Feyenoord eliminated from cup
Cup holders Feyenoord were knocked out of the KNVB Cup at the quarterfinal stage In Arnhem on Thursday night. Hosts Vitesse netted twice in the second half at the Gelredome to advance.
One of the characteristics of Feyenoord’s game in the season up till now – even after the winter break – is that they always create at least a handful of chances in every match. Unfortunately that was not the case against Vitesse, as home keeper Eloy Room enjoyed a relatively relaxed evening, with his goal rarely threatened.
The signs that the visitors had a tough night ahead of them were there to see in the early stages, with Giovanni van Bronckhorst moved to get to his feet and shout out instructions from the sidelines on a number of occasions. The first fifteen minutes would have been particularly perplexing for the coach as Feyenoord struggled to find their rhythm. That was probably due to the two changes Van Bronckhorst had had to make in midfield. Renato Tapia was in for the suspended Tonny Vilhena, while Simon Gustafson started for only the second time this season.
Feyenoord did manage to retain their structure and close down their opponents, though. As a result, Vitesse’s attacking threat was largely neutralised in the first half. When the visitors had the ball, most menace came from Nicolai Jørgensen and Simon Gustafson, who got into dangerous areas, but their execution was not up to scratch. Feyenoord’s biggest chance fell to Steven Berghuis, who saw his free kick effort to the top corner saved by Eloy Room.
With chances at a premium before the break, it was clear that whoever scored the first goal would be in the driving seat. It fell to the hosts, when Feyenoord were punished for a lack of concentration at a home corner. Guram Kashia escaped everyone’s attention, allowing him to head in unobstructed at the back stick.
The holders were shaken by the setback. Renato Tapia did go close to equalising with a toe poke, but Vitesse were growing more confident by the minute. The hammer blow came around the hour mark. A quick break by the hosts had Feyenoord scrambling to defend. Ultimately the ball fell to Adnane Tighadouini from a rebound and the winger caught it beautifully to double his side’s lead.
Dirk Kuyt came on for Gustafson with Bilal Basaçikoglu replacing Eljero Elia, who had picked up a yellow card, and Feyenoord tried to turn the tie around in the last half an hour. The visitors’ efforts lacked any real conviction, however, and Vitesse were able to see out the match.
Feyenoord’s disappointment was there for all to see at the final whistle, as hopes of retaining the KNVB Cup faded. But with the Rotterdammers still heading the Eredivisie, there is still a very big prize to play for, starting Sundays against N.E.C.