Feyenoord started their Uefa Cup group campaign with a well-deserved point in Switzerland Thursday. Christian Gross’s FC Basel took the lead on the hour through substitute Eduardo but Feyenoord levelled things a quarter of an hour before time when an substitute Stein Huysegems popped up to give the Rotterdammers a good platform going into the three remaining group games. The match marked Philippe Léonard’s debut, although the Belgian did pick up a caution for his troubles. Serginho Greene wore the captain’s armband in the absence of Theo Lucius.
Feyenoord have found themselves a goal behind early doors too often this season and the same threatened to happen in Switzerland, as the home side started well, pushing the Maassiders back towards their goal. Mladen Petric racked up three attempts with head and foot, but fortunately none of them were good enough to open the scoring. By the time Mile Sterjovski shot wide, wasting Basel’s fourth opportunity of the evening the danger had ebbed.
FC Basel soon realised that they would have to work harder to get the upper hand and the pace of the game was soon pulled down a notch or two as the home side took a different tack. As a result the Rotterdammers took the game by the scruff of the neck, which resulted in a fine opportunity for the visitors when Danny Buijs volleyed Jonathan de Guzman’s high cross with aplomb, only to see his effort go wide.
Feyenoord were playing a compact game and the Swiss team were allowed to make the running. Basel were not entirely comfortable with the responsibility though and save a shot from Zdravko Kuzmanovic, which Timmer stopped comfortably, there was little danger from the home side. Feyenoord was – albeit to a limited degree. Pardo was unable to veer his shot out of the reach of Franco Costanzo, just ahead of the biggest chance of the first half.
There were 36 minutes on the clock when Léonard held the ball up for Boussaboun, who passed to Angelos Charisteas. The Greek found himself with just the keeper to beat, but Costanzo pulled off a fine reflex save to deny Feyenoord the lead and Charisteas his first goal for the club.
It did contribute to Feyenoord slowly but surely realising that there was a real chance they could take something from the game however. But that was exactly when fate intervened. On 57 minutes Timmer had to be at his best when both Petric and Kuzmanovic had shots that Timmer managed to keep out with difficulty.
Two minutes later the keeper was unable to repeat the trick when Petric’s free kick was not cleared properly. Eduardo was in just the right position to take advantage, rattling home the rebound from close range to give the home side the lead after less than a minute on the pitch.
It did not change the game too much. As the clock ticked down it was Feyenoord that had the next chance. Karim Saidi got his head to De Guzman’s cross, powering his header towards goal, only to see Costanzo turn the ball round for a corner.
Erwin Koeman showed some foresight in his substitutions to rival his opposite number, because Feyenoord’s sub made as much an impact as Basel’s. Huysegems was allowed to get forward as the game moved into the last fifteen minutes and he washed away any frustrations he might have had with his false start with the Rotterdammers when he was put clear by De Guzman. The Belgian rounded Costanzo and knocked the ball into the net for the equaliser.
Timmer ensures that Feyenoord held onto their hard-fought point in injury time when Petric tested the keeper with a robust free kick that Timmer fisted round the post, as the Maassiders secured a draw in Basel.
FC Basel – Feyenoord 1-1
60’ 1-0 Eduardo
76’ 1-1 Huysegems
Yellow: Léonard, Bahia, Greene, Ba
Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Saidi, Bahia, Léonard; Greene, De Guzman, Buijs, Pardo (71’ Huysegems); Boussaboun, Charisteas.
FC Basel: Costanzo; Chipperfield, Nakata, Majstorovic, Zanni; Buckley (77’ Berner), Ba, Ergic, Kuzmanovic (82’ Cristiano); Petric, Sterjovski (59’ Eduardo).