A Pierre van Hooijdonk free-kick was crucial in sending Feyenoord through to the fourth round of the UEFA Cup at the expense of SC Freiburg.
SC Freiburg 2-2 Feyenoord (Aggregate: 2-3)
There appeared little threat to the German goal when Feyenoord won a free-kick more than 30 metres from goal out towards the touchline. But the Dutch international forward, who gained notoriety for going on strike while playing for Nottingham Forest FC, now showed how famously he can strike a football by hitting a shot of awesome power past Richard Golz and in off the far post.
A delighted Elmander
No-one was more delighted than Johan Elmander, who had conceded a penalty early in the second half which resulted in Freiburg going 2-0 up and ahead on aggregate. Now, in a trice, they found themselves trailing by virtue of this away goal. Volker Finke, the Freiburg coach, was less impressed with the goal than some. "The equaliser wasn't necessary," he said. "I spoke to Richard Golz and he knows that he could have saved it."
Feyenoord, who were eliminated after the first phase of the UEFA Champions League, must have been tempted to sit back then, but from the start of this game they had adopted a bold approach, despite going into this second leg with a slender one-goal lead, and fortune favoured the brave with five minutes remaining.
Van Hooijdonk, who had hitherto been an anonymous figure, suddenly turned provider when he chipped in a cross from the right to the unmarked Jon Dahl Tomasson. The Danish striker appeared to be bundled to the ground but as play continued two Freiburg defenders left it to one another to clear and the substitute Vitor Santiago, who had only been on the field four minutes, nipped in to score with a shot which looped up over the body of Golz into the net.
Defending such a slender lead, Bert van Marwijk, was, perhaps, obliged to opt for an offensive policy, although his mind may have been made up by the fact that Feyenoord were without several first-choice defenders.
Freiburg, who were competing in only their second European competition, had spoken before the game of the need to neutralize Feyenoord's individual quality, yet in the first half the game's outstanding individual wore the red and black of Freiburg - Aleksandr Iashvil. The striker industriously and cleverly worked both flanks and brilliantly set up Freiburg for their first goal when he checked twice, throwing two defenders off balance, before crossing for German international Sebastian Kehl to hook home a volley.
Four minutes after half-time they scored again when they were awarded a penalty after Elmander was adjudged to have pushed Abder Ramdane in the back. The Dutch defender was booked for his trouble but the real punishment came from the penalty spot as Levan Kobiashvili fired his kick straight down the middle as Edwin Zoetebier dived to his left. "It was a disputable penalty," said van Marwijk. "But we showed our class and came back to draw."
The free-kick which got Feyenoord back into the game was somewhat contentiously won, also, when Ebi Smolarek pushed the ball past Levan Tskitishvili and then collided with Freiburg as he ran past him. But there was no doubting the authenticity of Van Hooijdonk's goal.