Feyenoord started brighter than in recent weeks, showing a clear desire to get an early lead. The home side’s strong opening meant that NEC scarcely got a look in early on. There was no goal to match all that possession however, although they were chances.
Luigi Bruins went close as early as the first minute, with a shot from around ten metres out. On the quarter-hour mark Bruins started the move that ended with a great opportunity for Jonathan de Guzman. The cross from the right was inch-perfect, but De Guzman was unable to head his effort away from keeper Babos. The chance came a few minutes after a ruck in the visitors’ box that produced a number of unsuccessful shots.
The home side’s failure to convert any of those chances was punished on 17 minutes. It was NEC’s first attacking move. Jeremain Lens was given the chance to storm into the box from the right wing. Jhonny van Beukering stepped over the ensuing pass, allowing Brett Holman to shoot the visitor’s into the lead.
Feyenoord otherwise had to do with a few long-distance attempts in the first half. Bert van Marwijk’s team were passing well, but the final touch was proving elusive. There was no better illustration than when Tim de Cler tried to latch onto a long ball in the penalty area. The defender was able to get his foot to it as he fell, but there was no strength in the effort and Babos gathered comfortably.
When it did come, the equaliser was manufactured out of a restart, which was no surprise. De Guzman went to ground 25 metres out and got up to take the free kick himself. Babos needed all his wits about him to keep the effort from crossing the line, palming it round the post.
The resulting corner was cleared only as far as Denny Landzaat who had his shot blocked. The ball rebounded to Giovanni van Bronckhorst however and he rattled in the leveller.
The sides went in at the break even-stevens, which was a fair reflection of the first half. Feyenoord had most of the ball, and were occasionally a threat, but NEC looked dangerous on the counter, especially with the pace of Lens and Bobson.
The picture was a similar one after the turnaround, when striker Van Beukering was replaced by midfielder Lorenzo Davids for the visitors. With five to contend with in the middle of the park, Feyenoord found it difficult to string any moves together.
That was shown by the number of chances the home side sculptured. Nailed-on opportunities were few and far between. The only time NEC keeper Babos was really called into action was at corners and free kicks.
André Bahia was the most dangerous home player at the restarts. He headed a corner wide after an hour and went even closer a few minutes later. A poor attempt at a shot by De Guzman ended on the Brazilian’s head a meter or so from the goal, but Bahia’s defensive instincts took over and he headed over the bar.
At the other end Lens was causing the home defence most grief. The speedy striker was given something to race onto with a quarter of an hour to go. The angle was difficult when Lens got himself into a position to shoot and Timmer was able to save.
NEC reclaimed the lead five minutes later in any case. Peter Wisgerhof brought down a free kick in the box to give Jonas Olsson the opportunity to head the ball past Timmer.
Feyenoord were now chasing the game and NEC were able to bide their time. The hammer blow came in injury time. The flag stayed down when Lens raced clear in the direction of Timmer’s goal, passing the Feyenoord keeper with a simple shimmy to net his side’s third and wrap up the points. Feyenoord – NEC 1-3
17’ 0-1 Holman
39’ 1-1 Van Bronckhorst
79’ 1-2 Holman
90’ 1-3 Lens Feyenoord:
Timmer; Buijs (71’ Lucius), Greene, Bahia, De Cler; Landzaat, Van Bronckhorst, Sahin (81’ Fer); De Guzman, Makaay, Bruins (76’ Mols) NEC:
Babos; Nalbantoglu, Olsson, Wisgerhof, El Akchaoui; Sibum, Holman, Vadocz; Lens, Van Beukering (46’ Davids), Bobson Referee:
Sibum, Van Bronckhorst, De Cler, Nalbantoglu, Babos