Despite a pre-match fireworks display the game itself was lacking in any excitement early doors. Neither side held back on effort, but the first half was a largely uninspiring affair all told.
There were plenty of mistakes in the opening 45, as both outfits found it hard to create any clear-cut chances. The hosts did put their guests under pressure in the opening half hour. Good work by Richard Knopper, Alexander Rankovic and former Feyenoorder Danny Buijs meant that Rob van Dijk was regularly called into action.
He stopped a hopeful drive from Knopper after just five minutes, but a further five minutes after that there was panic in the Feyenoord defence at a corner. Tim de Cler eventually saved the day by hooking the ball over his own bar.
At the other end, wingers Diego Biseswar and Georginio Wijnaldum were the danger men before the break, but their efforts were not rewarded by a goal. On the quarter hour Jon Dahl Tomasson had a shot well saved. The Dane went close again on the half hour, just failing to connect with a Biseswar cross.
By then Feyenoord’s biggest chance had come and gone. Kelvin Leerdam powered in a header from a corner, but Boy Waterman somehow managed to keep the ball out.
Ultimately, Feyenoord were grateful to go in at the break still on level terms. Knopper netted near the end, only to see his goal wrongly ruled out by the referee’s assistant for offside.
With that in mind, no doubt, ADO Den Haag took it up a notch after the break. The visitors were forced to go on the defensive and only some stronger performances at the back – not least by André Bahia – stopped the hosts from scoring early.
The Brazilian denied Powel on the hour, when the home player almost managed to get a shot off, but Timothy Derijck was left unmarked at the resulting corner and the former Feyenoord defender nodded his new side into the lead.
The hosts were unable to hang on to their lead for long, though. Feyenoord pressed almost immediately. Biseswar started the move on the left, playing a one-two with Roy Makaay before feeding Tomasson, who stroked the equaliser home.
With the bit between their teeth Feyenoord looked to kick on and really take charge of the game. Suddenly the visitors were utilising space and big chances followed for Makaay and Tim de Cler. The former shot across the goal and wide, while the latter shot straight at Waterman despite Makaay being in a free position.
Biseswar did better in a similar position a quarter of an hour before time. The speedy forward, who had caused the Joel Tillema problems the whole game, got to the bye-line to cross. The ball beat Waterman for height and left Tomasson with a tap in to put Feyenoord ahead.
It was a big blow for the hosts. Raymond Atteveld’s side looked beaten, but managed to turn things their way again five minutes later. The referee blew for a Denny Landzaat foul on the edge of the area, but seemed initially to want to give a penalty. After consulting with his assistant, though, he awarded a free kick. It appeared that Feyenoord had been let off the hook, but Knopper stepped up to smash the ball in via the post to level.
Feyenoord got back in front almost immediately, however. De Cler attacked on the left wing, lofting a dangerous ball into the box that Roy Makaay rose majestically to meet and redirect into the far corner.
It was a fitting end to the striker’s five hundredth league game. The hosts tried to snatch a point at the death with another free kick, but Van Dijk was there to deny them and Feyenoord claimed all three points.
ADO Den Haag – Feyenoord 2-3
62’ 1-0 Derijck
64’ 1-1 Tomasson
76’ 1-2 Tomasson
81’ 2-2 Knopper
82’ 3-2 Makaay
Bookings: Hoogendorp, Tillema, Tiendalli, Landzaat
ADO Den Haag: Waterman; Tillema, Derijck, Kum, Piqué; Buijs (70’ Horvath), Knopper, Rankovic (78’ Milic), Immers; Hoogendorp (71’ Verhoek) and Powel.
Feyenoord: Van Dijk; Tiendalli, Landzaat (82’ Greene), Bahia, De Cler; Leerdam, Tomasson, Fer; Wijnaldum, Makaay and Biseswar (90’ Slory).