Feyenoord progressed to the group phase of the Uefa Cup Thursday evening after a goalless draw at De Kuip put the Maassiders through on away goals on the back of the twos-apiece draw in Sofia a fortnight ago. The game saw Sebastián Pardo start for the first time this campaign and the Chilean lasted the full ninety minutes. Erwin Koeman and Co can now look forward the next round’s draw in Zurich Tuesday.

Coach Koeman admitted prior to kick off that Feyenoord were not a team that could play for a goalless draw, indirectly suggesting that Feyenoord would not try to kill the game from the kick off. And the Rotterdammers confirmed that from the first minute with their offensive attitude, although the visitors were scarcely troubled, if truth be told.

Nicky Hofs was the only Feyenoord player who was able to create a little danger around the visitors’ goal, although he did so from distance. The match was six minutes old when Hofs shot over. It took until the thirtieth minute before he got round to having another dig. This time Theo Lucius played the ball into Hofs, who was again a fair distance from the goal, this time driving wide. Feyenoord were clearly in the ascendancy, but they did not appear to have the edge to cut through the Lokomotiv defence.

Strikingly, it was the Bulgarian team that had the best chance of the half, despite spending most of the forty-five defending their own lines. Tsvetan Genkov set the move in motion and when he picked the ball up again further up the field Danny Buijs found himself unable to keep up with the Bulgarian striker, who engineered the space to shoot at goal, putting his effort just a few centimetres wide of Henk Timmer’s post.

Feyenoord were unable to threaten after the break, much less entertain the fans in the stands with good football. What the Rotterdammers could do was work as hard as they have this season, which gave the supporters something to be cheerful about at least. The stadium was less than half full, but those who had taken the trouble to attend rewarded their team with strong vocal support.

The two teams were unable to create a single opportunity between them in the second period, but the aforementioned backing from the faithful meant that the atmosphere was good and the fact that the game remained on a knife-edge as the clock ticked down meant that there was plenty of tension down to the wire.

It looked as though Feyenoord had forced the issue with five minutes left on the clock however, when visiting keeper Golubovic dropped a clanger – and the ball into his own net – as substitute Stein Huysegems made life difficult for him, but referee Bebek decided to play it safe by ruling the goal out for a foul on the keeper. When the final whistle blew though, no one was kicking up a fuss about that, as Feyenoord secured their place in the group phase of the competition.

Feyenoord – Lokomotiv Sofia 0-0

Yellow: Boussaboun, Van Hooijdonk, Ivanov, Markov, Oratchev, Savic
Referee: Bebek

Feyenoord: Timmer; Buijs, Saidi, Greene, Drenthe; Hofs (68’ Kolkka), Lucius, Pardo, De Guzman; Van Hooijdonk, Boussaboun (82’ Huysegems).
Lokomotiv Sofia: Golubovic; Orathchev, Markov (Tsvetkov), Savic, Donchev; Ivanov, Koilov (84’ Angelov), Karadzinov (64’ Atanasov), Dobrev; Genkov, Antunovic.

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