Feyenoord go down fighting in Amsterdam

Feyenoord started the second half of the season with a 0-3 defeat at Ajax on Sunday. On the balance of play, especially after the break, Ronald Koeman could feel aggrieved with the final scoreline, but Ajax were simply the more efficient team. Lex Immers had a wonderful opportunity to get his side back in the game on the hour, only to sees his penalty saved. Ajax ended the match with ten men, with Ricardo van Rhijn departing early after being shown a red card.

Koeman adopted a clear attack plan for the Amsterdam Arena tussle. Fully aware of the home side’s footballing qualities and the face that, physically, the Rotterdammers have had the upper hand in the recent meetings between the sides, the Feyenoord coach told his men to get in their opponents’ faces early on.

The home side managed to impose themselves in the first half, however, putting Feyenoord under pressure with some aggressive play.

That said, Feyenoord had started brightly, with a big chance falling to Graziano Pellè. Fed by Ruben Schaken, who was making his first appearance since groin surgery, the Italian was unable to trouble keeper Kenneth Vermeer.

At the other end, Ajax were much efficient, taking the lead with their first chance of the match. Viktor Fischer rounded Erwin Mulder to net.

The goal certainly put Feyenoord off their stride, as the home side took control of the game. Yes, Lex Immers had a good chance to bring his team level immediately after the opener when he was left with only the keeper to beat – Vermeer saved that one – but it was to prove to be the last opportunity of the half for the visitors.

Much of that had to do with Pellè’s isolation. The club’s top scorer would no doubt have liked to celebrate his recent contract extension with a good performance, but his teammates were finding it difficult give him any good service. And on the rare occasions that Pellè did get hold of the ball, he was unable to do anything useful with it.

Feyenoord’s problems got worse five minutes before the break. A second strike from Fischer, who took advantage of a mistake by Joris Mathijsen, left Koeman with the task of raising his side’s spirits during the break.

His men came out showing more purpose at the start of the second half, but two moments of misfortune decided the game in their opponents favour.

The first came just after the hour mark when Ajax extended their lead. There seemed to be little danger when the home side were awarded a free kick on the right, but Christian Eriksen’s effort bounced in the penalty area before creeping in at the far corner without anyone managing to get a touch on it.

Yet within a minute Feyenoord had a lifeline thanks to some good work by Jean-Paul Boëtius. The striker had got the better of Van Rhijn a couple of times in the first half, and he repeated the trick midway through the second. Van Rhijn felt he had no alternative but to haul his opponent down in the box. Referee Van Boekel pointed to the spot.

Immer stepped up to take it, but he was unable to take full advantage, as Vermeer parried his effort. The ball fell again to Immers, who this time shot over.

That all but ended the game as a contest. Feyenoord saw more of the ball in the final twenty-five minutes against the ten men, but were unable to create any gilt-edged chances.

Ajax – Feyenoord 3-0
7’ 1-0 Fischer
40’ 2-0 Fischer
63’ 3-0 Eriksen

Referee: Van Boekel

Yellow: Janmaat, Vilhena (Feyenoord), De Jong, Alderweireld (Ajax)

Red: Van Rhijn (64’, 2x yellow)

Immers missed penalty (64’)

Vermeer; Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind; Eriksen, Poulsen, Schöne (68’ Veltman); Fischer (61’ Babel), De Jong, Boerrigter (77’ Enoh).
Feyenoord: Mulder; Janmaat, De Vrij, Mathijsen (68’ Vormer), Martins Indi; Clasie, Immers (77’ Fernandez), Vilhena; Schaken (63’ Achahbar), Pellè, Boëtius.
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