Feyenoord 0 Blackburn Rovers 0: Blackburn reach knock-out stages

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The Independent Football

Blackburn secured their place in the knock-out stages of the Uefa Cup after picking up a hard-earned point in Rotterdam last night. They endured some difficult moments, but good organisation and a strong work ethic brought rewards against Dutch opponents who had won five successive league games.

Blackburn started brightly and Benni McCarthy put Feyenoord on the back foot in seventh minute when he split the defence with a through ball, but his strike partner, Shabani Nonda, was slow to react. A minute later, Nonda saw his effort parried into the side-netting by the Feyenoord goalkeeper Henk Timmer.

Feyenoord, however, almost took the lead with their first real attack. The goalkeeper Brad Friedel did well to block a shot from Angelos Charisteas. Feyenoord were growing in confidence and Charisteas headed into Friedel's arms in the 31st minute following a cross from Joonas Kolkka. Three minutes later Stein Huysegems went to ground quickly after Charisteas had played him, but the referee, Knut Kircher, rightly refused calls for a penalty.

Andre Ooijer was not afraid to go forward but he failed to test Timmer in the 53rd minute, his effort going high over the bar. David Bentley suffered a similar fate moments later after a cross from Nonda on the left. Bentley was then floored by Serginho Greene in the 60th minute, but the referee waved play on.

Feyenoord thought they had won a penalty in the 66th minute when Ooijer appeared to handle, but the referee chose to play on. Robbie Savage almost made the breakthrough in the 82nd minute but dragged his shot wide.

Mark Hughes, the Blackburn manager, said: "The important thing was to make sure we qualified. We're in a decent position with one home game to go. A victory then should be enough to top the group. We are going to have real go."

Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Bahia, Greene, Drenthe, Buys, Hofs (De Guzman, 77), Lucius, Kolkka (Boussaboun, 65) , Charisteas, Huysegems. Substitutes not used: Mulder, Derijck, Van Hooijdonk, Pardo, Leonard.

Blackburn Rovers: Friedel; Emerton, Ooijer, Khizanishvili, Gray, Pedersen, Savage, Tugay (Mokoena, 81), Bentley, McCarthy (Peter, 90), Nonda (Jeffers, 69). Substitutes not used: Brown (gk), Todd, Gallagher, McEveley.

Referee: K Kircher (Germany).