Feyenoord has started the Champion’s League tournament with a draw, and considering the course of the match against Juventus can be nothing but pleased with the result. Pierre van Hooijdonk again walks away from de Kuip a hero by securing a point in the final fifteen minutes with one of his now famous free kicks. Final score against the Italian champions: 1-1.

The Feyenoorders had barely left the dressing room after the gala performance in Enschede when Bert van Marwijk took them aside and warned that Juventus was going to be of a different calibre. And shortly afterwards, the job got harder as captain Paul Bosvelt fell away for personal reasons. The first major challenge in the Champions league was going to be tough. Van Marwijk had a number of options to solve the problem, and finally went for the one with which least changes were needed in the team. Chris Gyan slotted in at right back, with Emerton taking up the Feyenoord captain’s trusted position The fact that men like Del Piero and Nedved offer a different strain of competition was obvious almost from the whistle. With barely three minutes on the clock, Montero got first take at the Rotterdam goal. Edwin Zoetebier parried with a fine reflex, thereby keeping his eleven in the match with the most important save in the first half. Feyenoord was unable to pick up steam in the opening phases. With both Song and Pardo in the line-up and Buffel just behind van Hooijdonk, Van Marwijk had had other ideas before the game. The Italians took charge, although as time passed Feyenoord managed to take a firmer grip on the game after the initial shock. Song set up van Hooijdonk with a clear view of the Juve keeper and despite Pierre being offside, it was a clear sign of recovery. This opened up a phase in the game in which it went from end to end, although with the Italians enjoying the better chances. Zoetebier again saved his side from early disappointment in the 15th minute after some poor communication between Song and Gyan allowed the ever-dangerous to have a go at goal. His shot was saved by the Feyenoord keeper. The Volendammer’s good work set up the motivation in the Feyenoord side to pick up on effort, resulting in a number of fair chances for the Dutch. Buffel was first with a chance, and after Zoetebier had again neutralised a header by Ferrara and Del Piero had shown off his famous acceleration, Song started Feyenoord’s best effort of the match so far. Starting on the right of the pitch, the Korean slipped past two before perfectly setting up Thomas Buffel. Apparently a little shocked to be face-to-face with Buffon, he put the ball straight at the keeper. Clearly piqued by the squandered chance in the know that these opportunities are rare at this level, he may have been surprised that Van Hooijdonk had a similar opening on the 30-minute mark. Again set up by Song, Buffel put van Hooijdonk in with a chance, but the Feyenoord top striker put the ball high over the bar. The miss hit home extra hard, as Juventus had just previously taken the lead. A seemingly innocuous attack had fallen at the feet of Camoranesi who didn’t need telling twice and shot immediately. His 20-metre strike hit the top corner leaving Zoetebier without a chance: 1-0. Trailing 1-0, Van Marwijk decided after 10 minutes in the second half to bring on Kalou in place of Pardo, shortly after Feyenoord had got away from a 2-0 deficit with Di Viao leaving a sitter. But even the African’s skills were insufficient to lift the Feyenoorders attack to the heights they wanted. The Italians seemed to sit on their 1-0 lead, reducing the playing area as much as possible and making it tough for the Rotterdammers to get anywhere near Buffon. So increasingly, the match became one of relying on a single brilliant moment. And Van Marwijk placed a deal of those aspirations on the shoulders of Bombarda, the Argentine who took over from Gyan in the final stages. Nevertheless, release came from the one man from whom it might have been expected: Pierre van Hooijdonk. Fifteen minutes before time, Van Hooijdonk got a shot at his speciality. Earlier attempts had faltered in the Italian wall, and Pi-Air’s initial attempt faced the same fate. But with the Italians refusing to honour the 9 meters 15 rule, Van Hooijdonk had three attempts at his prize. That was enough for the specialist who put the third effort well beyond the reach of the Juve keeper, Buffon: 1-1. Release on the pitch and in the stands set up the final period in which Feyenoord got away with a number of narrow escapes, but managed to hold on to the final whistle. Feyenoord-Juventus 1-1 (0-1) Referee: Lopez Nieto (Spain) Scoring: 31’ 0-1 Camoranesi 75’ 1-1 Van Hooijdonk Yellow card: Montero, Emerton, Nedved, Kalou Teams Feyenoord: Zoetebier; Gyan (69’ Bombarda), Paauwe, Van Wonderen, Van Haaren; Song, Emerton, Ono, Pardo (54’ Kalou); Buffel, Van Hooijdonk. Juventus: Buffon; Thuram, Ferrara, Montero, Birindelli; Tacchinardi, Davids (64’ Fresi), Camoranesi (80’ Baiocco), Nedved; Di Vaio, Del Piero (75’ Salas).
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