Asked whether he could be congratulated after Saturday’s 2-1 win against AZ, Giovanni van Bronckhorst said that he would ...
Feyenoord missed a chance to take over the leader’s position at least overnight on Saturday. Without suspended top scorer Graziano Pellè, Ronald Koeman’s side never looked in control at sc Heerenveen. Even so, Feyenoord long appeared to be headed for a valuable point, only to be undone by two late strikes, ultimately going down 2-0. The game brought more bad news for coach Koeman, as Lex Immers was stretchered off before half time.
In Heerenveen Feyenoord found themselves up against not only a tough home side, but also an awkward pitch, which caused the visitors problems early on. Keeper Erwin Mulder was especially having trouble controlling back passes, as the ball bounced unpredictably on the bumpy playing surface.
Feyenoord took quite a while to realise that the best solution was not to put their keeper under undue pressure, which was rather symptomatic of the visitors’ approach in the opening exchanges. Ronald Koeman’s side were slapdash in possession and seemed to be unsure how to take the game to the hosts.
Partly as a result, Koeman quickly switched from two strikers to three, as Lex Immers moved up a line to join front two Ruben Schaken and Jean-Paul Boëtius. Unfortunately, Feyenoord didn’t get much of a chance to explore all the possibilities of the new system, because Immers was forced off with an injury on the half hour, after a hard challenge by a Heerenveen defender.
The forced substitution spurred Feyenoord on in the final fifteen minutes of the half, resulting in three big chances for the visitors. Keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt smothered shots from Jordy Clasie and Boëtius, but the best opportunity fell to Ruben Schaken just before half time. He ran on to a Bruno Martins Indi free kick, getting a toe to the ball just ahead of the approaching keeper, but it went just wide.
Sc Heerenveen did not create much in the way of chances themselves in the opening half. Marco van Basten’s side saw a lot of the ball, but their only effort was a Filip Djuricic shot that Mulder saved.
The threat suddenly got a lot more serious after the break, though, as the hosts sculpted two chances in the early stages of the second half. First Djuricic hit the post with Mulder beaten, then Alfred Finnbogason rattled in a shot that flew across goal.
At the other end, Feyenoord continued to find it difficult to break down the home defence. A tame shot from Wesley Verhoek – who didn’t strike the ball cleanly from close in – was one of the only times the visitors threatened the home goal.
It seemed that Feyenoord would be happy to take a point, but with five minutes left to play even that consolation was taken away from them. Jeffrey Gouweleeuw worked tenaciously to get the ball to Alfred Finnbogason, who had a free shot on goal. Sc Heerenveen’s top marksman took full advantage, shooting crisply past Mulder.
Yassine El Ghanassy wrapped up the win three minutes later with the hosts’ second goal. A quick throw-in left the midfielder with a free run in on goal. El Ghanassy stared down Mulder and stroked the ball into the net.
Sc Heerenveen – Feyenoord 2-0
85’ 1-0 Finnbogason
88’ 2-0 El Ghanassy
Yellow: Clasie (Feyenoord), De Roon (sc Heerenveen)
Sc Heerenveen: Nordfeldt; Gouweleeuw, Kruiswijk, Van den Berg, Kums; Van Anholt, Raitala, De Roon; El Ghanassy, Finnbogason, Djuricic.
Feyenoord: Mulder; Janmaat, De Vrij, Mathijsen, Martins Indi (86’ Goossens); Vormer, Vilhena Clasie; Schaken, Immers (30’ Verhoek), Boëtius (70’ Cissé).