Gary Hooper and Ryan Bennett get run-outs in Norwich City Under-21s’ Premier League International Cup defeat to PSV Eindhoven
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Gary Hooper and Ryan Bennett completed 90 minutes as Norwich City's Under-21s lost the opening game of their Premier League International Cup campaign to a superb PSV Eindhoven at Carrow Road on Wednesday night.
PSV's development side sit fourth in the second tier of Dutch football – and it often showed as highly-rated Uruguayan signing Gaston Pereiro's assured finish and late goals from Boris Cmiljanic and Jurgen Locadia secured a 3-0 Group C win.
With former Holland international and Sporting Lisbon team-mate of Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Stijn Schaars, captaining the PSV side, City always looked in for a tough night.
But after a tricky transfer deadline day, City boss Alex Neil could at least enjoy full run-outs for Bennett – who remains high in the first-team centre-back pecking order – and Hooper, who was linked with several proposed moves during Tuesday.
'They are a very good team but there was a time where I thought we were going to get back into it – in the end that was just a little too much for us,' said City Under-21 manager Dmitri Halajko.
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'They play men's football week in, week out in the Dutch version of the Championship and they had some senior Dutch pros, so that was great for our lads to play against – hard and frustrating at times, but it also showed the level they need.
'A lot of our players came off the pitch saying how good it was to have Gary and Ryan there, especially with Ryan at the back and his constant talking and organising, shuffling them across the pitch and closing spaces. They learned loads from that.'
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PSV started the game on top and rarely looked under pressure – although the rhythm of the first half was momentarily broken for treatment to right-back Reece Hall-Johnson after his block tackle did him more harm than good; the defender soldiered on for the majority of the first half before eventually being replaced.
Jamar Loza's pace offered City a useful outlet when they could find him, but it was not enough to halt Eindhoven's progress and they took the lead midway through the first half with a goal of real quality – made by Albert Gudmundsson's delicious throughball taking Bennett out of the game, which was given the finish it deserved by Pereiro.
City emerged from the interval with more purpose and Harry Toffolo's purposeful runs from left-back created good opportunities throughout, but chances for either side were at a premium.
Conor McGrandles was deservedly booked for a late challenge that ended Matthias Verreth's evening, while Bennett saw his header from a Ray Grant corner cleared as City pressed for an equaliser.
But in the end it was PSV who underlined their superiority with two late goals. Boris Cmiljanic slotted home from a handful of yards after Jurgen Locadia's good work four minutes from time.
And 19-year-old Locadia, who has 26 goals in 71 games for PSV's first team to his name, added a late penalty after Michee Efete was adjudged to have brought down Moussa Sanoh.
Next for City in the tournament is a visit from Spanish side Villarreal, on October 7.
• City (4-2-3-1): Killip (C); Hall-Johnson (Ramsey 38), Efete, R Bennett, Toffolo; Grant, McGrandles; Norman (Ashley-Seal 82), Hooper, Eaton-Collins (Lewis 77); Loza. Subs (not used): Oxborough (GK), Cantweel, Black. Booked: McGrandles.
• PSV (4-5-1): Pasveer; Rommens, Abels, Peijnenburg, Blummel; Pereiro (Bertrams 82), Vloet, Schaars (C), Gudmundsson (Cmiljanic 77), Verreth (Sanoh 66, Berden 90); Locadia. Subs (not used): Bannani. Booked: Vloet. Goals: Pereiro 24, Cmiljanic 86, Locadia pen 90.
• Referee: M Buonassisi; Attendance: 2,415