Going in to the sixth and final match day of the group stage, Feyenoord’s only route to the knockout phase was a win. Wolfsberger AC only needed a draw to progress from Group K. That dictated how the match developed from the start, as the hosts ceded possession to Feyenoord, who were expected to make the running on a frosty pitch.
Feyenoord were prepared for the challenge but lacked penetration against a solid Austrian wall. There were scarcely chances of note in the early stages, the first not falling to Jens Toornstra until 25 minutes in. The midfielder was put through on the home keeper, but Alexander Kofler’s fine reflexes helped him protect his clean sheet.
Six minutes later at the other end, Dejan Joveljic was able to do what Toornstra couldn’t. The striker managed to lose Orkun Kökcü in the area and head home to give his side the lead. It was a hammer blow for Feyenoord, who did not look capable of scoring twice to turn the game and their European campaign around.
The only bright spot in the second half was the return to action of Luis Sinisterra. The Colombian striker entered the field of play on 72 minutes, ending ten months on the sidelines due to injury. Sinisterra even had a chance to seal his return with a goal, but his volley was caught by Kofler.
The defeat was duly confirmed, eliminating Feyenoord from the competition, but they have little time to reflect as they are back in action in the Eredivisie on Sunday. A visit to VVV-Venlo awaits, kick off 14:30 CET.
- Luis Sinisterra