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Feyenoord close in on UECL advancement after big win in Belgrade

Feyenoord put themselves in the box seat in their quest to secure a place in the quarterfinal of the Europa Conference League on Thursday evening. Arne Slot’s men beat FK Partizan 5-2 in Thursday evening’s round of 16 first leg in Serbia. The second leg in Rotterdam is scheduled for Thursday 17 March. 

It long seemed that Feyenoord would not manage to get the result their performance deserved in Belgrade. It did not take long for the visitors to show they were a cut about the Serbian SuperLiga leaders, but the score line did not reflect their dominance. Feyenoord were unable to exploit the space the hosts gave them and even found themselves behind, not once but twice.

That said, Feyenoord quickly responded to both those home goals – the first from Bibras Natcho on 13 minutes, the second from Nemanja Jovic within a minute of the restart on 46 minutes. Jens Toornstra grabbed the first equaliser on 20 minutes, with Cyriel Dessers – in for Bryan Linssen – striking within six minutes of the hosts’ second goal to level things up again. It was Dessers’ fifth UECL goal of the campaign.

But with the tie finely balanced at 2-2 Feyenoord took over. Just past the hour mark Luis Sinisterra dribbled through a gaggle of home defenders before sending over a cross that landed at the feet of Lutsharel Geertruida. The central defender rifled his shot into the top corner to the delight of the 1400 fans in the away section.

Feyenoord increased their lead on 71 minutes and this time Sinisterra was the finisher. The Colombian plucked the ball out of the air before bulging the net with a drive from distance. And the situation got even better late on when Toornstra tapped in after a Dessers backheel to claim his second of the evening.

The players celebrated their win with their travelling support in the knowledge that they had one foot in the quarter final. Feyenoord will look to confirm that place in the final eight next week when the clubs reconvene for the second leg at De Kuip, kick-off 21:00 CET.