The home side showed a lot of nerves in the first half, although Feyenoord looked in a different class to their Austrian opponents in the first quarter of an hour. But Kärnten kept a lot of players behind the ball, restricting the Rotterdammers to extended ball possession in the middle of the pitch. An early goal would surely have given Feyenoord some wings, but it was not to be and the match soon took a turn for the worst as the two teams struggled to ignite the passions of the crowd.
The one chance Feyenoord did create started at Snoyl, who played the ball into Buffel’s feet. The Belgian could only lay the ball off to Van Wonderen however and his shot rebounded to Kuyt, who couldn’t find the target either.
Things got tougher as the game wore on and the Austrian defence gelled more and more. Schreuder thumped one in and have-a-go Kuyt had a go, but there was nothing doing. In the meantime, the visitors’ confidence grew and the Austrians started to move towards Zoetebier’s goal now and again. So when referee blew his whistle for half time, many thousands of clearly dissatisfied spectators in the stands joined in.
The second half didn’t start well and went downhill from there, especially when Croatian striker Maric rose above a ground-bound Van Wonderen to head FC Kärnten in front from a corner after 55 minutes.
Thankfully the lead didn’t last long. Another corner, at the other end this time, was swept home by Kuyt for the equaliser on 64.
By that time Van Marwijk had brought on Van Persie for Pardo and Lazovic for Ono, which gave Feyenoord more oomph up front. Indeed, the Serbian had a great opportunity to score when Kuyt set him up, but his shot was beaten away by the keeper.
Yet the home side did get the second goal they so dearly desired. With around fifteen left on the clock, Lazovic controlled in the box, before crossing to Buffel who guided the ball into the net to set up an intriguing second leg in Klagenfurt.
Feyenoord-FC Kärnten 2-1 (0-0)
57’ 0-1 Maric
64’ 1-1 Kuyt
76’ 2-1 Buffel
Feyenoord: Zoetebier; Song, Van den Berg, Paauwe, Snoyl; Buffel, Van Wonderen, Schreuder, Pardo (46’ Van Persie); Ono (58’ Lazovic), Kuyt.
FC Kärnten: Goriupp; Jovanovic, Kogler, Schellander, Papac; Höller, Hota, Kolvidsson, Zafarin (89’ Kabat); Maric (90’ Kampel), Bubalo (70’ Ambrosius).
Referee: K Clark (Scotland)