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Powerful Feyenoord back in Europa League mix

Feyenoord are right back in the race for Europa League advancement. No wins in two Group K matches left Dick Advocaat’s side needing all three points at home to CSKA Moscow on Thursday night. The win was accomplished in convincing fashion, with Feyenoord running out 3-1 winners.

The hosts went into the encounter against the pacesetters in the Russian Premier League as underdogs. Indeed, the day before the match Advocaat was asked whether a home win would constitute an upset. Advocaat was not willing to accept the premise. In fact, he was sure his side would cause CSKA Moscow plenty of problems.

And so it proved, a day later under the lights at De Kuip, the scene of many a European success, although this time Feyenoord would not have their passionate fans to drive them on. The hosts were clearly fired up, taking the game to the visitors from the first whistle. And as the match progressed it became increasingly apparent that the hosts should not have been written off so lightly.

Any reward for the hosts’ positive play failed to materialise in the first half, in spite of a number of chances being created. Steven Berghuis and Orkun Kökcü both had shots on goal, but without a breakthrough. At the other end, Feyenoord were tight at the back, not giving the counterattacking Russians much of a sniff at all. There was a sharp intake of breath just before the break, when Chidera Ejuke threatened Justin Bijlow’s goal twice, first with a back heel, then with a shot, but the Feyenoord keeper’s clean sheet remained intact.

Unlike in some recent games, Feyenoord did not lose their concentration as the hunt for the opener continued. The hosts remained patient and the reward finally came deep into the second half. Not for the first time this season, Ridgeciano Haps was the man to score. He took a Steven Berghuis pas in his stride, slotting the ball home for his fourth strike of the campaign.

The goal gave Feyenoord a new lease of life and two more goals would come in close succession for the hosts. First, Kökcü doubled the lead with a stunning shot from distance. Then, just two minutes later Lutsharel Geertruida netted. It ended the game as a contest with 20 minutes left to play.

The home side were able to negotiate the final stages without too many problems, although the out-of-towners did manage to steal a goal back, Marcos Senesi heading into his own net. It was not enough to take the gloss off a fine performance, though. The 3-1 win moves Feyenoord above CSKA Moscow in Group K, with advancement still very much within their grasp.