Feyenoord left Glasgow with a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their UEFA Cup fourth-round tie with Rangers FC but came close to earning a win.
Van Marwijk disappointed
"Before we came to Glasgow I was sure I would be happy with a 1-1 draw," said Feyenoord coach Bert van Marwijk after the game. "But now I am disappointed as I felt we deserved to win the match. Technically and physically we were very good and we created the most chances in the 90 minutes."
Salvation for Rangers
A Barry Ferguson penalty after 81 minutes gave Rangers a share of the spoils on a rainy, windswept night in Glasgow to give the Scottish side a fighting chance of earning a place in the quarter-finals when they travel to Rotterdam next Thursday.
The young Rangers' captain kept his cool and thumped the spot-kick into the bottom right-hand corner of Edwin Zoetebier's goal after Peter Lovenkrands went down under Glenn Loovens' challenge inside the penalty area.
"It was great to see the ball in the back of the net," said Rangers manager Alex McLeish. "To go a goal down in Europe is never ideal. Right now it is only half-time and Feyenoord have a dilemma as to whether to atack us or defend next week in Rotterdam."
Van Hooijdonk booked
Up until the goal, the biggest cheer of the evening for Rangers' fans had come when former Celtic FC striker Pierre van Hooijdonk was given a yellow card for a full-blooded challenge on Stephen Hughes three minutes into the second half.
McLeish was less than impressed with the tackle. "I don't think we have to beat about the bush," he said. "That is the kind of tackle you do not want to see in football. It was not like Pierre and I think if the referee had a proper view then he may have shown a red card rather than a yellow."
On an evening where the conditions were not exactly conducive to attractive passing football, Feyenoord started on the more positive footing but their neat passing style soon got lost in the mud at Ibrox and the first half rapidly declined into a physical but slightly stale battle.
Feyenoord go close
Bonaventure Kalou beat Stefan Klos with a 20-metre shot after 16 minutes but the ball went narrowly wide of the goalkeeper's right-hand post and Van Hooijdonk should have done better after 20 minutes when he headed Shinji Ono's cross over the bar from close range, but otherwise chances were few and far between.
Things opened up a little in the early stages of the second half as Feyenoord looked to take the game to their opponents and Jon Dahl Tomasson's shot just cleared the crossbar after 58 minutes. Ten minutes later, Van Hooijdonk went even closer with a 30-metre free-kick but Klos managed to scramble his dipping shot round the post.
When Feyenoord's opener did come four minutes later, there was an element of fortune about it. Japanese international Ono hit a speculative drive from 20-metres out and was delighted to see it hit ricochet off Bert Konterman and into the top left-hand corner of Klos's goal.
At this point, it looked like it was all over for Rangers who had struggled to find the right kind of service for their front men all evening. In the end, manager McLeish was grateful for Loovens's mistake as he lunged at Lovenkrands when the Danish striker looked to be going nowhere in the penalty area.
The result leaves the game finely balanced as the two sides prepare for their second leg tie at the Feijenoord stadium in Rotterdam on Thursday 28 February. Both sides will be hoping for slightly more forgiving weather so they can show their supporters what they are really capable of. There is bad news for Fernando Ricksen of Rangers, however. A yellow card at Ibrox means that he will be suspended for the second leg.
'The guts to play football'
"Next week will be different," said Van Marwijk. "We have to take a lot of confidence from this performance. We are in a good position and my players know what they have to do to complete the task. I am proud of my players because we came here and had the guts to play football."
'We lacked a bit of finesse'
"We lacked a bit of finesse," added McLeish, who had to do without Ronald de Boer for the game after he failed a late fitness test. "You always miss a player who has been performing as well as Ronald and has the kind of influence he can exert on a team. He would have been an automatic choice and we are hopeful that he will make it for next week."
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