When asked why Feyenoord has such a wretched record in Venlo going back to 1991 none of the players were able to suggest a good reason. All Ronald Koeman could come up with was that Venlo, De Koel stadium or VVV somehow did not suit his side.
With so much attention given to past results it was clear that Feyenoord were not in for an easy afternoon, but even the strong warnings from history could not help the Rotterdammers in the early stages. It seemed the mysterious forces that has affected Feyenoord for twenty years in the deep south-east of the country were at work again as the hosts struck twice in the opening twenty-odd minutes.
Feyenoord were finding it hard to keep hold of the ball and giving VVV far too much room in the final third. It resulted in a quick 2-0 lead for the Eredivisie’s bottom side and it was certainly not undeserved. Ozan Türk grabbed the opening goal just before the twenty-minute mark, punching in a free kick along the deck from the edge of the box that keeper Kostas Lamprou was unable to reach. Two minutes later defender Guus Joppen gave the Greek no chance again, with an unstoppable drive into the near corner.
Watching on in disbelief, coach Ronald Koeman decided he needed to act, taking off Guyon Fernandez for John Goossens with less than half an hour played. The midfielder immediately took up a position on the left.
Koeman’s switch had the desired effect as Feyenoord started to come into the game in the final fifteen minutes of the first half, although Lamprou also played his part in keeping VVV within sight. The Feyenoord keeper stared down home striker Uche Nwofor in a one-on-one and came out on top. The Nigerian’s failure to grab the vital third goal of the game was punished within four minutes. The clock was already ticking down injury time when Lex Immers earned a penalty. The midfielder converted the spot kick himself to give Feyenoord renewed hope at the break.
Feyenoord came out with renewed energy at the start of the second half. VVV were still getting into their stride when the equaliser came. Literally out of the blue. A high cross from Goosens caused all sorts of commotion in the home defence, leaving Verhoek to net with relative ease.
The goal spurred Feyenoord on and Koeman saw his side played their best football of the match over the nest quarter of an hour. It culminated in a third goal for the visitors on 63 minutes. Some fine build-up play was capped by a perfect Verhoek cross that Pellè nodded past home keeper Niki Mäenpää to secure all three points.
VVV-Venlo – Feyenoord 2-3
19’ 1-0 Türk
21’ 2-0 Joppen
45’ 2-1 Immers (penalty)
47’ 2-2 Verhoek
63’ 2-3 Pellè
Yellow: Pellè, Goossens (Feyenoord), Van Haaren, Vorstermans, Meeuwis (VVV-Venlo)
VVV-Venlo: Mäenpää; Joppen, Seip, Vorstermans, Leiwakabessy; Van Haaren, Meeuwis, Türk (74’ Cullen); Otsu, Nwofor (80’ Bergkamp), Wildschut (62’ Linssen).
Feyenoord: Lamprou; Janmaat, Mathijsen, Martins Indi, Nelom; Leerdam, Immers, Clasie; Verhoek (79’ Elabdellaoui), Pellè, Fernandez (28’ Goossens).