Feyenoord booked their place in the Europa Conference League final in Tirana with a 3-2 win over Marseille on aggregate, despite the second leg ending in a 0-0 draw at the Stade Velodrome.
Marseille were comfortably the better of the two teams for the majority of the first half, as Jorge Sampaoli’s side dominated possession, and limited the space Feyenoord had to play with their intense pressing off the ball.
However, OM were then dealt a blow after half an hour, as Dimitri Payet was forced off with a calf injury. His replacement, Arkadiusz Milik, then had the best chance of the half with his first touch shortly after being introduced, but the Pole’s header was straight at Feyenoord goalkeeper Ofir Marciano.
Despite Feyenoord ending the half on the front foot, Marseille once again stepped up their intensity in the second period, and should have gone ahead in the 54th minute, but Valentin Rongier’s effort from inside the box was comfortable for Marciano.
Feyenoord then created their best opening ten minutes later, as Gernot Trauner’s first-time effort narrowly went wide of the post.
Tempers flared in the dying minutes of the game, as Marseille tried to attack, and Feyenoord opted to waste time.
In the end, Arne Slot’s side hung on to secure themselves a place in a European final for the first time in over twenty years, and they will face Jose Mourinho’s Roma for a chance to win the first edition of this competition.
TALKING POINT - Feyenoord reach first European final in over 20 years
Coming into the game leading on aggregate, it was up to Feyenoord to see the tie out to book their ticket to Tirana, and see it out Arne Slot's side did.
It was far from plain sailing though for the Dutch outfit, as they struggled to get a foothold in the game during the first half, and spent the last 20 minutes of the second half defending for their lives.
De club aan de Maas held on, and now memories of their famous UEFA Cup success in 2002 at their home ground against Borussia Dortmund will be replaying in the minds of the Feyenoord fans as they seek another European success.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH - Gernot Trauner
Marseille's Turkish forward Cengiz Under (L) fights for the ball with Feyenoord's Austrian defender Gernot Trauner (R) during the UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final second leg football match between Olympique de Marseille and Feyenoord
Image credit: Getty Images
This one was very hard to call, as all of Feyenoord's back-line deserve this accolade for the sheer determination they showed, especially towards the end of the second half, but the Austrian just edges it.
The 30-year-old centre-back was everywhere for his team, putting his body on the line, as well as making late runs into the area.
He also had one of Feyenoord's best chances of the game in the second half, but his long-range effort was just wide of the far post.
Olympique de Marseille: Mandanda 6, Kamara 7, Peres 7, Rongier 6, Saliba 6, Gerson 6, Guendouzi 6, Gueye 6, Harit 6, Dieng 5, Payet 6. Subs: Milik 6, Under 6, Lirola 6, Bakambu 6.
30’ - PAYET CANNOT CONTINUE! - Dimitri Payet goes down without any contact and it looks like he has an issue with his calf. This does not look good and he gingerly is being led off the pitch with a noticeable limp. What a shame for Marseille’s talisman.
34’ - CHANCE FOR MARSEILLE! - Milik almost scores with his first touch! Gerson clips in a floated ball into the box towards the far post from the left flank, and the Pole rises highest to get his head on it, but the effort is straight at Marciano, who holds comfortably.
54’ - WHAT A CHANCE! - Another chance for Marseille, who have started this second half the better. Harit plays a nice give-and-go with Rongier, with the latter receiving the ball in the box. He then makes a run across the area to try and create an angle for himself to shoot, but his effort from 10 yards out is straight at Marciano!
66’ - CHANCE! - A big chance for Feyenoord! Nelson gets the ball in the box, before teeing up Trauner for the first-time shot, but the centre-back's effort flashes just wide of the post! He was leaning back there slightly, and that was his undoing.
87’ - GREAT BLOCK! - That prevented a certain Feyenoord goal to close out the tie! Jahanbahksh, who has just entered the fray, plays in a brilliant through ball for Dessers in behind, and the striker is in on goal. However, a perfect sliding challenge from Peres is just enough to take the ball off the forward in the nick of time!
Feyenoord have reached their first European final since April 2002, when they knocked out Inter Milan in the semi-final of the 2001-02 UEFA Cup.
Feyenoord extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to nine games (W6, D3).
Feyenoord and Marseille challenged for 132 duels, the second-highest tally in a single UEFA Europa Conference League match this season, while no side have conceded more fouls than Feyenoord did (25).