BUFFEL RELISHING UPCOMING CHALLENGES

Thomas Buffel was beaming with pride after Feyenoord’s fine win against Fenerbahçe. The young Belgian was obviously delighted with his own goal that sealed a spot in the Champions League for the UEFA Cup holders. But he was also full of anticipation for what’s still to come. ‘We have qualified for the biggest football tournament in Europe. All being well, some good things are about to happen. I’m already looking forward to it.’

Buffel experienced a great evening in Istanbul. He wasn’t even first choice substitute. With Bert van Marwijk banished from the bench, trainers Metgod and Been asked Robin van Persie to warm up, but were not impressed by the youth international’s approach. It lost Van Persie his chance, which was handed to Thomas Buffel instead. The Belgian didn’t disappoint, working hard once he got on the park. And gaining the ultimate reward for his efforts. ‘I saw Rüstü in a split-second far from his goal. And I could feel the presence of two defenders behind me. I decided to shoot. Without thinking. I don’t usually try from distance, although I have been practicing recently. So that paid dividends immediately.’ Even before his goal, Buffel was really enjoying Fenerbahçe versus Feyenoord. ‘The whole atmosphere was very impressive. It’s fantastic to experience something like that.’ The crowd didn’t seem to get to the youngster. ‘No, not really. Sitting on the bench it didn’t bother me of course. And when I got on I was concentrating too much on my game to worry about the crowd.’
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