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Union go down in Rotterdam clash

UEFA Europa Conference League:

Thu, 21. October 2021
Union go down in Rotterdam clash

1. FC Union Berlin suffered defeat in the UEFA Europa Conference League, losing 3-1 at Group E rivals Feyenoord.

Taiwo Awoniyi scored his fifth goal in his last four competitive games to pull one back on 35 minutes following first-half goals from Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Bryan Linssen. Despite a strong second half display at De Kuip from Union, Luis Sinisterra made it 3-1 on 77 minutes to keep the points in Rotterdam. The game was overshadowed by serious issues before and during the match with Union fans kept outside while the match was ongoing.

"There was a catastropic situation outside the ground before the match," said Christian Arbeit, Managing Director for Communications at 1. FC Union Berlin. "Hundreds of Union fans didn't get into the stadium. That is not acceptable. We will meet with Feyenoord and UEFA to assess the situation and address these issues."

Feyenoord: Biljow; Pedersen, Trauner, Geertruida, Malacia; Toornstra, Kökcü (Aursnes 81), Till; Jahanbakhsh (Nelson 81), Sinisterra, Linssen (Dessers 81)

1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe; Trimmel, Jaeckel, Knoche, Baumgartl, Puchacz; Khedira, Prömel, Möhwald (Voglsammer 77); Kruse (Becker 66), Awoniyi (Behrens 66)

1. FC Union Berlin followed up from their 2-0 win at home to Wolfsburg with four changes for the trip to the Netherlands. Urs Fischer was forced to make a change at the back after Marvin Friedrich returned a positive coronavirus test on Tuesday. Timo Baumgartl, who previously played in the Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven, returned to the side following his two-week absence due to the concussion he sustained in action against Arminia Bielefeld. Christopher Trimmel took claim to the captain's armband again as he replaced Julian Ryerson. Meanwhile, Tymoteusz Puchacz continued his run of game time in European football, coming in for Julian Ryerson. Kevin Möhwald started in place of Genki Haraguchi in midfield for Union. Referee Giorgi Kruashvili turned down an early shout for a penalty kick as Taiwo Awoniyi was bundled over by Gernot Trauner in front of goal. A few minutes later, Feyenoord took the lead through Jahanbakhsh who tapped in at the back-post after a touch on from former Freiburg attacker Guus Till. The home side threw everything at Union when they were given the opportuntiy to attack, meaning it was a busier night than normal for our backline. But there were enough flashes of danger in transition from the Bundeslgia side to stay optimistic. Puchacz almost picked out Möhwald on 22 minutes but the pass was slightly over hit. Instead, the home fans were able to celebrate a second goal - a long ball gave Bryan Linssen the opportuntiy to go in on goal and he made no mistake after 29 minutes. The next five-to-ten minutes demonstrated the Union spirit under pressure and Fischer's side got one back after 35 minutes. Trimmel returned a cleared corner kick and Awoniyi beat three home defenders to the ball and headed home. Feyenoord may have felt they could have had a third before the interval but after three attempts inside the box, a combination of Andreas Luthe, Baumgartl and Robin Knoche kept the Dutch side at bay. Before the referee ended the first 45, Grischa Prömel almost created an opportunity for himself to score but the midfielder was nudged off the ball at the crucial time.

A set-piece pushed Union closer to the second goal with Trimmel launching one in from deep on 58 minutes. The delivery was sent goalwards by Prömel but the goalkeeper let the ball drop wide of the right-hand post. Fischer went to the bench on 66 minutes as Union continued to battle for control. Kevin Behrens and Sheraldo Becker, who combined to equalise in Prague, were introduced in place of Awoniyi and Max Kruse. Till blazed over with 19 minutes to go after a neat cut back to the edge of the box. Becker had something to show following his time in the Eredivisie and the Dutchman forced a save out of Justin Biljow. His first touch was well-defended by the home side but his second effort was on target and could have resulted in the equaliser. On 77 minutes, Feyenoord put home a third. Bryan Linssen's shot was parried clear by Andreas Luthe from close range but Sinisterra touched home from about two or three yards out. Union switched immediately after the ball went in the net with Andreas Voglsammer introduced in for Kevin Möhwald. Paul Jaeckel cleared off the line incredibly in stoppage time, while Andreas Luthe made another important save to keep the deficit at two at the final whistle.