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Two Dirk Kuyt goals and a Bart Goor lob handed Feyenoord all three points in a comfortable opening Uefa Cup Group A encounter Thursday evening at De Kuip. A plus for Ruid Gullit was the performance of Gianni Zuiverloon who made his first career start in the red and white jersey. He took over from Chong Gug Song at right back, who found himself out of the squad and sitting in the stands.
Feyenoord had expected a tough start, but may not have been expecting a Scots wall between them and the goal from the first whistle. Hearts were forced to go into the game without Dutch talisman Mark de Vries and coach Craig Levein’s lack of attacking options left his side with close to zero penetration.
It certainly meant that the Rotterdammers took some time to adapt, although they started to find a few gaps here and there as the half wore on.
Kalou looked like being the first to wriggle through the barrier, netting as early as the sixth minute, but home celebrations were cut short as the strike was ruled out for offside. The next big chance fell to Bosschaart on twenty, but it wasn’t for another minute or so before the goal came. Paauwe’s ball found Kuyt at the far post and when the Danish referee didn’t blow up for offside against Saidi, Kuyt nodded in from close range.
Feyenoord were riding their luck and it held firm in the thirty-seventh minute when McKenna got the ball in the net after a rare Scottish forage into the home half, but referee Poulsen ruled out the effort for offside.
That came hot on the heels of a big chance for the Maassiders, when Kalou put in Kuyt, but the Dutch international was unavailable to keep his hard shot on target.
The second half was a third of the way through when Feyenoord extended their lead. Belgian midfielder Bart Goor found himself clean through with only keeper Gordon to beat and he lobbed the ball over the Scotsman to get De Kuip on its feet for the second time.
The goal had the Jam Tarts licked and the visitors simply rolled over and let Feyenoord have their way. Gullit took the opportunity to bring on Mtiliga for Basto, Buffel for Kalou and Lazovic for Castelen.
The game appeared to be winding down to a two-nil finish until Kuyt latched onto a Goor cross to volley in the third to rubberstamp Feyenoord’s first three points in Group A.
Feyenoord-Heart of Midlothian 3-0 (1-0)
21’ 1-0 Kuyt
57’ 2-0 Goor
83’ 3-0 Kuyt
Referee: Poulsen (Den)
Bookings: Webster, Pressley, Bosschaart, Maybury, Mtiliga
Feyenoord: Babos; Zuiverloon, Saidi, Paauwe, Basto (63’ Mtiliga); Castelen (80’Lazovic), Bosschaart, Ono, Goor; Kalou (65’ Buffel), Kuyt
Hearts: Gordon; Neilson, Pressley, Webster, Maybury, Kisnorbo (81’ Stewart); Hamill, McFarlane (40’ Weir), Hartley, McAllister (70’ Wyness); McKenna.