‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
A narrow defeat in Switzerland couldn’t stop Feyenoord from qualifying for the round of 32 as group A winners Thursday. The Rotterdammers ultimately went down to a second-half Carignano strike. Ruud Gullit started with a host of squad players in his first eleven and also lost captain Patrick Paauwe with a thigh injury. His place in the centre of defence was taken over by young debutant Wouter Artz. Paauwe is now a doubt for Sunday’s match against ADO Den Haag.
The Maassiders started with Magrão, Buffel, Smolarek, Loovens and Mtiliga, as Gullit rested a number of key players ahead of Sunday’s Eredivisie encounter. And the result was a rather chaotic first half on a terrible pitch in Switzerland.
The home side did have the ball in the net within six minutes, but the goal was ruled out for offside. The next chance fell to Gimenez, who struck from close range only to see his effort blocked by Mtiliga.
Gullit was hoping that one or two of his replacements would stake their claim for more regular outings, but that certainly didn’t happen before the break, as anonymity reigned among the visitors, with only Magrão making some impression.
The pitch did play its part of course, making life difficult for the forward oriented Smolarek and Buffel in particular. Feyenoord’s only real chance worthy of the name was a Kalou attempt that flashed wide.
The Swiss dominated from first to last and scored their second ‘goal’ of the night on eighteen, but again the effort was ruled out for offside.
When the sides returned after the break the match fell back into its regular pattern with FC Basel searching for the breakthrough and Feyenoord on the back foot. Old head Patrick Lodewijks showed his worth again not long into the second half when he tipped over a dangerous shot from Gimenez that looked like it would dip under the bar.
That kept the sides level for a little longer, but the breakthrough wasn’t long in coming. Sloppy defending by Feyenoord left Carignano with the time and space to nod the Swiss into the lead on 52 minutes.
Feyenoord spent the rest of the match trying to put things right, but appeared to lack the heart for a fight with qualification already in the bag.
The exception was Patrick Paauwe, who picked up a nasty kick in the thigh and retired to the sidelines for some attention. The captain was in no mood to give in easily, returning to the fray after treatment, but a couple of minutes later it had become clear that Paauwe had to retire for the night.
That handed an unexpected debut to Wouter Artz as the nineteen-year-old took his place in the centre of defence. He joined Danko Lazovic, who had just replaced Kalou.
Feyenoord did create one chance in the later stages of the tussle, when Kuyt found room to shoot, but his effort was pushed over and the match ended in a 1-0 win for the home side, who join the Rotterdammers and Schalke 04 in the knock-out stages.
FC Basel-Feyenoord 1-0 (0-0)
52’ 1-0 Carignano
FC Basel: Zuberbühler; Quennz, Zwyssig, P. Degen, Huggel, Sterjovski (D. Degen), Chipperfield, Delgado (90’ Barberis), Rossi, Gimenez, Carignano.
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Song, Loovens, Paauwe, Mtiliga; Smolarek, Bosschaart, Magrão, Buffel; Kalou (63’ Lazovic), Kuyt.
Referee: Davilla (Spa)
Yellow Card: Smolarek