Feyenoord secured a place in the Europa League playoffs Sunday, despite going down to a 2-3 defeat to Roda JC at De Kuip. Losses to rivals NAC Breda, FC Utrecht and Vitesse meant that Feyenoord finished seventh and will take on NAC in Breda next Saturday. Roy Makaay bagged a brace in a game that saw both Dwight Tiendalli and Kevin Hofland sent off, while the visitors’ coach Harm van Veldhoven was also sent to the stand in the final stages. He was left smiling at the end, though, as his side’s victory saved them from immediate relegation.

Feyenoord went into the game full of confidence after a fine run had propelled them up to seventh in the table. Opponents Roda, on the other hand, slipped to the bottom of the pile last week and appeared to be easy prey for the hosts.

Yet despite the sunshine, a cloud hung over the hosts in the opening period. The Rotterdammers found it tough to penetrate the visiting defence and the only effort on goal in the early stages was a header from Leroy Fer, which went over.

Bottom club Roda JC needed a win to scramble out of the relegation spot and they clearly started with more passion than their opponents. The visitors were happy to let their hosts have the ball and play a counter-attacking game that would make the most of their speedy strikers Anouar Hadouir and Sekou Cissé. That policy produced a huge chance after a quarter of an hour or so. The visitors took a quick free kick that caught the Feyenoord defence on the back foot, allowing Cissé to get a shot off, but the effort went wide.

But Roda got their goal within the minute. Cissé was adjudged to be onside, racing into acres of space before rounding Timmer and slipping the ball into the net.

The strike was a sorely needed wakeup call for Feyenoord, who responded with more fervour. A handful of half-chances resulted: a shot over from Georginio Wijnaldum, a dangerous cross from Diego Biseswar and a drive from Giovanni van Bronckhorst that whisked wide.

Yet Feyenoord’s pain increased six minutes later. It started with a mistake by Dwight Tiendalli, who waited too long for Timmer to come and collect the ball. The delay gave Hadouir the chance to make up ground and Tiendalli was forced to bring him down. It earned the defender a red card and the visitors a penalty. Marcel Meeuwis stroked home the spot kick.

Suddenly Feyenoord were relying on results elsewhere to secure a place in the playoffs. The situation forced Leon Vlemmings’s hand and the caretaker coach brought the experienced Michael Mols for Bruins on 35 with the aim of giving his side more power up front. Indeed, by then, Feyenoord had almost conceded a third. Hadouir drove wide from close in.

Feyenoord came out after the break looking to put things right, in the knowledge that the halftimes at other grounds were keeping them in the playoffs.

Biseswar had an effort cleared off the line by defender Vincent Lachambre within three minutes of the restart. It was a warning of things to come, as Feyenoord put pressure on the visitors’ rearguard. Roda did threaten themselves when Pa Modou Kah headed a Lachambre free kick wide ten minutes into the second half, but the hosts had a goal back on 56.

Mols was involved, heading on a long ball into the path of Makaay. Feyenoord’s top scorer shot on the turn with his left foot, finding the near corner to put his side within a goal of the visitors.

It looked for all the world as though the next goal would be an equaliser, but as they pushed forward Feyenoord left space in back. Roda exploited this with fast counterattacks. It almost earned them a third goal with 20 minutes left on the clock, but Willem Janssen’s effort only found the side netting. But it was to be a temporary reprieve. Laurent Delorge played in Hadouir who netted to finish off another Roda counter.

Roda were not safe, though, because Kah handled in the box conceding a penalty just five minutes after scoring. Makaay stepped up to convert the spot kick, bringing his total for the season to 16.

Feyenoord again looked to level the game, but the chances of that declined dramatically when substitute Kevin Hofland was red-carded for an alleged elbow.

Yet even with nine men Feyenoord went close to relegating their opponents. Makaay went past keeper Bram Castro in the dying seconds, but was just unable to prevent the ball from rolling over the bye-line.

Feyenoord – Roda JC 2-3
14’ 0-1 Cissé
20’ 0-2 Meeuwis (pen)
56’ 1-2 Makaay
70’ 1-3 Hadouir
75’ 2-3 Makaay (pen)

Referee: Blom

Bookings: Wijnaldum, Bahia, Van Bronckhorst, Lachambre, Kah, Meeuwis, Cissé.

Sendings off: Tiendalli, Hofland

Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Landzaat (58’ El Ahmadi), Bahia, De Cler (73’ Hofland); Fer, Bruins (35’ Mols), Van Bronckhorst; Wijnaldum, Makaay and Biseswar.
Roda JC: Castro; De Wree, De Fauw, Kah, Lachambre; Janssen, Vormer, Meeuwis, Delorge (77’ Linssen); Hadouir and Cissé.
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