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Final dream still live after hard-fought win at De Kuip

Feyenoord remain on course for a trip to Tirana towards the end of May after overcoming Olympique Marseille in a titanic Europa Conference League semi-final first leg on Thursday night. De Kuip was rocking as the hosts secured a 3-2 advantage to take to the south of France next week.
De Kuip has seen some fabulous European nights down the years and the atmosphere ahead of kick-off – with DJ Panic whipping up the crowd with some dope beats – suggested that something special was about to happen again.
The hosts took up the challenge, racing out of the blocks in their first European semi-final in 20 years. The French side were not given any time to settle on the ball as Feyenoord closed them down at every turn. That energy paid dividends early on as the home side blasted their way to a 2-0 lead within 20 minutes.
It was perhaps no surprise that it was Cyriel Dessers who got the breakthrough. A superb backheel from Luis Sinisterra left the Nigerian international with just the keeper to beat, which he did without further ado. His Colombian team-mate turned goal scorer for the second, netting from a Reiss Nelson cross via a stray French leg.
It was a healthy cushion, but OM pushed back and by the time the sides went in at half time the scores were level. The visitors’ first goal came from the foot of Bamba Dieng, who rifled in from distance. Gerson netted the second just ahead of the break to tie things up.
But Feyenoord were not done by any means, regaining the lead within nine seconds of the restart. Feyenoord pressed from the kick-off and with the French defenders under pressure, Dessers stole possession, rounding keeper Mandanda before rolling the ball over the line to give the hosts the edge again.
The French side went in search of a third of their own, but Feyenoord showed plenty of grit to keep them at bay. The closest Olympique Marseille came to an equaliser was in the final minutes, but Ofir Marciano pulled off a fabulous save to protect his side’s one-goal lead.
It means that Arne Slot’s side travel to the Gulf of Lion next week still in the hunt for a trip to Albania on Thursday 25 May. The semi-final second leg at Stade Vélodrome, where Feyenoord will be backed by 3245 travelling fans, kicks off at 21:00 CET.