Feyenoord’s rotten run at the Euroborg continued Sunday as FC Groningen swept to a 3-1 win. The Rotterdammers’ chances of avoiding a fourth successive defeat in Groningen were hit early on when Kevin Hofland was sent off. Later, keeper Henk Timmer hobbled off and Rob van Dijk came on to make his first appearance in Feyenoord colours since returning to the club.

The first 20 minutes at the Euroborg were not Feyenoord’s most fortunate of the season. Within 10 minutes Kevin Hofland had been shown a red card and within 20 or so Groningen had the lead.

Feyenoord found it tough-going in the opening stages, but these were two decisive blows against Gertjan Verbeek’s side. There was little wrong with the decision to send off Kevin Hofland for bringing down Marcus Berg, but that fact that the Swede was allowed to race into the box with no other defender in striking distance was anything but right.

The situation got worse for the ten men when Georginio Wijnaldum brought down Fredrik Stenman on the edge of the box. Free kick specialist Sepp De Roover stroked his effort along the deck – under the wall – and into the near corner to put Groningen ahead.

It made Feyenoord’s task all the harder, but the Rotterdammers made a fist of it up to half time. Wijnaldum had tested keeper Luciano on the quarter-hour mark with a long-range shot from a rebound, but the biggest chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Roy Makaay.

The striker was played in with a deep ball on the half-hour but lacked the sharpness to get his shot on target. Ten minutes or so later Makaay was again found in the box. This time he was less selfish, playing the ball off to the incoming Jon Dahl Tomasson, who drove wide off the leg of a defender.

Groningen went mighty close to doubling their lead on the stroke of half time. Goran Lovre was allowed to let one rip towards Timmer’s goal, but with the home support ready to celebrate the keeper pulled off an awesome reflex stop to deny the Croatian-born Serb.

It was a stark portent for Verbeek and his side of what they could expect in the second half. Groningen came out with the intention of putting pressure on Timmer’s goal, but the Feyenoord defence managed to restrict their hosts to a couple of long-range drives. Lovre did threaten to add to the home side’s tally from close in, but Timmer caught the effort.

It was to be Timmer’s last touch, The keeper was unable to run off the effects of an earlier collision and was replace by Rob van Dijk.

Tomasson went close to equalising at the other end, when Biseswar intercepted a sloppy cross-field pass. The speedy winger found Makaay in the box. He served it up to Tomasson and though the Dane managed to get a good shot in, Luciano got in the way.

Feyenoord were forced to play further up the field, which left a lot of space in their rear. Berg was best at exploiting this weakness, going close to a goal on two separate occasions. It ultimately came ten minutes from time, when the Swede pounced to net the second ball from a corner.

Feyenoord got one back with three minutes of regular time left. André Bahia headed in his second of the season from a Giovanni van Bronckhorst free kick. It gave the visitors a sliver of hope and they pushed forward in the dying embers of the game.

The hosts were happy to soak up the pressure and catch their guests on the break. Berg it was who wrapped it up in injury time. The cross came from the substitute Shkodran Metaj on the left; Berg slid the ball in off the aluminium at the far post.

FC Groningen - Feyenoord 1-3
21' 1-0 De Roover
80' 2-0 Berg
87' 2-1 Bahia
90' 3-1 Berg

Referee: Blom
Bookings: Lovre, Van de Laak, Bahia, Berg, Timmer
Sending-off: Hofland

Feyenoord: Timmer (63' Van Dijk); Greene, Bahia, Hofland, De Cler; Wijnaldum, Fer (89' Mols), Van Bronckhorst, Biseswar; Makaay and Tomasson (70' Bruins).
FC Groningen: Luciano; De Roover, Granqvist, Sankoh, Stenman; Van de Laak, Lovre, Ajilore, Levchenko (84' Van de Laak); Andersson (72' Powel) and Berg.

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