Feyenoord earned a point in a goalless yet attractive game against FC Groningen at De Kuip Sunday. The Rotterdammers were much stronger in the first 45, but found themselves with their backs against the wall when Norichio Nieveld was red-carded just ahead of the break. But a fine second half performance kept the visitors at bay, although Feyenoord were unable to find the breakthrough themselves.

After a fine first-half performance Feyenoord found themselves with a mountain to climb when Norichio Nieveld who shown a red card on the stroke of half time. Playing right back after the return of André Bahia, Nieveld was sent off by referee Kuipers after a rash challenge, leaving Feyenoord to play the entire second half with ten men.

It was a big blow for the home side, who had had the best chances to take the lead up till then. Roy Makaay went close not once but twice. The half was at the midway point when Bahia, who was having a good game, intercepted in midfield, playing the ball through to Makaay. The striker had only keeper Luciano to beat, but was unable to convert. Soon after, Jon Dahl Tomasson picked up a goal kick from the same Luciano, setting up Makaay immediately, but this time the shot went over.

The chances were a logical consequence of Feyenoord’s domination. The hosts let their attacking intentions be known from the kick off. Just three minutes were on the clock when the first chance came. Tomasson pounced after a Luciano save, but his effort was too soft.

At the other end, Groningen showed little in the way of initiative, relying instead on the counter. Coach Ron Jans will have been pleased to see his side do so effectively. The visitors made optimal use of the movement of strikers Marcus Berg and Gonzalo Garcia on a number of occasions, but the front two were shooting blanks. On ten minutes, for instance, Berg shot wide; five minutes before the break a Garcia volley whizzed past the top corner.

Coach Leon Vlemmings took the decision to replace Andwélé Slory with a fourth defender, Dwight Tiendalli, at the start of the second half in response to Nieveld’s dismissal.

Despite having a man less Feyenoord were not playing second fiddle to the visitors though. Although Groningen did create a big chance in the first minute after the break – Garcia putting an effort over the bar – the Rotterdammers were the more offensive outfit. That positive outlook almost earned them the lead on the hour mark. Makaay’s shot from the edge of the box was headed for the top corner before Luciano rose to save.

It was one of the few big opportunities of the second half. Feyenoord looked to be in control, but were unable to push too hard for the breakthrough.

It wasn’t until ten minutes before the end that Luciano was called into action again. Biseswar shot from close range after an attractive build-up involving Karim El Ahmadi and Tomasson. By then, Tiendalli had denied Groningen at the other end, heading a corner kick off the line.

Feyenoord – FC Groningen

Referee: Kuipers
Bookings: Slory, Hofland
Sending-off: Nieveld

Feyenoord: Timmer; Nieveld, Bahia, Hofland, Leerdam; El Ahmadi (86’ Wijnaldum), Tomasson, Fer; Slory (46’ Tiendalli), Makaay (77’ Mols) and Biseswar.
FC Groningen: Luciano; Hiariej, Sankoh, Granqvist, Stenman; Van de Laak, Holla, Lovre (85’ Ajilore), Levchenko; Garcia and Berg.

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