Stronger Feyenoord avoids unnecessary loss against Shachtar in the nick of time
Feyenoord resumed its European adventure with a 1-1 draw in Warsaw. It had the upper hand against Shachtar Donetsk, but seemed to get the lid on its nose in the closing stages. Just before time, substitute Ezequiel Bullaude headed the goal for the Rotterdammers.
As a result, a place in the last eight in the Europa League is still up for grabs. After all, next week is the return in an undoubtedly crowded Kuip.
It remains extraordinary. A year ago, Feyenoord stood with an almost completely different team in the eighth finals of the Conference League, eventually reaching the final.
Against Partizan Belgrade, who were beaten 5-2, Orkun Kökcü and Lutsharel Geertruida started. The rest have since left, except for Gernot Trauner and Justin Bijlow.
Coach Arne Slot also stayed, and he has once again forged a team that can play for prizes, both nationally and internationally.
The current Eredivisie frontrunner and KNVB Cup semifinalist is once again aiming high in Europe, although the group stage went by trial and error. In the end, Feyenoord finished handsomely above FC Midtjylland, Lazio Roma and Sturm Graz.
Over four months ago already, Santiago Giménez scored the winning goal against Lazio (1-0). In Warsaw, because of the war in Ukraine, Feyenoord resumed its European tour against Shachtar Donetsk.
Watch reactions from Arne Slot and Orkun Kökcü below.
Not an easy task, although Shachtar is no longer the Shachtar of yesteryear, with mostly excelling Brazilians. Nevertheless, they still won 7-0 at Metalist 1925 last Sunday in the national league.
Feyenoord was thus warned and already faced a disappointment in the warm-up. Giménez pulled out injured and was replaced by Danilo.
The Rotterdammers, supported in the stands by former goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek, were not deterred and quickly took the initiative.
Chances before the break were few and far between. Sjachtar, without three suspended defenders, disappointed completely and forced nothing.
After halftime, Feyenoord did create chances. Danilo found goalkeeper Anatolij Troebin in his way on a Quilindschy Hartman pass and the Brazilian saw the same Troebin make an excellent save on a header. An Alireza Jahanbakhsh shot went just wide.
Through the back
The much-desired goal therefore had to fall in the last quarter of an hour, and it fell on the other side, of all places. Shachtar asserted themselves a bit more and struck from a corner kick, which fortunately disappeared into the goal via the back of defender Yaroslav Rakitskiy.
Jahanbakhsh then had another huge header chance, but his effort, like his previous one, went wide. The final chord was for Bullaude, who gave a stronger Feyenoord a deserved draw.