‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord failed to get off to a good start in the Uefa Cup group stages Thursday, going down to a 3-0 defeat in Nancy. Two strikes just after half time and a third late in the game left Gertjan Verbeek with much to think about on the journey home. The game did mark the official Feyenoord debut of South African Kermit Erasmus however. The result leaves the Rotterdammers sharing bottom place in the group after one game with Deportivo la Coruña, who also lost 3-0 at CSKA Moskou.
The first half was a rather untidy affair. That may have had something to do with the importance of the game, the slippery surface or the recent history between the two clubs. Whatever the reason Feyenoord and AS Nancy both showed little promise in the final third in the opening 45 minutes.
There were a handful of openings, the biggest falling to Frederic Biancalani after the half-hour mark. The move got underway when Leroy Fer lost the ball in midfield. The ball went through Moncef Zerka to Biancalani, who fired off a hard shot that Henk Timmer managed to stop in its tracks.
At the other end, Georginio Wijnaldum and Giovanni van Bronckhorst went nearest for Feyenoord. Wijnaldum headed just past the post after only three minutes and had a free shot ten minutes before the break only to slip at the vital moment. Van Bronckhorst was even nearer to breaking the deadlock, not once but twice. The cross came both times from Diego Biseswar, but the Feyenoord captain shot wide and then straight at keeper Gennaro Bracigliano.
The game was turned completely on its head after the break. Nancy’s former FC Utrecht player Marc-Antoine Fortuné added power to the French side’s attack and it paid dividends twice within seven minutes of the restart. The Feyenoord defence were partly to blame on both occasions however.
The half was just two minutes old when the Rotterdammers messed up their offside trap and Moncef Zerka was left in the clear to bear down on Timmer’s goal. The Moroccan international rounded the keeper and tapped the ball into the net to give his side the edge.
The goal cut Nancy free and Feyenoord suddenly found themselves under intense pressure. Fortuné’s height was causing them a particular problem. A shot from the Frenchman went over, but it was not long before the hosts were pushing forward again.
Feyenoord had been warned, but were unable to prevent the home side from doubling their lead two minutes later. Julien Feret scored with an unstoppable drive from close in after he’d brought down a Tsafack ball in the box with leaving Tim de Cler looking on hopelessly.
Gertjan Verbeek tried to mix things up in the final stages by bringing on Luigi Bruins, Roy Makaay and then Kermit Erasmus as the half progressed, but the new strikers were unable to turn things around. A third goal did come but it was at the other end, as Nancy completed a fine win.
Biseswar lost the ball unnecessarily and Helder picked the ball up midway Feyenoord’s half. The defender advanced on the visitors’ penalty area and when André Bahia and Kevin Hofland got in each other’s way he made full use of the space to rifle the ball past Timmer to make it 3-0.
AS Nancy – Feyenoord 3-0
47’ 1-0 Zerka
54’ 2-0 Feret
85’ 3-0 Helder
Referee: Trefoloni (ITA)
Bookings: Hofland, Greene, Feret
AS Nancy: Bracigliano; Helder, Macaluso, Ouaddou, Biancalani; Dia (46’ Fortuné), Ndiaye, Tsafack, Malonga (46’ Gavanon); Zerka and Feret.
Feyenoord: Timmer; Greene, Bahia, Hofland, De Cler (70’ Makaay); Fer, Van Bronckhorst, El Ahmadi (55’ Bruins), Wijnaldum; Mols (84’ Erasmus) and Biseswar.