‘They win 4-1 over us and that’s handsome’
The second encounter with AS Roma in the quarter-finals of the Europa League lasted just a little too long for Feyenoord. After substitute Igor Paixão’s 1-1, the Rotterdammers, who had won 1-0 at the Kuip, had a ten-minute lead on a place in the last four. But a stroke of genius by Paulo Dybala and an extension with two goals against threw a spanner in the works.
“The first feeling that comes up is obviously disappointment,” captain Orkan Kökcü responded to the elimination after a thrilling game at Stadio Olimpico, which eventually ended 4-1. “We were very close. That hurts the most.”
“But I learned from the Conference League final that you shouldn’t dwell on it too long. It also helps that we are still playing for a very nice prize,” the midfielder referred to the national title that beckons very emphatically. “So mourning today and then the focus goes to Sunday.”
Then Feyenoord will be visited by FC Utrecht, a club of a slightly different caliber than Thursday night’s Roman opponent. Success coach José Mourinho was able to fall back on two great substitutes in the second half: in addition to Argentine Dybala, Englishman Tammy Abraham, both of whom had a big part in the final win.
Kökcü: “Roma is a very good team anyway with a lot of individual qualities. We were not played away by a very weak opponent. You know they have players who can make the difference. That’s why there is a sense of pride. But now it’s still a bummer.”
His coach Arne Slot has compliments to spare for AS Roma. “If you are able to eliminate this Feyenoord, you must be a very good team and you must also be super strong mentally. Because we still came back to 1-1 and are also known as a team that can just keep going. And yet they managed to win 4-1 from us. That’s clever.”
Slot had also seen how decisive two top invaders at the home team had been. “It is of course nice that when you already start with very good players, players who are consistently strong in the duels, you can then also bring in the world champion and Tammy Abraham, who played an important role in the 2-1 and 3-1.”