Feyenoord had started recent matches lethargically, but looked fresh faced and bushy tailed in the opening stages against AZ. Bert van Marwijk’s eleven began enthusiastically. Chun-Soo Lee showed the way, reaching the bye-line on a couple of occasions and whipping in the same number of shots. Both attempts lacked power, but the general idea was good.
There were few chances in the first half all told however. The home side had little to show for it save a shot from Theo Lucius that blazed over. AZ were similarly unthreatening. Henk Timmer saved an Ari header with style. The keeper was forced to clear up his own mess on 31 minutes, after giving the ball away with a wayward pass. Demy de Zeeuw tested the keeper’s resolve and Timmer did well to block the shot. Mounir El Hamdaoui pounced on the rebound but shot wide.
Neither side deserved the lead, but AZ claimed it anyway five minutes before the break. Referee Blom should have ruled the goal out in any case. Pellè handled the ball before it crossed the line, yet Blom pointed to the centre circle and AZ were in front.
Feyenoord pushed forward in the final few minutes in search of parity. They might have got it too if Blom had not waved away what appeared to be a clear penalty. Michael Mols looked to have had his shirt tugged in the box by David Mendes da Silva as he lined up to shoot, but he was left on the ground as the referee waved play on.
The frustration was shed early in the second half. The home side drove forward from the kick off with Nicky Hofs on for Lee. The hosts’ positive attitude was rewarded within four minutes. Keeper Boy Waterman’s initial clearance was whipped back in with interest and the ball fell to Roy Makaay who set up Van Bronckhorst. Waterman saved the first attempt, but the Feyenoord skipper followed through to ease the ball between keeper and post for the equaliser.
The goal breathed new life into the match. Ari tried his luck on two separate occasions, while Makaay let rip down at the other end. Waterman saved with some difficulty. A cross from De Guzman bounced off the top of the crossbar and out not long after.
It just felt that a goal was in the air. As the half wore on Feyenoord seemed increasingly likely to get it. Makaay went close on 69 minutes when Ryan Donk misjudged the ball, but Waterman saved the striker’s hard shot.
AZ seldom threatened the home goal, but showed they could be lethally efficient with just under 20 minutes left. Within sixty seconds of Timmer blocking an El Hamdaoui strike with his legs, the midfielder beat the keeper with a curling shot and AZ had the lead.
It was a hammer blow for the hosts, but they managed to get themselves off the ropes thanks to a defensive mix-up. Bahia was left with an open goal, poking the ball home for the equaliser.
The home fans drove their side on to look for the winner. The adrenalin was clearly coursing through Feyenoord’s veins but the third goal just wouldn’t come. First Andwelé Slory slid the ball against the outside of the post from a difficult angle, then De Guzman headed just over, leaving the sides level at the final whistle
Feyenoord – AZ 2-2
40’ 0-1 Pellè
49’ 1-1 Van Bronckhorst
71’ 1-2 El Hamdaoui
74’ 2-2 Bahia
Bookings: Lucius, De Zeeuw, Dembe
Referee: Blom Feyenoord
: Timmer; Lucius, Greene, Bahia, De Cler; Landzaat, De Guzman, Van Bronckhorst; Mols (71’ Slory), Makaay, Lee (46’ Hofs) AZ
: Waterman; Koenders (46’ Donk), Donk, Mendes da Silva, Pocognoli; De Zeeuw (80’ Poulsen), El Hamdaoui, Vormer; Dembélé, Ari, Pellè