Feyenoord did itself a poor service on Thursday evening. Arne Slot’s team lost 1-0 to Sturm Graz in injury time. Otar Kiteishvili passed the verdict that had hung in the air throughout the second half, after the Rotterdam team had called the shots in the first half. Wintering in the Europa League is only possible with a win over Lazio, next week in De Kuip.
Sebastian Szymánski was threatening for the first time in the third minute. The midfielder was allowed to go far and his shot ended half a meter short of the Austrian goal. After ten minutes, the VAR stirred for the first time, but Toni Horvat’s alleged handball was not enough for a penalty kick.
Feyenoord had the better of the game in Graz. Slot’s team came up with a number of half chances. Orkun Kökcü and Gernot Trauner actually put goalkeeper Jörg Siebehandl to the test, the keeper was attentive twice. A good chance fell for Danilo just before the break, but his header fell straight into the hands of the Austrian goalkeeper.
Szymánski was the first to create danger after the break, but the Pole was not completely in balance and could therefore not play well. However, the initiative tilted after the break. Emmanuel Emegha headed on the outside of the post, and moments later David Affengruber was allowed to head in completely free after a free kick. Fortunately for the Rotterdammers, he missed that one meter. In the final phase, ex-Spartan Emegha was still close to the winning goal, but his shot went wide through a Rotterdam leg.
The devil was in the absolute tail. Feyenoord defended half-baked at a set piece and was billed for this by Kiteishvili, who blasted the ball into the corner behind Justin Bijlow. Thus, Lazio and Sturm Graz now each have eight points, Feyenoord and FC Midtjylland are chasing on five.
A win next week is the only way to advance in the Europa League. The other two possibilities are relegation to the Conference League or a total farewell from Europe.