Feyenoord-Dynamo Kiev was underway no more than a minute when Paul Bosvelt had the first chance of the game. After good work by Song on the right, Feyenoord’s captain found the ball at his feet on the edge of the sixteen-metre area. He struck immediately, but saw his chance pass in front of goal. The Feyenoorder no doubt believed this first strike would be the first of many, but after 45 minutes up and down the pitch, it looked as if the only real chance of the game had been missed.
If Feyenoord’s problem in earlier European fixtures had been finishing chances, this evening it had trouble creating them. And the warning they started the match with will undoubtedly have contributed. After extensive pre-match work, assistant trainer John Metgod has discovered the following – Kiev had an assassin’s character. The Ukraine team has specialised in lulling their opponent’s into a false sense of security, to strike at the first sign of weakness. Attacking blindly would be suicide, but with Van Wonderen and Van Haaren absent, relying too much on the defence was also not the greatest tactic.
It soon turned into a dull performance, and it became clear that the Rotterdammers would have to strike from the set pieces. And Pierre van Hooijdonk had no less than three free kicks. Three that failed to find the inside of the net. Van Hooijdonk has been surprised recently that even the free kicks he misses are newsworthy these days. “People seem to think that a free kick I take is the equivalent of a penalty. It may be my specialty, but it’s certainly no guarantee of a goal.”
The second half started with more hope. After ten minutes, De Kuip even had a deja vu, as the ball fell at Shinji Ono’s feet after an attack. The Japanese scored twice from a similar situation against Fenerbahce. And like against the Turks, he tried to outwit the keeper. The effort was well placed, but missed that small amount of luck he needed.
And so it remained 0-0 and Van Marwijk decided it was time to bring on Robin van Persie, marking his return after the disciplinary suspension from the Fenerbahce away fixture. The swap initially instilled a little more fire in the Feyenoord game, and the atmosphere even improved in the thus far quiet Kuip. It continued to rain free kicks, setting up Van Hooijdonk three more times, but to no avail. Kalou was brought on for Buffel and got the Legion on their feet with his first ball contact, passing five men in a row. But even he was unable to change the outcome.
While the clock ticked on, Feyenoord had a decision to make – attack and risk the rapid counterstrike, or settle for a draw? Going for the first option, Van Persie and Kalou managed to create some chances and injected some life in the Feyenoord attack, but they were unable to change the result: 0-0.
Feyenoord-Dynamo Kiev 0-0 (0-0)
Referee: Overbro (Nor)
Feyenoord: Zoetebier; Emerton, De Haan, Paauwe, Rzasa; Song, Bosvelt, Ono, Pardo (54’ Van Persie); Buffel (65’ Kalou), Van Hooijdonk.
Dynamo Kiev: Reva; Bodnar, Husin, Ghioane, Gavrancic, Nesmachny; Peev, Cernat (83’ Rincon), Khatskevich (62’ Leko); Melashchenko, Shatskikh.