Feyenoord vs Zorya Luhansk will be the second encounter between the two sides. In 2014-15 Feyenoord narrowly edged Zorya out in the Europa League playoffs (read more about it here).
Indeed the last encounter between the two sides was a tight affair. After a 1-1 draw in Ukraine, Zorya quickly went down 3-0 in Rotterdam. But Luhansk rallied, and levelled the score to make it 3-3 just before the end of the match, which would have meant that Zorya would have advanced to the group stage of the Europa League. Instead, however, Elvis Manu scored in the stoppage time for Feyenoord to make it 4-3, which meant the end of Zorya’s European dreams that season.
It was not the last heartbreak for Zorya in the playoffs for the Europa League, however, as they were also eliminated in the qualification playoffs of the competition last season—this time by Legia Warsaw. There would be no heartbreak for Zorya this year, however, as their fourth place finish guaranteed them a spot in the group stage—third placed Dnipro FC were banned by UEFA from participating in UEFA competitions this season (read Zorya’s Europa League preview here).
The Europa League draw has placed Zorya in an attractive, yet difficult group, with Manchester United, Fenerbahçe, and Feyenoord. Zorya managed a 1-1 draw in their first match in the competition against Fenerbahçe, and then were narrowly defeated by Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Zorya’s match against Manchester United in particular has shown that the Ukrainians are no pushovers, as Zorya held José Mourinho’s team off the scoreboard until the 69th minute when superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović would score the winning goal.
Feyenoord meanwhile managed to defeat Manchester United 1-0 on matchday one, but then succumbed to Fenerbahçe in Istanbul in a 1-0 defeat. Now they face a side that wants revenge for the heartbreak suffered in the fall of 2014.
Zorya have indeed progressed since their dramatic defeat to Feyenoord in 2014 by since becoming the country’s number three club behind the duopoly of Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk. Indeed Zorya are currently level on points with Dynamo Kyiv on third spot, just six points behind Shakhtar Donetsk.
Zorya will therefore undertake the 2,000 kilometre journey from Ukraine to the Netherlands with some confidence, and they should be more than capable to at least extract a draw from the Dutch Eredivisie team.
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