, Jorrit Hendrix, Andres Guardado (Stijn Shaars 72'); Luciano Narsingh, Luuk de Jong, Maxime Lestienne (Jurgen Locadia 86')
Goals: Moreno (45'+1), Narsingh (57')
Manchester United: David de Gea; Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw (Marcos Rojo 23'); Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ander Herrera (Marouane Fellaini 74'); Ashley Young (Antonio Valencia 85'), Juan Mata, Memphis Depay; Anthony Martial
Goals: Depay (41')
1. Don't sleep on PSV
Despite losing two of their best players in Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum, as well as a couple other important players to the side, but they've still got plenty of talent and Phillip Cocu seems to know how to best utilize it. A smart gameplan and well-used players can overturn even a large gulf in talent, and PSV showed you exactly how that can work. No team in this Champions League group will be safe from them if they can keep this up.
2. Manchester United are still a work in progress
Louis Van Gaal's team is very good. That's not up for debate right now. But they're still coming together as a team, and especially when they're working without their top attacker in Wayne Rooney, they look pretty disjointed in the final third. Part of that was certainly down to PSV's effective gameplan, but United never really looked like they had a response to what their opponent was doing. The good news for United fans is that they will get better with time -- the question is how long it's going to take, and if that's going to wind up being too long to make the Champions League knockout rounds.
3. Get well soon, Luke Shaw
The Manchester United left back was enjoying a bright start to the match -- a bright start to his season, really -- when it all came to a terrifying end just 15 minutes in. Shaw was on a blistering run into the box when he wound up on the receiving end of a brutal challenge from Hector Moreno, who hit Shaw's planted right leg full-force with a tackle. It was one of those injury moment where you know before the stricken player is done spinning to the ground in agony that it's a bad injury.
It looked like Shaw's shin broke almost at the moment of impact, and it took nearly ten minutes for medics to get his leg stabilized in an air cast and get him off the pitch. It's such a shame for Shaw, who was enjoying a strong early stretch of the season before this, which was wonderful to see after he struggled in his first season with Manchester last year. He's almost certainly facing a long rehabilitation spell, but hopefully it goes smoothly and he comes back playing better than ever. That's not something you wish would happen to any player, no matter who you root for.