‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Four points and a place at the top of Group A is what Feyenoord have to show after two pool games in the Uefa Cup. The latest point came in a hard-fought encounter in Budapest’s Ferenc Puskas Stadium Thursday. The home side took a first half lead through a Tozser thunderbolt, but goal machine Salomon Kalou levelled things up after the break to leave the Rotterdammers with a favourable record in the group and a great chance of progressing to the knock-out stages.
Ruud Gullit had pointed up the need to stay on level terms during the first twenty minutes and he saw his side do just that, as Feyenoord started the match the better side, playing in a compact formation. With Bosschaart just in front of the defence, the visitors looked more than comfortable in the face of the Hungarians’ huff and puff.
The Rotterdammers set up a couple of dangerous attacks down the flanks and down the middle, but Kuyt, Castelen and Kalou all failed to show the killer instinct in the final third.
And as if to confirm that time-honoured football law, when the goal did come it came at the other end.
It came 26 minutes in after Dirk Kuyt gave the ball away in midfield. Patrick Paauwe was forced to intervene as Aleksandar Bajevski threatened to break clear, earning himself a yellow card and the Hungarians a free kick.
Daniel Tozser stepped up to the mark to rattle in a seriously hard shot that left Gabor Babos and his defence with no chance as the ball sailed into the net.
Feyenoord needed some time to recover their composure, but gradually managed to get back into the game as the half wound down, without threatening the home goal.
There was another setback for the Rotterdammers early in the second period, as
Romeo Castelen was forced off with an injury ten minutes in. He was replaced by Thomas Buffel.
By that time Ferencvaros has raised the heat a couple of times, with Lipscei not quite finding the target with his drive and Bajevski just too slow to react when he found himself with only Babos between him and glory.
Feyenoord were unable to relieve the pressure with much in the way of attacks of their own, although they certainly began to get back into things as time wore on.
It led to the equaliser just after the hour mark. Feyenoord made progress down the middle and when Kuyt managed to find Kalou in the danger zone, the Ivorian responded by rattling in the 1-1 with aplomb.
The same Kalou had a chance to edge his side ahead not long after, as Feyenoord countered with alacrity down the left, but his shot whisked past the post this time.
There would be no more goals, but the Maassiders had the best of the play in an exciting tussle. Goor did go close with around fifteen left on the clock from a free kick, but keeper Vukmir stretched to fist the ball away from the top corner of his goal.
That was the sign for the home side to ratchet up their efforts. Saidi, who had a perfect game, underscored his value to Ruud Gullit’s team with a sliding tackle on 80, but then appeared to have a rush of blood to his head, trying to dribble his way out of defence only to concede a free kick. Babos was up to the challenge however, and two subsequent Hungarian chances were also spurned as the match ended in a draw.
Ferencvaros-Feyenoord 1-1 (1-0)
26’ 1-0 Tozser
61’ 1-1 Kalou
Ferencvaros: Szucs; Balog; Dragan, Gyepes, Sorin, Huszti, Adem,
Lipcsei; Tozser (20 Penska), Bajevski, Sowunmi (32’ Vagner).
Feyenoord: Babos; Song, Saidi (85’ Loovens), Paauwe, Mtiliga; Castelen
(10’ Buffel), Bosschaart, Ono, Goor; Kuyt, Kalou.
Referee: Ceferin (Slo)
Gyeloows: Sorin, Adem, Paauwe, Vukmir