‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord fought back twice at De Kuip Sunday to claim a point against Ajax in an entertaining 2-2 draw. Both home goals came courtesy of Jon Dahl Tomasson, the second a late penalty, in reply to strikes by Jeffrey Sarpong and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar for Ajax.
The home side started strongly and were by far the better team in the opening half-hour. There were few clear-cut chances for the home side, save a deflected shot from Leroy Fer, but Ajax had to work hard to keep the Rotterdammers at bay.
The visitors settled on a hard-boiled counter attacking style that did however produce a couple of good opportunities. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar thought he had scored with a long-distance drive, only for Henk Timmer to foil him on the line, then Luis Suarez was presented with a glorious chance after a finely weighted through ball left him in space, but his shot went and wide.
After the opening half-hour Feyenoord started to cede the midfield to Ajax. The visitors had lost the summer’s big buy Miralem Sulejmani after just ten minutes to injury, but it didn’t prevent the Amsterdam outfit gradually getting into their stride. It ended in the first goal of the match five minutes before the break.
Huntelaar had already showed the hosts what he could do with a drive that Timmer just about managed to scramble away, by the time Jeffrey Sarpong broke the deadlock. Tim de Cler lost the ball in his own box to Suarez, who played it into the danger zone for Sarpong. He made no mistake: 0-1.
Feyenoord started the second half in much the same way as they’d started the first. Ajax found themselves under pressure from the kick-off, but this time the home side managed to covert it into the hard currency of a goal fairly soon. Roy Makaay went close within a few minutes, shooting just over at the second attempt after a wonderful long pass from Georginio Wijnaldum.
The goal did come two minutes later however. Diego Biseswar beat his man well on the left, poking in an effort at the near post that Maarten Stekelenburg parried with surprising difficulty. The ball spun up to head height and Jon Dahl Tomasson was first to react, nodding it in the net for the equaliser.
The leveller gave the hosts renewed energy to look to force their way ahead, but their finishing let them down. Luigi Bruins skinned Urby Emanuelson beautifully on the right, but his cross eluded everyone.
Ajax’s forays into Feyenoord’s final third were as infrequent as they had been before the break, but when they did come they put the willies up the home support. Not least when De Cler slipped just as Van der Wiel stormed into the box. Luckily Timmer blocked the defender’s shot.
Five minutes later De Cler was in the thick of it again, when Suarez got the ball on the same side of the penalty box. The Uruguayan passed the defender, but although Kevin Hofland managed to stop him getting in a cross the ball fell to the feet of Huntelaar, who rifled it into the net to put Ajax 1-2 ahead.
The goal drove Feyenoord to play a little more openly. Michael Mols was brought on as an extra striker and the home team swapped their passing game for a more direct approach.
It produced the desired result five minutes before time. Mols tried to get on the end of a long ball, but Emanuelson pulled him down in the box. Referee Braamhaar pointed to the spot. Jon Dahl Tomasson sent Stekelenburg the wrong way with his penalty – his third in two games – to tie the game at 2-2.
Feyenoord went closest to securing all three points in the final stages, but Stekelenburg was solid in the visitors’ goal.
Feyenoord –Ajax 2-2
39’ 0-1 Sarpong
50’ 1-1 Tomasson
69’ 1-2 Huntelaar
85’ 2-2 Tomasson (pen)
Bookings: Timmer, De Cler, Biseswar, Hofland, Bruins, Van der Wiel, Suarez, Sarpong, Emanuelson
Feyenoord: Timmer; Lucius, Bahia, Hofland, De Cler; Bruins, Fer, Wijnaldum (74’ Mols), Biseswar; Tomasson (90’ Schet) and Makaay.
Ajax: Stekelenburg; Van der Wiel, Oleguer, Vermaelen, Emanuelson; Sno (62’ Lindgren), Sulejmani (10’ Leonardo), Vertonghen; Sarpong (75’ Enoh), Huntelaar and Suarez.