El Ahmadi bags hard-fought victory for Feyenoord
Feyenoord remained on course for a historic Eredivisie title on Sunday with a sixth straight win since the winter break at ADO Den Haag. The Rotterdammers protected their five-point lead at the top of the table with a 0-1 win. The only goal of the game was scored by Karim El Ahmadi.
Feyenoord ended a hard-fought first half on level terms, but referee Kuipers showed Steven Berghuis a yellow card as the players trudged towards the tunnel. The forward had complained about an industrial challenge a few minutes earlier, but Kuipers booked him for his protest.
That was typical of the visitors’ first half, which did not go as planned. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side found the hosts in defensive mood, but did not have the nous to break down the wall in front of keeper Robert Zwinkels. Feyenoord could not make use of the full width of the pitch, which left the wingers starved of the ball.
ADO had taken all the points against Feyenoord in the past three meetings between the sides in The Hague and with the sides level at the break a similar scenario was not unthinkable. The hosts had the best chance in the first half, after Tyronne Ebuehi broke. His cross eventually fell to Danny Gorter, whose shot was cleared by Eric Botteghin.
Feyenoord started the second half fully aware that they would have to shown some imagination to break down the hosts. But it was also becoming clear that the first goal could be decisive. Not only because Feyenoord have not conceded for weeks, but also because ADO have yet to score at home against a top-half team this term.
That meant that the visitors breathed a huge sigh of relief on the hour mark when El Ahmadi got the opener. The midfielder set himself up after the hosts failed to clear Miquel Nelom’s cross, before smashing in his fifth goal of the season.
ADO responded by cutting loose in search of an equaliser. It gave Brad Jones the chance to show his keeping skills, as he saved from substitute Mike Havenaar with his big toe.
It proved to be the final chance of the match. Feyenoord celebrated three hard-fought points as the final whistle resonated through the stadium, setting up a showdown with PSV at De Kuip next week.