Vital points dropped in Waalwijk

Feyenoord dropped two vital points on Sunday, drawing 1-1 at the Mandemakers Stadium against RKC Waalwijk. Ronald Koeman’s side were looking to strengthen their position in the upper echelons of the table and Graziano Pellè’s early penalty strike gave them a good start. But Sander Duits levelled ten minutes into the second half.

After third-placed Vitesse’s 3-3 draw at Roda JC Kerkrade, Feyenoord had their sights on leapfrogging over the Arnhem outfit and putting pressure on Ajax and PSV, who were scheduled to play each other in the late afternoon kick-off to wrap up match day 30.
Considering the danger of the match between the top two overshadowing Feyenoord’s own game, coach Ronald Koeman had warned his side to concentrate on their own performance against a side that needed the points at the other end of the table.
That proved to be good advice in the opening stages, as Feyenoord, with John Goossens in the starting line-up for the first time this season in the league, found the hosts tough to break down.
The visitors looked lethargic and the pitch gave them problems too, as too many passes went astray in the first half. That said, Feyenoord did manage to get their noses in front within the first quarter of an hour.
It came from the spot. Ruben Schaken ghosted past Ard van Peppen in the box, leaving the home left back feeling he had no alternative but to haul his man down. In the absence of regular penalty taker Lex Immers, Pellè stepped up to beat keeper Jeroen Zoet from 12 yards.
The goal was one of few highlights in the opening 45 minutes, with both sides unable to create much in the way of chances. The visitors offered a little more of a threat than their hosts, but save a couple of long-distance efforts from Pellè (which ended up in the side netting) and Daryl Janmaat (which Zoet fisted away) there wasn’t a great deal to get worked up about.
RKC were very quiet themselves, which augured well for Ronald Koeman’s men. Indeed, the visitors looked very comfortable all the way up to the moment that Sander Duits shook them from their slumber ten or so minutes after the break. The midfielder was allowed the steam across field to the edge of the Feyenoord penalty area before shooting past Erwin Mulder to equalise.
It put some wind in the hosts’ sails and Erwin Koeman’s side upped the pressure somewhat, but with Immers on for Goossens Feyenoord soon took control of the game. The visitors suddenly looked a lot more dangerous as chances began to come. First Stefan de Vrij headed an effort just the wrong side of the post, then Pellè shot over on the turn.
RKC retreated more and more in the final ten minutes, giving Feyenoord less space in the final third to create anything lethal. As the clock ticked down, sloppiness crept into the visitors’ play and in the end, the teams had to do with a point each, which did Feyenoord’s title hopes no good at all.
RKC Waalwijk – Feyenoord 1-1
13’ 0-1 Pellè (penalty)
56’ 1-1 Duits
Referee: Gözübüyük
RKC Waalwijk:
Zoet; Martina, Ramos, Drost, Van Peppen; Jozefzoon, Duits, Braber (81’ Stans), Sneijder (52’ Zeldenrust); Lieder, Boukhari (46’ Chevalier).
Feyenoord: Mulder; Janmaat, De Vrij, Mathijsen, Martins Indi (69’ Nelom); Clasie (83’ Vormer), Goossens (60’ Immers), Vilhena; Schaken, Pellè, Boëtius.
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