‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Thursday was a night Feyenoord may want to forget in a hurry after Ruud Gullit’s side tumbled out of the Uefa Cup to their Portuguese opponents at De Kuip. Two second-half goals from Sporting wrapped up the victory for the visitors before Nicky Hofs grabbed a meagre consolidation right at the end. But a great European occasion was ruined by morons in the crowd, as referee Mayer was forced to stop the match twice after fireworks and lighters were thrown onto the field of play.
It was harsh on Patrick Paauwe, who represented Feyenoord in European competition for the 52nd time, equalling the record sent by De Kuip legend Wim Jansen.
Ruud Gullit preferred Salomon Kalou over Danko Lazovic in his starting line-up, no doubt hopeful that the Ivorian would be in the mood to display his silky skills. He only had to wait around a quarter of an hour for Kalou to find Dirk Kuyt free in front of goal with a fine grass-cutter, but Feyenoord’s top scorer was unable to take full advantage.
That was the first real chance in the match from the home side, although the visitors went close when Sá Pinto forced a good save from Lodewijks and Hugo headed just wide. Feyenoord regained their composure after a rather uncertain start though and Kuyt’s effort got the crowd going.
But just as the Rotterdammers seemed to be building up a head of steam, the initiative was taken away from them by a mindless idiot in the crowd. Keeper Ricardo hit the deck after a firework was thrown from the stand, and the game came to a four-minute standstill.
After the resumption it was the Portuguese who showed more and that man Sá Pinto had another effort just off target. But back came Feyenoord and Kalou wasn’t far off, just failing to keep an effort from going over, while Kuyt’s drive was easily saved by Ricardo.
Gullit had suggested that he might have a surprising tactical substitution up his sleeve if he needed to turn the game Feyenoord’s way, and the coach delivered at the break. The home side came back from the dressing room with one defender less, as Gullit elected to take off Bruno Basto and introduce Shinji Ono in his stead.
But as the time ticked down the need became ever more urgent for the Rotterdammers and committing more men forward inevitably left the door ajar at the back. The visitors almost profited when Sá Pinto headed a whisker wide of the post, but it turned out to be a short stay of execution.
The big threat Liedson had been almost invisible until he conjured up a goal on 62, lobbing the ball past Lodewijks majestically to give his side the lead. The goal led to some unsavoury incidents as Enakarhire was hit by an object thrown by a yob in the crowd. Referee Meyer decided that safety went above all else and took the teams off for a ten-minute cooling off period.
When the sides returned Feyenoord fought hard to get back into the tie, but never really threatened, even after the introduction of Lazovic. In the end it was Sporting that grabbed the second goal of the evening. An unnecessary foul by Hofs gave Rochemback a chance of having a dig with a free kick and the Brazilian stepped up to send a beautifully weighted shot into the upper corner with Lodewijks well beaten.
Hofs did atone from his sins before the end however, scoring a consolation for the Maassiders, but it couldn’t add any shine to a gloomy evening for Feyenoord.
Feyenoord 1–2 Sporting Lisbon (agg, 2-4)
61´ 0-1 Liedson
82´ 0-2 Rochemback
88´ 1-2 Hofs
Yellow: Hofs (Feyenoord)
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Zuiverloon (71´ Lazovic), Saidi, Gibbs, Basto (46´Ono); Castelen, Paauwe, Hofs, Goor; Kuyt, Kalou.
Sporting Lisbon: Ricardo; Rogerio, Enakarhire, Hugo (73´ Miguel Garcia), Rui Jorge; Carlos Martins (74´ Douala), Rochemback, João Moutinho, Barbosa; Sá Pinto (87´ Hugo Viana), Liedson.