A 2-0 victory for SC Heerenveen in their UEFA Cup first-round second leg match was not enough to deny FC National Bucuresti a place in the next round, the Romanian team surviving a Dutch onslaught to seal a 3-2 aggregate win.
With a mountain to climb after their 3-0 defeat in Bucharest, the hosts seized the initiative straight from the start, hardly allowing National to clear their lines as they lay siege to the visitors' goal.
Nurmela in superb form
The architect behind the early pressure was Finnish playmaker Mika Nurmela who, along with right winger Arjan Ebbinge, created a host of chances in the opening stages. Indeed, Heerenveen should have taken an early lead after ten minutes of play when Abgar Barsom just failed to connect with Ebbinge's trademark pass.
Vintila on hand
Then ten minutes later Romano Denneboom rose high to produce a bullet header on the National goal but Bogdan Vintila was equal to it and turned the effort behind for a corner. Vintila was also on hand to keep out a stinging drive from Nurmela seconds later and Swedish import Stefan Selakovic was also denied by the inspired goalkeeper as the first half finished scoreless.
The Dutch hosts maintained their positive rhythm from the start of the second half and had to wait only nine minutes after the interval before their pressure finally paid off. Barsom took a corner from the right and Petter Hansson scored with a close-range header.
Time run out for Heerenveen
The goal left the visitors visibly deflated and worse was to come in the 65th minute when Nurmela produced a wonderful through-ball for Denneboom who finished from close range. Heerenveen continued to pile on the pressure but failed to create any clear chances and the visitors held on.