Erwin Koeman saw his side dumped out of Europe in the first round, as Feyenoord slumped to defeat in Bucharest Thursday. Despite knocking in 18 goals in six Eredivisie games, Feyenoord were unable to break their duck in the Romanian capital, going down to an early Buga strike. All in all it was not a great night for the Rotterdammers, not even for Jonathan de Guzman and Tim Vincken, both of whom made their European debut.

Erwin Koeman had spend days hammering into his players that above all they had to be stingy against Rapid, but Alexander Östlund was unable to suppress his charitable side. The game was just fourteen minutes old when the Swede left the door wide open for Buga, who raced towards the goal unchecked. Patrick Lodewijks was able to keep the striker’s effort out, but the ball fell back to Buga, who headed his side into the lead.

Östlund was not the only Feyenoord player to start sluggishly, because Ghaly had already given the ball away before the goal and central defender Greene looked uncertain. It all meant that the Maassiders were having major problems in defence, when they really needed a strong basis to attack from.

Feyenoord had to put so much effort into staying in the game that they hardly had a breath over to attack themselves. Ono had a dig from distance after fifteen, but keeper Coman tipped his effort over. The resulting corner ended in a chance for Kuyt, but he was unable to net. Kalou was next to try his luck, but he was ultimately a toe short of
connecting with Kuyt’s cross.

The game had started to open up as the home side tried to pounce on any lapses in concentration. It meant that the Romanians sometimes found themselves attacking with three strikers, which caused the Rotterdammers a lot of problems.

It was affecting Feyenoord’s build up play too, as evidenced by an ill-advised attempt by Ghaly to nutmeg his direct opponent in midfield. The Egyptian could only despair as the home side sped forward and Bahia was forced to stop them with a yellow-card offence. Ghaly was scolded by his team-mates, but things got worse for him at the break, as coach Koeman decided to replace him with 18-year-old Jonathan de Guzman.

The same De Guzman was the first Feyenoord player to go close in the second half, heading in an Ono free kick, but Feyenoord continued to trail. Indeed, they were lucky to keep within striking distance when a long corner almost crept in at the far post.

The Rotterdammers try to force matters by pushing up, but they were too sloppy to really build up a head of steam. Unforced errors gave the home side regular opportunities to sweep forward themselves and put the pressure on Feyenoord. The model for the malaise that pervaded Erwin Koeman’s team was Pascal Bosschaart’s delivery straight to the feet of Niculae, who might have done better with his gift.

The visitors did work hard to try to conjure something up out of nothing, but they only really started to look more promising when Vincken replaced the injured Greene. Suddenly Feyenoord abandoned the long ball and tried to pass their way out of trouble. It looked like securing a reward when Bahia netted, but the Brazilian was forced to
cut short his celebrations as the goal was ruled out for offside.It still gave Feyenoord renewed hope and the equaliser seemed to be just around the corner. Vincken went close and both De Guzman and Bahia were dangerous in the penalty area. But Feyenoord only had luck in front of their own goal, Östlund clearing off the line with Lodewijks beaten.

As the game moved towards a climax Koeman brought on Ali Boussaboun to try to put the pressure on the Romanian defence, but the striker was unable to grab the vital goal and Feyenoord went out of the Uefa Cup.

Rapid Bucharest – Feyenoord 1-0 (1-0)
14’ 1-0 Buga

Referee: Batista (Por)

Yellows: Bahia, N. Constantin, Maldarasanu

Rapid Boekarest: Coman; M. Constantin, Maffei, Rada, Badoi,
Maldarasanu, Ilyes, Karamyan; N. Constantin, Buga, Niculae.

Feyenoord: Lodewijks, Östlund, Greene (70’ Vincken), Bahia, Bosschaart:
Ghaly (45’ De Guzman), Paauwe (85’ Boussaboun), Ono; Castelen, Kuyt,

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