Feyenoord knew that even a win in Porto would not guarantee them a place in the Europa League knockout phase. If Young Boys got anything from their fixture at Rangers, it would be game over for Feyenoord.
The situation looked hopeless when FC Porto raced ahead with two goals in as many minutes on the quarter-hour. Luis Diaz claimed the first, shooting past Nick Marsman, who couldn’t keep it out despite getting an arm on the ball. A minute later, Tyrell Malacia deflected a low cross into his own goal to make it 2-0.
The Portuguese seemed to be cruising, but Feyenoord showed mental toughness to quickly get back into the game. On 19 minutes Eric Botteghin headed in from a corner to half the hosts’ lead. Three minutes later the sides were level again. Sam Larsson slotted in the equaliser.
Shaken but stirred, FC Porto came back again. On 34 minutes Marsman parried a home effort and Tiquinho Soares pounced to net the rebound. It meant that Feyenoord went in behind at the break, needing to impose themselves and score at least two goals more than FC Porto in the second half.
The hosts had the upper hand early in the second 45, however. Feyenoord only started to threaten after Yassin Ayoub and Luciano Narsingh were brought on for Jens Toornstra and Luis Sinisterra. Almost immediately, Ayoub found Narsingh with a pinpoint cross, but keeper Agustin Marchesin got his body in the way of the striker’s effort.
The hosts determined to protect their lead after that scare and there were no more goals to record in the second half. With Rangers and Young Boys playing out a 1-1 draw in Glasgow, FC Porto ended the evening on top of Group G, progressing to the knockout phase with the Scots, with Feyenoord bringing up the rear.
Big one at De Kuip
Feyenoord need not expect a soft landing after the ultimately fruitless trip to northern Portugal. Sunday sees PSV at De Kuip in the Eredivisie, kick-off 14:30 CET.
- Sam Larsson