Feyenoord went down to a disappointing defeat Saturday, when AZ claimed all three points at De Kuip with a 1-0 win. It was scant reward for the home side, who controlled long periods of the game without really creating any nailed-on chances. In the end, AZ cemented their leadership of the Eredivisie with a goal from Ari just before the hour mark. There was more disappointment for Verbeek and Co, when Giovanni van Bronckhorst was stretchered off near the end after a kick in the head.

After an eventful week at De Kuip Feyenoord were happy to do their talking on the pitch and the home side’s passion was clear for all to see straight from the kick off. It all meant that AZ were forced to work very hard to stay on terms in the first half.

Feyenoord dominated in patches and saw far and away the most of the ball, but posed less of a threat when they got near to the Sergio Romero’s goal. That was in part due to the visitors’ tight defence, which only left limited space on the flanks.

Georginio Wijnaldum took advantage just a couple minutes in, advancing down the right to the by-line, before whipping in a ball to Roy Makaay, who was unable to keep his shot down.

A similar move five minutes before the break created the biggest chance of the half. This time it was Karim El Ahmadi who played the ball in. Luigi Bruins raced onto the pass, but finished disappointingly, shooting into the hands of the keeper.

At the other end AZ had to do with a few meagre counters. Ari went closest for the visitors after ten minutes, nipping in between Timothy Derijck and André Bahia to advance towards Henk Timmer’s goal. The Brazilian attempted a lob to beat the keeper, but he got his calculations wrong and the ball sailed over the bar.

Twenty minutes later David Mendes da Silva found himself with a great opportunity to edge his side ahead, but the midfielder headed over from close in, despite the lack of a challenge.

The game followed much the same pattern after the turnaround, although both sides looked a little sharper in the final third. First up was Makaay, who forced a save from Romera after Van Bronckhorst’s initial effort was blocked.

Yet it was AZ that opened the scoring ten minutes into the second half. Mounir El Hamdoui raced past Derijck on the left-side of the box with the ball at his feet, knocking it into the path of Ari in front of goal, who tapped it in.

It was a major setback for a Feyenoord side that had performed fairly well at the back up till then. The goal didn’t force a change to the hosts tactics though. AZ were pushed back into the final third with some attractive passing that almost earned Feyenoord an equaliser within a minute or so.

Theo Lucius played the ball back to Leroy Fer with his head and the midfielder shot sweetly, but the effort rippled the net on the wrong side of the post.

Feyenoord continued to drive forward, but AZ were the most dangerous of the two sides in the dying stages. The league leaders threatened to punish the hosts with some incisive counter-attacking football that typically ended up at the feet of the speedy El Hamdaoui. The Eredivisie top scorer did not have his shooting boots on however.

His drive on the turn after an hour was certainly dangerous, but Timmer kept it from creeping in the top corner. Later, deep into time added on, the home keeper rose to the challenge again. This time El Hamdaoui pulled the trigger on the edge of the penalty area. By then, skipper Van Bronckhorst had been stretchered off after getting a kick in the head.

Feyenoord – AZ 0-1
56’ 0-1 Ari

Referee: Vink

Bookings: De Zeeuw, El Ahmadi

Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Derijck (77’ Slory), Bahia, Van Bronckhorst (88’ Wattamaleo); Wijnaldum, El Ahmadi, Fer, Lucius, Bruins (68’ Pedro); Makaay
AZ: Romero; Swerts, Moisander, Moreno (20’ Luyckx), Pocognoli; Mendes da Silva, Schaars, De Zeeuw (80’ Van der Velden), Martens; Ari and El Hamdaoui.
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