Feyenoord knocks off AS Roma (1-0)

Feyenoord knocks off AS Roma (1-0)
Santiago Gimenez (l) and Oussama Idrissi (r) celebrate Mats Wieffer’s (m) goal.

NOS Soccer

After the thick tears in Tirana, Rotterdam’s revenge is now a reality. Almost a year after the lost Conference League final, Feyenoord dealt a first blow to AS Roma this time: 1-0. With a starring role for Mats Wieffer.

This also happened Thursday night at the second instead of the third European level. In the last eight in the Europa League to be exact, with remaining superpowers like Juventus and Manchester United.

After the win, through a clever goal by Wieffer after 53 minutes, the two-way tie is far from decided, but the Rotterdammers are in good shape heading into next week’s return in Rome.

Goalkeeper Wieffer, incidentally, escaped a 0-0 tie shortly before halftime, when he saw Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini fail from 11 meters after a handball. The post saved.

Justin Bijlow dives, Pellegrini misses

Justin Bijlow also played a part in that situation. The goalkeeper, back after a wrist injury, was the most notable name in Feyenoord’s starting lineup. Coach Arne Slot preferred him to Timon Wellenreuther, who had replaced first-choice Bijlow creditably in recent months.

In the early stages of the first half, Bijlow was briefly put to work on a header by Gianluca Mancini, following a Lorenzo Pellegrini free kick, which was not a free kick. Indeed, Dávid Hancko’s intervention on an action by Tammy Abraham proved correct.

AS Roma’s defensive organization, doled out by José Mourinho, was once again like a house, leaving Feyenoord struggling to find openings in the defense of the current Serie A number three.

Dybala injury

Setback for the Romans, however, was the early exit of Paulo Dybala. The Argentine striker, who moments before shot a free kick over Bijlow’s goal, dropped out with a suspected groin injury.

After his substitute Stephan El Shaarawy had created danger, as it turned out later in an offside position, Feyenoord had its best chance of the first half.

Dybala grieves on the bench after his sustained injury

After a splitting pass from Orkun Kökcü, Sebastian Szymanski decided to strike out with his weak right leg, when laying it off to Oussama Idrissi would have been a better choice. The Pole’s effort rolled wide.

A costly miss it seemed, after a penalty given to AS Roma just before the break. Wieffer received the ball unhappily on his arm at a corner by the visitors, after which Spanish referee José María Sánchez pointed to the spot. Pellegrini popped the ball onto the post, to the relief of the churning Kuip.

Ludic action by Feyenoord fans

Captain Pellegrini did not return to AS Roma after halftime and was replaced by Georginio Wijnaldum, who thus returned to his beloved Rotterdam as an opponent. He could not really enjoy it, as Feyenoord took the initiative almost immediately.

That first resulted in a promising attack on the left, where Quilindschy Hartman’s low cross could not be run in by anyone. Moments later it was a winner. Wieffer, so unfortunate earlier, kicked the ball into the ropes after a successful move by Idrissi.

Feyenoord escaped again

The goal caused a huge relief in the Kuip, but that relief quickly gave way to relief again. After all, after more than an hour, a header by Roger Ibañez bounced back into the field via Idrissi’s head and the underside of the crossbar with some luck.

Watch post-match reactions from Mats Wieffer, Arne Slot and José Mourinho:

AS Roma increasingly came out of its shell and saw El Shaarawy, among others, kill a shooting chance. At the other end, Kökçü came close to scoring a second Rotterdam goal. The pressure then slowly drained away on both sides.

In the closing stages, Wijnaldum went close to an equalizer with an outstretched shot, but the 1-0 remained on the board. Thus Feyenoord managed to beat city rival AS Roma after Lazio (1-0 in the group stage). A place in the last four of the Europa League is up for grabs.

Kayleigh Williams