Feyenoord 1-0 Fenerbahçe SK Shinji Ono gave his side a narrow first-leg lead.
Feyenoord 1-0 Fenerbahçe SK
Shinji Ono delighted the Feyenoord faithful as he gave his side a priceless lead against Fenerbahçe SK in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie.
The Japan midfielder, a key man when the Dutch club lifted the UEFA Cup by beating BV Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in May, hit the only goal of the game midway through the second half at the Feijenoord stadium. Ono scored after playing a neat one-two with Pierre van Hooijdonk and firing a low drive beyond Turkey goalkeeper Rüstü Reçber.
It was a moment of magic which illuminated what was often a scrappy affair. Fenerbahçe will be disappointed not to have picked up an away goal but will feel they have every chance ahead of the return in Istanbul in a fortnight's time.
Dogged in defence
The first half began in lively fashion but both sides struggled to get hold of the ball. Feyenoord, who finished third in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, lacked a cutting edge up front. Fenerbahçe were proving dogged in defence, and allowed their hosts little time on the ball.
Up a gear
It was a competitive opening, and it was no surprise that five yellow cards were issued in the first 45 minutes. Feyenoord picked up the pace in the second half with Bonaventure Kalou and Australian midfielder Brett Emerton going close to breaking the deadlock before Ono's intervention in the 64th minute.
Ortega on bench
The Turkish runners-up immediately went on the attack in the hope of that vital away goal. Coach Werner Lorant, who surprisingly left summer acquisition Ariel Ortega on the bench, threw on the Argentinian attacker late on to try and find a hole in Feyenoord's defence.
Fenerbahçe, eager to amend last season's disappointment when they failed to register a single point in the first group stage, nearly earned a reward right at the death. Abdullah Ercan, also on as second-half replacement, had a great chance to equalise but failed to find the net.
It meant Feyenoord retained their slender advantage for the second leg, which comes three days before they face European champions Real Madrid CF in the UEFA Super Cup on 30 August. However, coach Bert van Marwijk, who felt Fenerbahçe's Miroslav Stevic should have been sent off for kicking Kalou in the first half, is aware his team face a tough time in Turkey.
"We expect a very difficult night in Istanbul but I am sure we will have chances to score over there," he said. "They will try everything to win the game. We just have to stay cool and play our own game."
'We will attack'
Lorant was unhappy in defeat but pleased with the effort of his players. "I am not satisfied with the result but we played well. We still have a chance for the return match." He also said that Ortega would figure in Istanbul, explaining it was a tactical decision to leave him out tonight. "It is difficult to play an away game too offensively, it can be very dangerous. But in the return we will attack."