Precious two points dropped in Zwolle
Feyenoord’s lead at the top of the Eredivisie was cut to a single point in Zwolle on Sunday afternoon. The hosts raced into a two-goal lead early on, and though a Steven Berghuis double clawed Feyenoord level, the visitors could not find a vital winner on the artificial turf.
It would be hard to say that Feyenoord did not go in to the match fully aware of the threat posed by PEC Zwolle, after losing all four previous matches away to the Blue Fingers. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side had also lost the last time they had played on an artificial surface – the 1-0 defeat at Sparta Rotterdam.
But despite all the warnings Feyenoord could not prevent their hosts from taking an early lead for the second time in eight days. PEC struck twice on the break in the opening fifteen minutes to pile the pressure on their guests. The first came after just three minutes, when Queensy Menig took advantage as Brad Jones came out too quickly; ten minutes later Bram van Polen lost marker Eljero Elia to bury the second into the far corner.
It was the worst possible start for Feyenoord, who had seen Ajax hit five and secure three points in the title race the day before. Without Nicolai Jørgensen – the Dane was ruled out in the warm-up and was replaced in the starting line-up by Dirk Kuyt – Van Bronckhorst’s side desperately needed a goal before half time.
They got it, too, with Berghuis both creator and convertor. Midway through the half he showed a good turn of pace on the artificial turf, beating his man and shooting into the far corner.
Berghuis continued to be Feyenoord’s most dangerous man, as the visitors gradually imposed themselves on the match. The visitors found it hard to slice up open the PEC defence, but there was a clear sense of an impending equaliser well before it came ten minutes into the second half. It was that man Berghuis who did the spadework and took the glory. He cut inside from the right before unleashing a drive that left the keeper with no chance.
That left Feyenoord with half an hour to complete the great escape and depart Zwolle with all three points. In the end, though, it was the hosts who came nearest to snatching the win: substitute Stef Nijland were given the space to test Jones with a shot, but the Feyenoord keeper saved.
That meant the sides had to share the spoils, with Ajax the only winners in Zwolle. With four matches of the Eredivisie season left to play, Feyenoord remain ahead of their Amsterdam rivals, but know that anything less than four wins might not be enough.