EUROPEAN ADVENTURE CONTINUES

Feyenoord secured the win they needed against Wisla Krakow Wednesday evening to progress through the group phase of the Uefa Cup. The hosts took all three points in a 3-1 victory with goals by Nicky Hofs, Jonathan de Guzman and Angelos Charisteas. After a good first-half, the Poles might have counted themselves unlucky to go in at the break with a goal deficit, but truth be told Feyenoord deserved the win, after putting in a battling display to record their first European success since December 2004 when the Maassiders beat Schalke 04 ten matches ago.

Koeman’s team was fully aware of the task in hand, as shown by the fight shown on the park from the off. The first chance fell to the visitors however, when Paulista shot wide after just a minute. Charisteas responded with a shot at the other end, but keeper Emilian Dolha was not really troubled. His counterpart Timmer had more of a problem with Jakub Blaszczykowski’s shot, which was put behind for a corner.

Wisla were arguably the stronger side, but it was Feyenoord that opened the scoring. A long ball from Ron Vlaar caught out the Polish defence, which had pushed up to near the halfway line and Hofs was able to get his head onto the ball before his marker could get back. His looping effort caught out keeper Dolha too, who despite his height was unable to scramble back towards his line in time to avert the ball from going in.

The early lead was cancelled out on 23 minutes however, when Blaszczykowski ran through the Feyenoord defence before laying off to Pawel Brozek, who finished with a shot that went in off the post.

Yet Feyenoord bounced by to reclaim the lead before the break. Theo Lucius played in Joonas Kolkka, whose cross eluded everyone but De Guzman. The Canadian finished in style to put his side back in the driving seat.

Charisteas drew first blood in the second half, although it was a nosebleed rather than a knockout, as the Greek’s shot lacked precision. The same could not be said for Brozek’s opportunity on 61 minutes at the other end. The speedy striker got away from Vlaar in the box and looked like bringing Wisla alongside again, but Timmer got down well to turn the ball round the post to keep Feyenoord’s slender lead intact.

When Feyenoord created a chance of their own at the opposite end they had more luck than their Polish brothers. Van Hooijdonk – just on for Huysegems – got hold of the ball in the box and attempted a shot that eventually fell to Hofs no more than six or seven metres out. Hofs managed to find the post with his attempt but Charisteas powered in ahead of the keeper to head the rebound into the net, giving the Rotterdammers a two-goal cushion.

Wisla looked beaten and that was underscored with 12 minutes left on the clock, when Hofs was taken out by Dudka, who was shown a straight red. After that Feyenoord were able to play out the game and harvest the three points that takes them into the last 32 next year.

Feyenoord – Wisla Krakau 3-1
16’ Hofs 1-0
23’ Brozek 1-1
41’ De Guzman 2-1
66’ Charisteas 3-1

Bookings: Kolkka, Greene, Glowacki, Thwaite
Sending off: Dudka (78’ straight red)
Referee Dondarini

Feyenoord: Timmer; Buijs, Vlaar, Bahia, Greene; Hofs (89’ Derijck), Lucius, De Guzman; Kolkka (76’ Vincken), Charisteas, Huysegems (61’ Van Hooijdonk).
Wisla Krakau: Dolha, Basczynski, Glowacki, Dudka, Thwaite; Sobolewski, Blaszczykowski, Zienczuk, Burns; Pawel Brozek (89’ Radovanovic), Paulista (68’ Piotr Brozek).

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