Feyenoord edged past SC Freiburg with a 1-0 victory in the first leg of their UEFA Cup third-round meeting thanks to a deft late goal by Japanese international Shinji Ono.
Ono scored for the Dutch club in the 81st minute with a firm half-volley inside the box, after he had run on to a neat chip by substitute Ebi Smolarek. The win delighted coach Bert van Marwijk, who had fielded an under-strength team at the Feyenoord stadium.
'We deserved win'
”We missed five of our most important players and I will make my compliments to the team,” Van Marwijk said. “Only in the first half for about half an hour we couldn't control the play. But overall I think we deserved to win.
“But a difference from only one goal is not too much. So we can expect a very difficult return. I hope most of the injured players are fit then. If so, I think we have a good chance in Freiburg,” Van Marwijk added.
Feyenoord had found it difficult to break down a solid Freiburg defence but pressed forward increasingly in numbers towards the end of a frustrating game for the hosts. Jon Dahl Tomasson had a difficult night with several half-chances going wide.
Three yellow cards
The German side picked up three yellow cards in the first half and threatened occasionally to catch Feyenoord on the break, with Aleksandr Iashvili snatching several shots at goal without ever seriously threatening to score.
'We played well'
The defeat disappointed Freiburg’s coach Volker Finke, who said: “We had the idea that we controlled the game. Especially in the first half, we played well. We had also some opportunities to score but we didn't.
'Loss of concentration'
“We also didn't feel fear for Feyenoord,” Finke added. “In the second half, Feynoord played more offensive and caused us some difficulties. But nothing we couldn't control. Only one minute there was a loss of concentration and in that very minute Feyenoord scored.”