FEYENOORD SECURE UEFA CUP SPOT
Feyenoord held on to a 2-1 lead over FC Spartak Moscow for 70 minutes to finish third in Group H and gain a place in the third round of the UEFA Cup.
Jon Dahl Tomasson put the home side ahead after only five minutes but Vladimir Beschastnykh equalised nine minutes later before Johan Elmander struck after 18 minutes to give Feyenoord the lead.
In a pulsating first half both sides could have scored more, as first Elmander and then Tomasson had efforts in the box they will feel they should have done better with. At the other end, Beschastnykh had a chance to double his tally but he saw his effort from five metres out go into the side-netting.
But it was Tomasson who struck first. The Dane was making his return after an ankle injury and wasted no time in getting back on the scoresheet. His canny run to the far post paid off as he met Brett Emerton's low cross from the right with a perfect finish from three metres out.
Spartak strike back
Beschastnykh’s response was not long coming. Eduard Tsykhmeistruk’s shot from the edge of the area was blocked, but a follow-up strike from Beschastnykh found the far corner.
Feyenoord had the lead again within four minutes, when Kakhaber Mjavanadze failed to cut out Patrick Paauwe's pass, letting in a grateful Elmander who hit home to make it 2-1.
Both sides came out for the second half knowing that the game was in the balance. Spartak had shown enough endeavour and creativity in the first half and looked more than capable of scoring again, as did Feyenoord who had profited from Shinji Ono and Emerton's relentless forward runs in the first half.
But it was Spartak’s wide man Vasili Baranov who was the main threat in the second half. He put in cross after cross from the right-hand side, causing confusion and panic in the Feyenoord back four, but time and time again, his colleagues could not find the finish.
Hit the crossbar
The closest the visitors came was just after the hour when Beschastnykh's left-foot shot hit the crossbar and bounced in front of the goal. A couple of Russian arms went up in the air in appeal for a goal, but the ball was clearly not over the line.
Beschastnykh later had a headed effort saved by the goalkeeper, and at the other end, a one-two between Ono and Tomasz Rzasa led to a well saved shot. After that, Feyenoord concentrated on winding the clock down and celebrating their continued involvement in European football this season.