The sun was shining over De Kuip as the game got underway, but things were less bright on the pitch as both sides struggled to gain any sort of foothold in the first half
Feyenoord did create chances, mind. In the opening phase Piet Velthuizen blocked a powerful Makaay header with difficulty. Midway through the half the Vitesse keeper was beaten, only for Ricky van Wolfswinkel to clear Leroy Fer’s effort off the line.
Feyenoord were already a goal behind when that happened. And the opener was scored by one of the their own – formally speaking in any case. Vitesse midfielder Hofs – on loan from De Kuip – curled a long-distance free kick into the top corner to score on his return to Rotterdam. Hofs declined to celebrate the strike with any great enthusiasm.
The Rotterdammers replied with a couple of Diego Biseswar shots, but Velthuizen was not put under any real pressure. Vitesse seemed to be cruising until Biseswar whipped in a shot from the left-hand side of the box. Wijnaldum reacted alertly to slide the ball into the net at the far stick for the equaliser.
After the break Feyenoord went straight for the jugular, with Biseswar (shot) and André Bahia (header) both close to giving the hosts the lead, but in fact it was Vitesse that got their noses in front again. In the Arnhem outfit’s first attack of the second half Lasse Nilsson chested the ball down to Dalibor Stevanovic, whose piledriver left Henk Timmer with no chance.
The goal came just on the hour mark and realising that the clock was ticking down Feyenoord went in search of a second equaliser straight after the restart. Indeed, they looked to have earned a penalty immediately, when Biseswar appeared to have been upended by Frank van der Struijk in the box, but referee Liesveld waved the home claims away.
Feyenoord found it hard to get any kind of handle on the game, which elicited a response from the stands. The crowd decided that if anyone was going to force an equaliser it was Michael Mols, and the striker’s name was chanted enthusiastically. Vlemmings was willing to take their well-meaning advice not long after, bringing on the experienced goal-getter for the last 20 minutes or so.
By that time, though, Vlemmings was looking for a match winner rather than a match saver. The substitution came immediately after Makaay had beaten Velthuizen with a disguised drive on the turn to level thing up. The original move was started with a Wijnaldum free kick.
The hoped-for Mols effect was generated to a degree, as Feyenoord put the visitors under pressure in the final part of the match. The biggest chance fell to Mols himself, who nodded a Makaay cross goalwards only to be denied miraculously on the line. At the other end, Vitesse had little in the way of a threat, save a drive from distance by Hofs, who was substituted just before the final whistle to loud applause from fans of both clubs.
In time added on Feyenoord pushed again for the winner, creating two good chances in a final attack but neither Makaay nor Fer were able to convert them.
Feyenoord – Vitesse 2-2
18’ 0-1 Hofs
42’ 1-1 Wijnaldum
61’ 1-2 Stevanovic
72’ 2-2 Makaay
Bookings: Sansoni, Stevanovic, Velthuizen, Fer
Feyenoord: Timmer; Leerdam (73’ Mols), Bahia, Hofland, Van Bronckhorst; El Ahmadi, Tomasson, Fer; Wijnaldum, Makaay and Biseswar.
Vitesse: Velthuizen; Verhaegh, Sprockel, J. Drost, Van der Struijk; Claudemir, Sansoni, Hofs (87’ Junker), Stevanovic; Van Wolfswinkel (63’ Molhoek) and Nilsson (71’ Kolk).