One step ahead - that was man-of-the-match Jon Dahl Tomasson in his farewell game for Feyenoord. The Danish international striker was the catalyst for a terrific 3-2 victory over BV Borussia Dortmund. His pace and power on the ball typified the attacking talent on view from both sides, but it was Tomasson - who will wear the red and black of Milan AC next term - who shone the brightest in the Feijenoord stadium.
With both teams lining up in similar fashion - four at the back, a diamond shape in midfield including a floating, forward-thinking playmaker, and two dedicated target men - the contest hinged on Jürgen Kohler's sending-off on 31 minutes. Dortmund had to drop Stefan Reuter back into the back four, which saw them lose valuable protection in midfield. That allowed plenty of space to the impressive Shinji Ono, who showed an adept touch that frequently had the Dortmund defence on the back foot.
Down and out
Dortmund were seemingly down and out at half-time, trailing by two goals and with a man short. However, coach Matthias Sammer must have said something special at half-time as they tore forward after the break and made light of their disadvantage. Much of that was down to skills of Tomáš Rosicky, and Amoroso who dropped back to look for the ball. That they were in with a chance until the very end was testament to their unstinting commitment, a trait that won them the 1. Bundesliga title this season, but they were made to pay for some uncharacteristic errors.
For Dortmund, Rosicky showed again that he is destined for greatness but his team were never in a position to dominate the game. The German side missed Sebastien Kehl's presence in protecting the defence.
Had the edge
Feyenoord always had the edge, not least through their lively front two of Tomasson and two-goal hero Pierre van Hooijdonk who were ably supported by wide players Bonaventure Kalou and the 18-year-old Robin van Persie, who won the free-kick for the second goal with a driving run away from Marcio Amoroso. Van Persie understandably tired in the second half and coach Bert van Marwijk was astute enough to replace him with the skilful Leonardo. At difficult times in the match, especially when Dortmund cut the deficit to 2-1 and then 3-2, such players were vital to the cause.
Van Marwijk's presence was key throughout, especially in the way he urged his team on in the second half. He was constantly on his feet in the technical area, reminding his team how to get the best out of their one-man advantage. "It was a tough match," he said. "It was necessary to do some coaching. I was so close to the action and of course we were trying to do our utmost to win. I saw Kalou was tired and I tried to give him some extra tips."
Tomasson and two-goal hero Pierre van Hooijdonk were a constant menace to their markers, Christian Wörns and Kohler and, following the latter's dismissal, Wörns and Stefan Reuter. Constantly swapping sides and coming deep, they never allowed the Dortmund defenders to catch their breath.
Indeed, Tomasson's attacking instincts brought about the crucial first goal. With Kohler seemingly in a position to clear, the Dane barged through and looked likely to score. The German was forced into a challenge that brought about a penalty and his dismissal. Van Hooijdonk stepped up and converted a textbook spot-kick, much in the way Amoroso later did for Dortmund's first. Van Hooijdonk had also hit the post with an earlier free-kick, and then sent a stunning set-piece beyond Jens Lehmann just before the interval.
Tomasson sealed a fantastic evening with the third, and killer goal in the second half. Put through superbly, he ignored appeals for offside made against van Hooijdonk, who was adjudged to be not be interfering with play, to slot the ball into the net.
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