Feyenoord ended Slavia Prague’s six-game winning home run to progress to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL). Cyriel Dessers’ brace handed the Dutch outfit a first progression from the quarter-finals of European competitions in two decades.
A cloud of smoke emerging from the crowd set the scene for a night of tension on the European stage, with the previous week’s blockbuster 3-3 first-leg draw still fresh in the memory. The pressure on both sides told immediately, as Aiham Ousou made a critical error that allowed Feyenoord to take an early lead. The centre-back misjudged a throw-in and tipped the ball beyond his defensive partner, perfectly supplying Dessers to run in-behind and finish with aplomb.
It was a very unwelcome setback for the hosts, but the three previous H2H meetings this season had proven these two sides to be very evenly-matched, so it was fitting that a defensive error from the visitors would hand Slavia an equaliser. An appalling backpass from Orkun Kökçü gave Ibrahim Traoré the opportunity to steal in, before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net.
A match of calamitous defensive errors continued apace after the break, as Feyenoord restored their lead on the hour mark. Aleš Mandous seemed to get the ball caught under his feet, and Dessers’ positive work-rate allowed him to be on hand to finish past the stricken goalkeeper. The recalled forward has now netted eight times in his last seven outings in the UECL.
Jindřich Trpišovský was forced into action, taking off a defender and going for broke in pursuit of a semi-final berth. Inevitably, this left them open on the break, and Feyenoord took full advantage by decisively doubling their aggregate lead. Jorrit Hendrix played a pinpoint through ball for Luis Sinisterra to run onto, before slotting home at the near post.
A sixth goal in eight games for the Colombian ensured his side’s safe passage to the semi-finals, where Marseille await, as Arne Slot aims to guide his side to ultimate glory in the inaugural UECL edition. Meanwhile, a late red card for Taras Kacharaba capped off a miserable night for the hosts, who exited with a whimper after a spirited run in Europe.