Feyenoord shared the spoils with sc Heerenveen in the opening home fixture of the season on Saturday night. Ronald Koeman’s side fought back from a goal down to claim a point despite having Joris Mathijsen sent off on his debut. The defender was red-carded for bringing down Filip Djuricic in the box. Feyenoord was left with a mountain to climb when Djuricic converted the resulting penalty. But a Ruben Schaken goal levelled the scores in the last five minutes.
With Stefan de Vrij picking up an ankle injury the day before the game, Joris Mathijsen was handed his Feyenoord debut and he almost capped it with a goal halfway through the first half. The central defender got his head onto the end of a Ruud Vormer cross, but keeper Nordfeldt saved.
The chance spurred on the home side after a rather tentative opening. Fortified by a short drinks break in response to the exceptionally high temperature, Ronald Koeman’s men took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Feyenoord’s finishing was sloppy, though, as it has been in earlier games this season. Guyon Fernandez could not really be blamed for not managing to direct his close-range effort out of the reach of keeper Nordfeldt, but Lex Immers should have given the keeper no chance with his attempt. Fernandez turned provider for that one, putting Immers through on goal only to see his teammate spurn a wonderful chance.
The goal would have been just reward for the home side, who was especially tight at the back. The central defensive pairing of Mathijsen and Bruno Martins Indi looked solid. The only Heerenveen effort in the first half was a speculative drive from distance by Pele van Anholt.
The performance in the latter part of the first half would have given Feyenoord plenty of confidence, but the home side was unable to find the key to open up the Heerenveen defence early in the second period. Daryl Janmaat was the first to threaten, but though his low cross caused panic in the visitor’s defence it was eventually cleared.
The noise level went up a few notches in the stadium as the home fans realised their team needed some verbal support. Koeman also tried to give his side a boost with a double substitution. Sekou Cissé and Guyon Fernandez made way for Kelvin Leerdam and Jerson Cabral.
The game seemed to be headed for a goalless draw, before things got rather tasty in the final ten minutes or so. Heerenveen took the lead from a Filip Djuricic penalty after Mathijsen floored the visiting striker, and it looked for all the world as though the Frisians would leave De Kuip with an undeserved victory. But ten-man Feyenoord showed great resilience to get back on level terms through Ruben Schaken.
It was a hard-earned point for the Rotterdammers but in the cold light of day it will perhaps be seen as two points dropped rather than one gained.
Feyenoord – sc Heerenveen 1-1
79’ 0-1 Djuricic (penalty)
85’ 1-1 Schaken
Yellow: Fernandez (Feyenoord), Tannane, Zomer, De Roon (sc Heerenveen)
Red: Mathijsen (Feyenoord)
Feyenoord: Mulder; Janmaat, Mathijsen, Martins Indi, Nelom; Vormer, Immers (86’ Kongolo), Clasie; Schaken, Fernandez (64’ Leerdam), Cissé (64’ Cabral).
Sc Heerenveen: Nordfeldt; Zuiverloon (90’ Gouweleeuw), Kruiswijk, Zomer, El Akchaoui; De Roon, Kums, Van Anholt; Van la Parra, Djuricic, Tannane (56’ Valpoort).