ROTTERDAM--Feyenoord Rotterdam remain in the running for three titles this football season. The Eredivisie leaders advanced to the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday evening with a very convincing 7-1 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in Rotterdam. The victory followed a 1-1 draw in the away game.
All Feyenoord players remained fit and uninjured after the match, and there was no need for the team to exhaust themselves by playing into extra time, as Ajax Amsterdam trainer John Heitinga had hoped.
Ajax will host Feyenoord on Sunday as the two teams fight for the lead at the top of the Eredivisie table. In fact, the Rotterdam club’s match against the top Ukrainian team was largely decided at halftime when the score was 3-0.
Trainer Arne Slot has been with Feyenoord for less than two years, yet he has already secured a club record. Feyenoord celebrated their 15th European football victory under his leadership. Ernst Happel and Bert van Marwijk led the Rotterdam club to international victories 14 times.
Feyenoord was much too strong for Shakhtar, which could not camouflage the fact that many good Brazilian and Argentine players left the team after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Gernot Trauner returned to Feyenoord’s starting line-up after a long-term knee injury. Lutsharel Geertruida moved to the rightmost defensive position and Marcos López replaced left back Quilindschy Hartman who was unwell.
Santiago Giménez gave Feyenoord the lead in the ninth minute and Orkun Kökcü had plenty of space to double that lead in the 24th minute. The captain also converted a penalty kick in the 38th minute after a handball from Juchym Konoplja.
Shakhtar only threatened once before the end of the first half when Heorhiy Soedakov struck the crossbar to conclude a strong play.
Compared to last week’s game, Shakhtar could again rely on Bohdan Mykhailitsjenko, Valeriy Bondar and Konoplja, but even with the return of the three defenders, they trailed 4-0 in the 49th minute. Oussama Idrissi found the far corner after a nice play.
With that big lead on the scoreboard, Slot decided to give Sebastian Szymanski and Giménez some rest. Idrissi was also allowed to exit just after he scored to make it 5-0.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Danilo then gave the spectators in De Kuip stadium a chance to dream about a double-digit victory. Captain Kökcü was allowed to leave the pitch after 68 minutes, undoubtedly with a view towards Sunday’s match in Amsterdam. Kevin Kelsy scored for Shakhtar in the final phase of the match.