The Champions League playoffs look a long way off with one round of Eredivisie matches to play. Bert van Marwijk saw his side conceded three goals in a disastrous first half at relegation candidate Willem II. A second half strike by André Bahia gave Feyenoord a glimmer of hope, but ultimately the Rotterdammers went down 3-1 in Tilburg. Yet for all that, with Heerenveen going down at Sparta, Feyenoord still have a small chance of plaing in the top five.

Sod’s law was in full effect in Tilburg during the opening 45 minutes. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Unfortunate, but not totally unexpected perhaps, bearing in mind Bert van Marwijk’s injury sorrow in the days leading up to the game. It forced the coach to start the game with an eleven lacking in experience, with Kevin Hofland talking the skipper’s armband from the suspended Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

That lack of experience had a big impact on the way the visitors approached the game. Sherif Ekramy was a good example of that. The keeper replaced Henk Timmer between the sticks and found himself in a nightmare of Elm Street proportions. Ekramy made two painful mistakes in the early stages of the match and Frank Demouge was on hand both times to make him pay the highest price.

After seven minutes Ekramy tried to pluck the ball out of the air only to miss it completely. Demouge was there to smash the loose ball into the top of the net. Ekramy looked to referee Van Egmond for sympathy, but the goal was given.

Ekramy got his calculations hopelessly wrong again on 19 minutes. This time the Egyptian mistimed his reaction to a cross by Mohamed Messoudi. Demouge reached the ball before the keeper, nodding his side into a more comfortable 2-0 lead.

Feyenoord regrouped but appeared to be all out of luck. Kenneth Vermeer’s goal came under constant threat during the next 15 minutes, but the visitors were unable to break their duck. Vermeer was in fine form, blocking efforts by Nuri Sahin, Leroy Fer (twice), Luigi Bruins and Kevin Hofland. A Jonathan de Guzman free kick was centimetres wide.

The game was littered with mistakes, so it was almost to be expected that the Rotterdammers would not be spared more distress. It came on 36 minutes when Theo Lucius misjudged a long ball, allowing Said Boutahar to race through and smash it past Ekramy off the inside of the post to put the hosts further even ahead.

The crowd made a huge racket in support of their team at the start of the second period in the hope that they could pilot the hosts to the final whistle with all the points safely intact. As a result, Willem II were playing with a lot of confidence. Feyenoord were up for a fight, but it threatened to spill over into violence as the half wore on and the visitors were unable to rein in their frustration.

The hosts on the other hand played a dangerous counterattacking game that might have produced the fourth goal of the afternoon had Messoudi finished better.

Feyenoord edged closer when Bahia got a goal back with a diagonal shot with just over a quarter of an hour to go. It proved too little too late in the end though, as the Rotterdammers failed to build up a head of steam. Hofland did head over but otherwise Feyenoord were in effective.

Willem II – Feyenoord 3-1
7’ 1-0 Demouge
19’ 2-0 Demouge
36’ 3-0 Boutahar
74’ 3-1 Bahia

Bookings: Bruins, Hofs, Hofland
Referee: Van Egmond

Willem II: Vermeer; Janse (66’ Hill), Bælum (66’ Poepon), Swinkels, Van der Struijk; Messoudi, Mathijssen, Akgün, Gregoire (79’ Douglas); Demouge, Boutahar.
Feyenoord: Ekramy; Buijs, Hofland, Bahia, De Cler; Fer, Lucius, Sahin (56’ Hofs); De Guzman, Mols, Bruins.

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