Bart Stoutjesdyk/ANP/Imago

Champions League Recap: Pepi Scores as PSV Advance

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Ricardo Pepi scored his first goal for PSV as they eased their way into the playoff round of the Champions League with a second-leg win over Austrian side Sturm Graz.

Sturm Graz 1-3 PSV (PSV advance 7-2 on aggregate)

PSV continued their dominance over Sturm Graz as they took another step to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League with their win at the Merkur Arena.

Ricardo Pepi came on to play the entire second half, completing 62 percent of his passes, winning a duel, and making one tackle. Malik Tillman did not make the team for this game.

The hosts got on the scoreboard first in the 26th minute when William Boving volleyed home a cross from Alexander Prass to halve the aggregate scoreline.

PSV responded six minutes later through Joey Veerman as some quick passing following a throw-in had the Sturm Graz players chasing after the ball. Luuk de Jong then laid the ball off for his Dutch teammate to bend a curling shot around goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen from distance.

De Jong would get his name on the scoresheet in the 39th minute when his diving header from Jordan Teze’s cross hit the back of the net.

The visitors were in firm control of the game with the 6-2 aggregate, leading head coach Peter Bosz to go to the bench early and bring in Pepi.

PSV got their third and final goal of the game in the 85th minute when the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty after the video assistant referee spotted a handball in the area from Sturm Graz center-back Gregory Wuthrich. Pepi was given the honors and he did not disappoint as he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to convert the penalty kick.

A comfortable win for the Red and Whites as it will boost their confidence heading into the decisive playoff round where they will once again face last season’s foe Rangers for chance to play in the grops stages.

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Since 2004, Yanks Abroad has been providing coverage of the U.S. national team program and American players plying their trade around the world. We are committed to bringing you breaking news, interviews, and features that keep you in the loop with what's going with the United States in the soccer world.

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