An inspired second-half performance was enough to book Feyenoord a place in the next round of the UEFA Cup in Germany Thursday night. The Rotterdammers showed what they were made of just when they needed to, clawing back to claim a 2-2 draw and a 3-2 aggregate win, after finding themselves two goals down early in the second half.

The home side started better and Iasjvili was especially dangerous. The livewire forward twice threatened to force the opener from the left before switching sides and handing Freiburg the lead on 23 minutes. The Georgian beat Patrick Paauwe before sending a sweet left-footed cross to the far post where Sebastian Kehl, all alone, swept the ball home. Feyenoord did not appear disheartened however. The Rotterdam outfit actually had more of the ball in the first period and created a couple of half chances, although Freiburg held on to their goal lead into the break. The second period started dramatically for Feyenoord. Elmander was adjudged to have used more force than necessary to stop Ramdana latching on to a cross in the box and referee Trentalange pointed to the spot. Kobiasjvili drove home the penalty to put the German side two up and apparently in the driving seat. Yet it was Feyenoord who took over the wheel and moved up a gear, and the visitors created a number of good openings. First Tomasson went close, then Bosvelt went closer. In the end it was Pierre van Hooijdonk who got the all-important goal and he will surely never score a better one. When Feyenoord were awarded a free kick on the left the angle seemed simply too acute for a shot. Van Hooijdonk was having none of it however and he rifled the ball past a disbelieving keeper Golz. Feyenoord were suddenly in complete control and continued to create the best chances Rzasa, Smolarek and Elmander all went close. Still the equaliser didn’t come. With ten minutes left on the clock Leonardo replaced Smolarek and it was to be the Brazilian teenager who secured Feyenoord’s berth in the next round as he pounced on a loose ball in the box to steer a shot into the corner of the net. It has been a couple of miserable weeks for the South American and he expressed his emotional commitment to the Feyenoord cause with tears after his goal. Feyenoord can now look forward to further European adventures when the competition resumes after its winter break. SC Freiburg-Feyenoord 2-2 (1-0) Scorers: 21’ 1-0 Kehl 48’ 2-0 Kobiasjvili (pen.) 56’ 2-1 Van Hooijdonk 85’ 2-2 Leonardo Yellow card: Elmander Teams: Freiburg: Golz; Müller, Diarra, Kehl, Zikitssjvili (65’ Willi); Zeyer, But (75’ Coulibaly), Hermel, Kobiasjvili; Tanko (18’ Ramdana), Iasjvili. Feyenoord: Zoetebier; Dos Santos, Paauwe (91’ Sprockel), De Haan, Rzasa; Bosvelt, Tomasson, Ono; Elmander, Van Hooijdonk, Smolarek (80’ Leonardo). Referee: Trentalange (It)
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