‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord suffered their third loss in five league games at De Kuip Sunday, as NEC rode their luck to take all three points with a 0-2 win. The Rotterdammers controlled the first half, but were unable to turn pressure into goals. NEC displayed more efficiency after the break with early goals by Tim Janssen and Saido Ntibazonkiza in a game that marked Karim El Ahmadi’s league debut with a place in the starting line-up.
Feyenoord approached the game buoyed by their fine win against Kalmar FF, but were aware that they were in for a tough match against a NEC side that also reached the group stages of the Uefa Cup during the week.
Feyenoord, with Henk Timmer back between the sticks after a game and a half out injured, took the imitative in the early exchanges. The home side were not as getting into the same positions as they did in Borås last Thursday, but Gertjan Verbeek’s side created chances nevertheless. In contrast to Borås however, Feyenoord were having to do without the rub of the green this time.
That much was clear after twenty minutes when Roy Makaay cleverly played in Georginio Wijnaldum. The midfielder beat keeper Gabor Babos with a chip, but the ball landed against the top of the bar.
The opportunity was the last in an early Feyenoord shock and awe campaign against the visitors’ goal that included a Makaay shot that went wide, some delightful skill from Wijnaldum that he was unfortunately unable to finish with a shot and a Makaay cross that ultimately reached no one.
NEC lapped up the pressure, unwilling or unable to threaten the home goal all too often. Timmer was forced into action twice all half: the first a hard shot by Dominique Kivuvu from outside the box, the second an effort from out wide by Saidi.
If Feyenoord lacked good fortune in the first half, lady luck turned her back on the home side completely in the second. The NEC goal shortly after the restart was possibly the best illustration of that.
Diego Biseswar went to ground in the visitors box, but referee Kuipers did not point to the spot. NEC countered quickly and Lorenzo Davids chipped the ball into the path of Tim Janssen in the opposite box. The striker took full advantage of a vital slip by Tim de Cler to rifle his side into the lead.
The hosts’ problems increased five minutes later when Saidi Ntibazonkiza doubled NEC’s lead. The speedy forward took possession in midfield, dribbling his way towards Timmer’s goal. Giovanni van Bronckhorst and André Bahia were already beaten by the time Ntibazonkiza let fly to make it 0-2.
Verbeek brought on Michael Mols and Michal Janota to try to force something in the time remaining, although it did leave more space for the visitors to exploit at the back. Further up the field Feyenoord put NEC under threat a couple of times, but the hosts didn’t seem to be getting the rub of the green. Including Luigi Bruins, whose long-distance drive was scrambled round the post by Babos.
Wijnaldum was not having the luckiest of games either. The youngster went close to scoring on more than one occasion in the first half, and with twenty minutes left in the second he had a wonderful opportunity to reduce the deficit. Unfortunately the chip cleared not only Babos but the bar too, by quite some margin.
Feyenoord continued to push in the final stages, but continued to show a lack of control in their finishing. A prime example was an incident ten minutes from time when Makaay and Mols got in each other’s way in the box. Either one of them could have stroked the ball in to the net. Mols might have scored anyway in the final minute, but Babos slid out to smother his effort.
Feyenoord – NEC Nijmegen
49’ 0-1 Janssen
55’ 0-2 Saidi
Bookings: El Ahmadi, Greene, Zomer, Saidi
Feyenoord: Timmer; Greene, Bahia, Van Bronckhorst, De Cler; Bruins (67’ Janota), Wijnaldum, El Ahmadi (58’ Mols), Fer, Biseswar; Makaay.
NEC: Babos; Kivuvu, Zomer, Wisgerhof, El-Akchaoui; Fernandez, Radomski, Davids, Schöne (84’ Van den Boogaart); Janssen and Saidi (87’ Worm).