Feyenoord started 2008 with a home defeat at the hands of league leaders and reigning champions PSV Saturday. Otman Bakkal’s first half strike did for the hosts in a tense but attractive match. Things might have been different, though, if Nicky Hofs had not been sent off with a half-hour left to play on an evening that saw Dwight Tiendalli in the match-day squad for the first time this season.

Feyenoord and PSV showed themselves to be worthy joint leaders of the Eredivisie in the opening half. There was no quarter given or asked by either side, yet there was still room for some brains to go with the brawn. It produced an exciting forty-five minutes of football in which neither could really claim to have had the upper hand.

The home crowd purred their appreciation of how Bert van Marwijk’s side performed. The start was not as good as it could have been – Eduardo Alcides might have given PSV a head start within sixty seconds – but Feyenoord recalibrated quickly. Luigi Bruins put down the hosts’ first marker with a hard shot on seven minutes that flew over Gomes’s bar.

Nicky Hofs was the next home player to try his luck. He found himself with just Gomes to beat, but the pass was just a tad over-hit and the Brazilian keeper managed to smother the ball.

The game was toing and froing. On the half hour PSV threatened to get their noses ahead when Balazs Dzsudzsak’s free kick almost shaved the top of the bar. Minutes later the danger was back at the other end. Hofs played in Makaay, who shot on goal on the turn. The attempt lacked power however and Gomes gathered easily.

That was the high water mark for Feyenoord and the home tide began to slowly recede. It resulted in a couple of opportunities at the other end. Afellay drove wide on 36 and within the minute Danko Lazovic should have done better when he headed into Henk Timmer’s hands despite being in plenty of space.

Feyenoord did their best to get to the break still on level terms, but the title-holders edged ahead with five minutes left to play. Bakkal broke down the left. Kevin Hofland endeavoured to block the midfielder’s shot across the box, but got there too late. Timmer could only watch as the ball crawled over the line to give his side the lead.

Nuri Sahin’s part in the goal didn’t cover him in glory, and although it was hard to say whether the young Turk was punished for his lapse he did not reappear when the sides returned after half time. Danny Buijs was his replacement.

Feyenoord made a good impression early in the second half, seemingly shrugging off the disappointment of conceding so late in the first. Bruins gave Gomes something to think about 8 minutes in with a venomous strike. The keeper managed to beat the ball out; his defence scrambled it clear. PSV countered with an Afellay shot that sped across Timmer’s goal and wide.

The second hammer blow for Van Marwijk’s side came just after the hour mark. Nicky Hofs made an innocuous enough initial challenge, but was so animated at the whistle that referee Vink felt it necessary to pull out a card. It was his second yellow after a stupid foul earned him his first before the break, so he was given his marching orders. It left his team-mates with a mountain to climb.

Feyenoord kept the candle burning however, even when André Bahia gifted Danko Lazovic a great chance to double PSV’s lead on 72 minutes. The Serbian striker rounded Timmer, but couldn’t pull his foot round the ball enough to keep it his drive from finding the side netting.

A free-for-all in the penalty area, a shot from Farfan (saved by Timmer) and driven attempts from Afellay (both against the post) all ended harmlessly, but they showed how much of a task the home side was facing.

The extra man advantage meant that PSV were able to contain Feyenoord and save a shot from Chun-Soo Lee in time added on that whisked wide, the Rotterdammers were ultimately unable to trouble the visitors’ defence.

Feyenoord – PSV 0-1
40’ 0-1 Bakkal

Yellow: De Cler, Dzsudzsak
Sending off: Hofs (62’ 2x yellow)
Referee: Vink

Feyenoord: Timmer; Greene (72’ Lee), Bahia (83’ Mols), Hofland, De Cler; Sahin (46’ Sahin), Hofs, Van Bronkchorst; De Guzman, Makaay, Bruins
PSV: Gomes; Kromkamp, Marcellis, Salcido, Alcides (70’ Rajkovic); Bakkal, Afellay, Simons, Dzsudzsak; Farfan, Lazovic (81’ Koevermans)
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