Shakhtar too strong for Feyenoord again
Feyenoord suffered a fourth Champions League defeat in Ukraine on Wednesday evening. Head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side did take the lead against Shakhtar Donetsk through Nicolai Jørgensen, but the hosts hit back to win 3-1. The loss ends Feyenoord’s chances of progressing in the tournament, but, with Napoli losing to Manchester City, third place in Group F is still up for grabs.
The evening started well for Feyenoord in chilly Kharkov, with the visitors grabbing a twelfth-minute lead. Nicolai Jørgensen had spurned an early opportunity in the Metalist Stadium, but on this occasion he got his head on to a perfectly measured Steven Berghuis cross to net in the far corner.
The opening goal should have given Feyenoord renewed confidence, but within five minutes they were 2-1 down. The first home goal was claimed by Facundo Ferreyra, who latched on to a long ball to score at the third attempt. The hosts then took the lead through Marlos, who mercilessly punished some below par work from Sofyan Amrabat as he tried to get the ball out of the danger zone.
It was another tough lesson for Feyenoord, who should have learned that mistakes and lapses of concentration can often be fatal in the Champions League, after similar outcomes in the matches against Manchester City, Napoli and at home to Shakhtar.
Feyenoord did have a chance to put pressure on the hosts just ahead of the break. Jean-Paul Boëtius had lots of space in front of him, but he did not control the ball well and was forced out wide, which made it difficult for him to trouble keeper Andriy Pyatov.
The Ukrainians could have been a couple of goals ahead by then. A head on a home corner deflected the ball goalwards, but it ended up on top of the bar.
After the break, backed by 500 fans in the away section, Feyenoord worked hard and used the ball well in search of their first Champions League point of the season. It led to some good chances for Berghuis, Tonny Vilhena and Jørgensen, but none of them could beat Pyatov with their shots.
It left Feyenoord chasing the game with little to show for a strong opening to the second period. Shakhtar were much more effective midway through the half. Marlos beat Jones with a fine chip to make it 3-1 and make Feyenoord’s task even harder.
Berghuis and Boëtius has fine opportunities to reduce the deficit with ten minutes left, but both failed to convert them. It all meant that Feyenoord were left still looking for their first point in the Champions League. One glimmer of hope for head coach Van Bronkhorst and his side is that Napoli only have three points themselves after losing at home to Manchester City.
The two sides meet at De Kuip on Wednesday 6 December in what could be a winner-takes-all encounter. But first Feyenoord travel to Manchester City, who have already qualified for the next round. That match is on Tuesday 21 November.