Feyenoord fight through to cup quarters

Feyenoord showed guts and determination to battle through to the quarterfinals of the KNVB Cup after a battle royale in Friesland on Wednesday night. Coach Ronald Koeman’s men looked to have wrapped things up in normal time, leading 2-1 at sc Heerenveen, only to be pegged back in injury time. An extra 30 minutes brought no change in the score, so the winner was decided in a nail-biting penalty series with Feyenoord ultimately coming out on top after 20 spot kicks.

The visitors had taken the lead midway through the first half in Friesland, but they could have been in a more comfortable position at half time, after controlling proceedings in the opening period. The only goal of the half came from a smart attack. Pellè picked up the ball in the middle of the park, playing it out to Ruben Schaken, who pumped in a high cross. Cissé headed down at the far post into the path of the oncoming Pellè, who finished off the move he had started by blasting the ball on the half volley past keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt.

The goal was as much as Feyenoord deserved, after two earlier near misses. Keeper Nordfeldt denied Pellè early on after the Italian left his man marker for dead with a deft turn. A quarter of an hour later Jordy Clasie looked to have netted after connecting with a Lex Immers shot across goal only to see the ball saved on the line.

The goalmouth action at least gave the Feyenoord supporters something to sing about in a bitterly cold Abe Lenstra Stadium. The visiting fans’ brash enthusiasm throughout the game contrasted starkly with the general torpor of the home spectators.

There was little for them to get excited about on the pitch, as Marco van Basten’s side displayed a similar degree of lethargy, with little more than a couple of early shots from the hosts – Alfred Finnbogason and Marten de Roon both tested Erwin Mulder – to get worked up about in the first 45 minutes.

That all changed ten minutes into the second half, as a momentary lapse in concentration from the Feyenoord defence let the hosts in for the equaliser. Pellè tried to head away an incoming corner, but the ball fell to Jeffrey Gouweleeuw in space at the far post. The defender’s shot when in at the far post.

Feyenoord coped well with the setback and gradually regained the initiative. The reward came on 66 minutes. Immers added to his cup goals against N.E.C. and Xerxex/DZB, getting in front of his man to head in a Vormer corner.

With Feyenoord largely in control it looked like that second strike would be enough, but Heerenveen predictably upped the pressure in search of a second equaliser. There was a let-off for the visitors with not long to go when Filip Djuricic hit the bar from a corner.

But it was no more than a short reprieve for Feyenoord. Three minutes later the Serbian was quickest to react after a free kick hit the bar, tapping in to take the game into extra time.

It was to be a fairly uneventful extra 30 minutes, which meant penalties would decide who left with the spoils. Feyenoord had already survived one spot-kick series earlier in the cup run against N.E.C. and they repeated the trick in Heerenveen. The sides were level on three each after the first five, Another five each followed in the sudden-death phase, with Daryl Janmaat, a player who was on the home side’s books until last season, converting the decisive penalty.

Sc Heerenveen – Feyenoord 2-2
23’ 0-1 Pellè
55’ 1-1 Gouweleeuw
66’ 1-2 Immers
90+1’ 2-2 Djuricic

Referee: Nijhuis

Yellow: Mathijsen, De Vrij (Feyenoord), Kums (sc Heerenveen)

Sc Heerenveen:
Nordfeldt; Kum, Zomer (64’ Otigba), Gouweleeuw (85’ De Ridder), Kruiswijk; De Roon, Kums, Marecek; Van la Parra, Finnbogason, Djuricic.
Feyenoord: Mulder; Janmaat, De Vrij, Mathijsen, Martins Indi; Clasie (86’ Vilhena), Immers, Vormer; Schaken (80’ Boëtius), Pellè, Cissé (100’ Verhoek).
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