Youthful Feyenoord just come up short in Eindhoven

A young Feyenoord team were unable to pull off something of a cup upset in Eindhoven on Wednesday night. Ronald Koeman’s side, which included eight academy graduates, just came up short in the quarterfinal, going down 2-1. The defeat ends Feyenoord’s cup hopes for another year. Graziano Pellè scored Feyenoord’s goal in the first half of a match that saw Sven van Beek’s debut for the club, in the right back position.

A meagre crowd was attracted to the Philips Stadium for the last-eight tie, but Feyenoord were at least cheered on by strong away support. That helped the Rotterdammers gradually get a foothold in the match as the first half wore on. It was crowned by a goal on the half hour. And it was scored by Graziano Pellè – his first since signing a permanent deal with the club during the winter break.

PSV had been dominant in the opening thirty minutes. Koeman will have been happy that his side were still in the game as the hosts racked up five big chances in the first twenty minutes of so. Only one of them was converted: Dries Mertens received from Tim Matavz and slotted the ball into the far corner. By then former Feyenoord player Georginio Wijnaldum had already gone close on two occasions. First some quick thinking by Bruno Martins Indi robbed him of the ball as he was getting into shooting position; a quarter of an hour later he headed over from close range.

Jean-Paul Boëtius had a big role in the goal itself. The striker was rewarded for his persistence when he harried Atiba Hutchinson after a deep pass from Stefan de Vrij. The home defender tied himself in knots, leaving Boëtius to cross from the bye-line when Pellè nodded in.

The goal punished PSV for spurning all those opportunities and gave Feyenoord renewed belief. The visitors started to look the most composed of the two sides as the clock ticked down on an exciting first period.

PSV showed more resilience after the break, though, largely subduing Feyenoord much better than they had in the first half. Koeman saw his side regularly drop back very deep and rely on their prowess as a counterattacking force.

But just when those tactics were beginning to look promising, PSV got the breakthrough out of nothing. Feyenoord keeper Erwin Mulder had been largely untroubled in the second half, but disaster struck when Mark van Bommel got onto the rebound as Mulder fisted away a Matavz shot from a corner to edge his side ahead with little over ten minutes remaining.

It was to prove decisive, because Feyenoord were unable to recover. Ronald Koeman’s young side ended the game in the knowledge that they had fought tooth and nail, but just come up short against a very strong home team.

PSV – Feyenoord 2-1
20’ 1-0 Mertens
29’ 1-1 Pellè
78’ 2-1 Van Bommel

Referee: Blom

Yellow: Wijnaldum, Strootman, Willems (PSV) Clasie, De Vrij, Pellè (Feyenoord)

Waterman; Hutchinson, Derijck, Marcelo, Willems (75’ Bouma); Wijnaldum, Van Bommel, Strootman; Lens, Matavz, Mertens (88’ Hiljemark).
Feyenoord: Mulder; Van Beek (83’ Vormer), De Vrij, Mathijsen, Martins Indi; Clasie, Immers, Vilhena; Achahbar (66’ Verhoek), Pellè, Boëtius (87’ Singh).
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