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Koeman upbeat about Feyenoord outlook

Feyenoord coach Ronald Koeman says his team's prospects of reaching the play-offs are "still very high" as they welcome FC Dynamo Kyiv to a sold-out Feijenoord Stadion trailing 2-1.

Dynamo midfielder Ognjen Vukojević (left) tries to get past Ruud Vormer in the first leg
Dynamo midfielder Ognjen Vukojević (left) tries to get past Ruud Vormer in the first leg ©Aleksandr Zadiraka

With a capacity crowd behind them, and the play-offs in sight, Feyenoord have high hopes of overturning a 2-1 first-leg deficit against an FC Dynamo Kyiv side who continued their unblemished start to the season at the weekend.

When Ronald Koeman's young team took the lead in Ukraine last week through Ruben Schaken, the Eredivisie club were heading for victory in their first UEFA Champions League game for a decade. Though Dynamo turned the third qualifying round match around with two goals in 13 minutes, the result was still regarded as a positive by Koeman, who has lost the services of key players Ron Vlaar, Otman Bakkal, Karim El Ahmadi and John Guidetti since the end of last term.

"We did excellently for over an hour," said Koeman ahead of Tuesday's decider. "The difference after the equaliser was that Dynamo could bring on an international like Artem Milevskiy, while we mainly had young players. But it is possible to overturn this result at home and, fitness wise, we will be one week further on. Our prospects of qualifying are still very high."

Summer signing Lex Immers, who set up Schaken for the opener at the Olympic Stadium but was credited with an unfortunate own goal after goalkeeper Erwin Mulder punched an inswinging free-kick against his back, reiterated his coach's words.

"We have seen what the weak points of Dynamo Kyiv are and we hope to do something with them at home," said the former ADO Den Haag attacker. "I certainly see possibilities for us at a sold-out De Kuip."

Koeman is optimistic right-back Daryl Janmaat, who limped out of the first leg before half-time with a groin injury, will recover to face a side top of the Ukrainian Premier League with a maximum 12 points after Friday's 1-0 victory at FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih.

"Three of our five wins this season have come in the dying minutes, that proves our fitness is fine," said coach Yuri Semin. "We are able to raise our tempo at any moment and show our character. However, we will have to give our all in Rotterdam from the very first minute."

Ideye Brown scored the first-leg winner, hours after becoming a father. The Nigeria forward named his son Andriy in honour of Andriy Shevchenko, the legendary former Dynamo and Ukrainian international who announced his retirement last month. "I was twice as happy after that goal," said Brown of his fifth strike of the campaign.

The Bilo-Syni have travelled to the Netherlands without suspended centre-back Yevhen Khacheridi, while new arrivals Raffael and Marco Ruben could drop to the bench after making their debuts on Friday.

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