London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Thu 21 Oct 2004 Feyenoord 3 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
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Craig Levein <-auth None auth-> Tonny Kolbech Poulsen
[D Kuyt 22] ;[B Goor 58] ;[D Kuyt 83]
18 of 025 ----- E A

Feyenoord make most of early fortune


Feyenoord 3 - Kuyt (21, 83), Goor (58)
Hearts 0
Referee: T Poulsen (Den). Attendance: 26,000

HEARTS’ UEFA Cup adventure may have been derailed in Rotterdam but coach Craig Levein can take comfort from the fact he has three more games to get it back on track. His side were beaten here by a Feyenoord team who in Salomon Kalou, Dirk Kuyt and Romeo Castelen possessed three players who are surely destined to achieve great things in the game.

Their speed and guile were worthy of a side coached by the legendary Ruud Gullit but any praise lavished upon Feyenoord must be tempered by the performance of the referee, who twice punished Hearts with decisive wrong decisions.

Kuyt’s first goal - he notched a double, with Bart Goor also scoring - should have been disallowed, and an effort from Kevin McKenna which would have levelled the score at 1-1 should have been permitted to stand. To blame the official for Hearts’ defeat would be churlish, however, and Feyenoord were worthy winners on a night when their famous De Kuip ground pulsated with noise and colour. Even in defeat, the 2,500 travelling fans cheered their weakened team off the park.

With the toughest match of the group phase out of the way, Hearts will now look to gather points in the remaining fixtures against Schalke, Basel and Ferencvaros.

The competition’s new format made for fresh challenges but two Hearts players were unable to rise to the occasion due to injury and illness. Mark de Vries’ poisoned toe failed to respond to an intense course of antibiotics and the big forward returned to Edinburgh yesterday afternoon. Levein drafted in McKenna to fill the lone striking role. While De Vries’ absence had been expected, the loss of Phil Stamp was something of a surprise. The midfielder was struck down by a sickness bug in Rotterdam and his place wide on the right was taken by Joe Hamill.

After watching Feyenoord at the weekend, Levein had described their style of play as "slow-slow-quick". The fast part was supplied by Kalou, whose direct running posed questions of the Hearts defence from the very first minute. The striker from the Ivory Coast has been the find of the season in the Netherlands and only a robust challenge from Andy Webster stopped him from having a clear sight of goal.

The teenager did have the ball in the net five minutes later but his header from close range was adjudged offside. Television replays seemed to suggest it wasn’t the African who had strayed, but a team-mate. It was to be the first of many wrong calls by Tonny Poulsen, the Danish referee.

Feyenoord almost took the lead in the 20th minute through Pascal Bosschaart, whose run down the right exposed Hearts. After beating Robbie Neilson, Bosschaart took the ball round goalkeeper Craig Gordon and slid the ball goalwards, only to see Webster clear the ball off the line.

Sadly for Hearts, their defence was breached a minute later, although there was more than a suggestion of offside about the Feyenoord opener. Patrick Paauwe, the Dutch side’s captain, swung in a deep cross from the right and as Kuyt headed the ball past Gordon, Karim Saidi was clearly offside. The Egyptian defender’s proximity to Gordon and Neilson meant he was clearly interfering with play but Poulsen awarded the goal.

The feeling that this might not be Hearts’ night was compounded when the Edinburgh club found themselves on the wrong end of another offside decision nine minutes before half-time. Jamie McAllister’s ferreting at the edge of the Feyenoord box saw him win possession and feed Hamill. The midfielder slipped a neat pass to McKenna on the right but the flag was up before the Canadian put the ball past Gabor Babos in the Feyenoord goal. McKenna was indignant and had every right to be. The defender-cum-striker was onside, but the decision appeared to go against Paul Hartley, who was offside but not interfering with play.

The one-off nature of the game persuaded Levein to make a tactical substitution before half-time, with Graham Weir coming on as an extra striker in place of Neil MacFarlane. The midfielder’s departure saw Hearts switch from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2 in a bid to impose themselves on the game more.

But Hearts’ hopes of finding a way back into the game were extinguished by a goal of real quality after 57 minutes. Kalou was the architect, playing a delightful flicked pass straight through the heart of the visitors’ defence to Goor. The Belgian international produced the perfect finish by dinking the ball over the advancing Gordon to double Feyenoord’s advantage.

Hearts’ cause was not helped when McKenna wasted the sort of opportunity that is all too rare in difficult away matches in Europe. When Neilson’s cross from the right found the auxiliary attacker in acres of space in the Feyenoord box, McKenna opted to head back across the goal when he should have gone for glory.

Time was running out for Hearts, and Levein went for broke by throwing on a third attacker - Dennis Wyness - in place of McAllister.

It was Feyenoord, though, who continued to look more dangerous and only a brilliant one-handed save from Gordon prevented Kuyt’s volley from close range finding the net. And Kuyt put the seal on a fine personal performance with his second and Feyenoord’s third seven minutes from time. The Dutch international shot past Gordon from close range after a cross from Goor.

Feyenoord: Babos, Saidi, Bosschaart, Kuijt, Ono, Goor, Paauwe, Kalou (Buffel 67), Basto (Mtiglia 64), Castelen (Lazovic 80), Zuiverloon. Subs not used: Lodewijks, Ghali, Loovens, Gyan.

Hearts: Gordon, Maybury, Kisnorbo (Stewart 82), Pressley, McKenna, Webster, Hartley, MacFarlane (Weir 40), Neilson, McAllister (Wyness 70), Hamill. Subs not used: Moilanen, Janczyk, Sloan, Berra.

Taken from the Scotsman

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