Feyenoord 2-2 Internazionale FC (Agg: 3-2) Feyenoord won through to the final.
Feyenoord 2-2 Internazionale FC (Agg: 3-2)
The single-goal advantage Feyenoord secured from last week's first leg proved enough to see them progress to a UEFA Cup final against BV Borussia Dortmund at their own Feijenoord stadium after they were held to a 2-2 second-leg draw.
Pierre van Hooijdonk opened the scoring after 16 minutes and John Dahl Tomasson doubled the lead on 34 minutes as Feyenoord dominated the first half against the Italian league leaders. Six minutes from time, Cristiano Zanetti got one back for the visitors and Mohamed Kallon then levelled from the penalty spot on the stroke of full time but it was too little, too late.
Inter coach Héctor Cúper made seven changes from the first leg but did not field the club's leading scorer, Christian Vieri, and started with strikers Ronaldo and Nicola Ventola. The pair were close to early success in the fourth minute when Ventola narrowly failed to convert a Ronaldo cross.
Feyenoord slowly took control of the match and in the 16th minute Robin van Persie clipped in from the left to find Van Hooijdonk and the Dutch international made no mistake from close range.
The goalscorer turned creator in the 34th minute when Van Hooijdonk played in Bonaventure Kalou with a sublime flick on the halfway line. Kalou closed in on goal and shot into the legs of goalkeeper Francesco Toldo, but Tomasson was on hand to drill in the second and send the home fans into a frenzy.
Feyenoord were rarely threatened after the break but slowly began to tire as the finishing line beckoned. Zanetti made a small slice of history in the 84th minute when he scored the first goal by an Italian side against Feyenoord in Rotterdam.
Inter were given further hope when Emre Belözoglu was felled in the area by Leonardo dos Santos in added time and referee Antonio Jesus Lopez Nieto awarded a penalty which was coolly despatched by Kallon. The final seconds of the match were nerve-wracking for the fans of the home side, especially when Ventola broke away on the left, but his cross ended behind the Feyenoord goal and with it went his side's chances of a place in the final.
Coach Bert van Marwijk felt his side's positive approach in Italy had been instrumental in Feyenoord's success. "We earned our place in the final in the first leg because of the way we approached that game," he said. "It wasn't a question of whether we could play at that level, but of whether we believed we could." Van Marwijk was delighted with the first-half showing of his players but admitted they were over-excited at their own display. "I had to calm them all down at the interval," he added, "although we did play an excellent half."
Emerton to miss final
The only blip on an otherwise momentous night for the Eredivisise challengers was the yellow card for Brett Emerton which means the Australian international will now miss the final. "It's annoying that Emerton will miss the game because of a ridiculous booking, but at least [Shinji] Ono will be back so we lose one and get one back," said his coach.
Cúper called the tie "a missed opportunity" but did garner some satisfaction from his side's late comeback. "I am pleased with the players and we can hold our heads high after this. I was still confident at half-time and my confidence was rewarded by our fightback in the second half. However, we had 14 chances over the two legs and we took only two of them."