SC Corinthians reaffirmed their status as tournament favourites as they comfortably top Group B with a 100% win record following a hard fought 2–0 victory over PSV Eindhoven.
The Brazilian side made two changes to their starting line-up with defender Renan Borges coming in for Rafael dos Santos and with midfielder Fabricio Keiske Rodrigues making way for striker Miullen Natha.
The first half saw a cagey encounter between both teams as they sought to break the deadlock. Corinthians’ playmaker Matheus da Silva looked lively throughout the game as he was a constant menace to the PSV backline.
A thunderous drive from outside the box was palmed away by the impressive PSV goalkeeper Mike van de Meulenhof. Matheus continued his display with a string of dangerous passes but the forwards could not get their accuracy right.
Corinthians finally broke the deadlock in the 50th minute and the scorer was none other than Matheus himself. PSV’s goalkeeper van de Meulenhof was beaten by a powerful left foot strike.
The goal got Corinthians back into the groove of things and their lead was doubled in the 63rd minute when captain Leo Jaba was allowed space to run and his through pass was coolly slot into the back of the net by striker Miullen Natha.
PSV barely tested the Corinthians goal but despite the defeat, the Dutch team will join Corinthians in the semi-finals by the virtue of goal difference. This means that the Singapore NFA Under-15 team finish bottom of the group and will play the 5th and 6th play-off match on Sunday.
After the game, PSV coach Edwin de Wijs said, “We played against a very good team (Corinthians). We play a good possession game and kept the ball in our own half. We did not create many chances. I hope we can play more in the opponent’s half (in the semi-finals).”
When asked if their opponents from today were favorites, Edwin agreed.
“Corithians are the heavy favorites. They have a very strong team.”
His Corinthians counterpart Marcio Zarnadi felt that his team had room for improvement.
“It is still hard to say we’re favourites. At this level, all teams are playing well. We will improve game after game. Although we arrive for this tournament with a few injuries, the team has grown and my players have more to show.”
Marcio also ended the press conference with a popular line in Brazil.
“If you allow Corinthians to go into the semis, they will beat you.”