The minute’s silence ahead of the game to remember Thursday’s tragedy at Apeldoorn was brazenly disrupted by sections of the crowd. It proved to be a portent of what was to come on the pitch.
Referee Roelof Luinge was forced to call on all of his experience to keep the game on track as the two sides went at it hammer and tongs. He did so without showing a plethora of yellow cards either, which was impressive, although he did dole out the first of the afternoon to Kelvin Leerdam after ten minutes or so, when Tom Caluwé went down in the box.
There was no contact between the two, but the ball was placed on the spot anyway. Caluwé stepped up himself to take the penalty, but Henk Timmer pulled off a great save.
Caluwé made up for his miss within three minutes. Leroy George’s subtle tap off left the Belgian in space on the edge of the penalty area. Caluwé shot immediately, his shot in the top corner beating Timmer through sheer power.
It was a big blow for Feyenoord after a relatively good start. Giovanni van Bronckhorst had crossed to Roy Makaay within the first couple of minutes but the striker’s shot hit a defender.
The Rotterdammers refused to panic, though they showed plenty of passion in the quest for an equaliser. They were rewarded just over ten minutes later and it was an intelligent piece of play by Van Bronckhorst that created the opening. The skipper got the ball back after taking a throw to cross to Tomasson, who just had to get his foot against the ball to send it in the net.
The sides were fairly evenly matched in the final part of the half, although the home side had two big chances to go in at the break in front. Morton Skoubo shot wide and Cedric van der Gun spurned a shooting opportunity to cross after some good build-up play.
Feyenoord similarly lacked luck in the opening fifteen minutes of the second half. Leroy Fer hit the bar after a Van Bronckhorst free kick; Tim de Cler did the same around the hour mark. The defender was played into a shooting position after good play by Diego Biseswar and Makaay, but De Cler’s drive hit a defender and then the bar.
FC Utrecht took strength from their fortune to put Feyenoord on the back foot again. The visitors were finding it tough to deal with the pressure when Utrecht’s midfielders stepped up a line and Timmer was called into action on a number of occasions.
The Feyenoord keeper was unable to stop Sander Keller however. The defender tapped in at the near post after three visiting defenders had failed to clear George’s corner.
The goal stimulated Feyenoord to raise their game in the quest for another equaliser. Vlemmings watched on as his side showed resilience to get back on terms within ten minutes. Georginio Wijnaldum was left unmarked when Biseswar whipped in a cross. The youngster punished the home defence by shading the ball into the far corner with his head.
The goal did not put an end to the tension, though there was more spectacle on show than style. Both sides pushed forward in search of the goal that would put them in the playoff driving seat.
Skoubo went closest on behalf of Utrecht, forcing a save out of Timmer with a shot on the turn. At the other end, Feyenoord’s most dangerous man was Wijnaldum. The midfielder earned a free kick, which he took himself. Wesley de Ruiter saved. Van Bronckhorst had the last chance in the dying minutes, but the skipper pulled his effort wide. FC Utrecht – Feyenoord 2-2
14’ 1-0 Caluwé
26’ 1-1 Tomasson
65’ 2-1 Keller
74’ 2-2 Wijnaldum
Caluwé missed penalty (12’) Referee:
Bookings: Nesu, Leerdam, Fer, De Cler, Biseswar FC Utrecht:
De Ruiter; Cornelisse, Dickoh, Keller, Nesu; Silberbauer, Maguire, Caluwé; Van der Gun, Skoubo (90’ Uiterloo) and George (75’ Danso). Feyenoord:
Timmer; Leerdam (19’ Tiendalli), Landzaat (72’ Mols), Bahia, De Cler; Fer, Tomasson (50’ Bruins), Van Bronckhorst; Wijnaldum, Makaay and Biseswar.