‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord secured a seventh league win of the season Saturday, although city neighbours Excelsior were ultimately beaten by the narrowest of margins at De Kuip. Giovanni van Bronckhorst scored the only goal of the game in the last ten minutes. That said Feyenoord deserved to take all three points in a game that saw Chun-Soo Lee come off the bench on the hour to make his debut. And the South Korean certainly impressed.
The match was slow in getting going. Makaay had had a lone shot early in the game, but there were 38 minutes on the clock before things really started hotting up.
Suddenly there was action at both ends. The excitement started with a Geert den Ouden header, which went over the bar. That was followed but a shot from Makaay, which rattled off a post. In the 43rd minute Den Ouden appeared to be set to give the visitors the lead when he found himself with just Timmer to beat. Hofland managed to foil the Excelsior striker with a sliding tackle, but only a reflex save from Timmer kept the ball from slipping into the net.
Feyenoord certainly had to count themselves lucky not to go into the break a goal behind, as Ton Lokhoff’s side went extremely close again not long after. An Excelsior corner fell to René van Dieren but Hofs was able to clear his shot off the line at the post.
The second half was more of a tactical battle, as Excelsior decided that the best policy was to try protect their lead and let Feyenoord do any attacking. That resulted in long stretches of possession, which the hosts almost turned into the opening goal on 58 minutes when Nuri Sahin found Bruins through the air. Graafland saved the youngsters effort however.
The introduction of debutant Lee brought more life into proceedings, as the fans gave the South Korean a warm welcome. And Lee’s Brazilian team-mate kept the pot boiling when he stormed into the penalty area to connect with a corner, only to see his drive whiz just wide of the top corner.
With a quarter of an hour left on the clock Makaay had another attempt, only to see Graafland smother his effort. A minute later the visitors’ keeper was finally beaten however. Makaay served Van Bronckhorst on the left side of the penalty area and the Feyenoord captain surprised everyone by spurning the chance to lay the ball off to De Guzman, who appeared to be in a better position, to shoot across goal and in off the far post.
Makaay went close to wrapping up the points from Lee’s knock down but the striker’s drive went wide.
Feyenoord – Excelsior 1-0
81’ 1-0 Van Bronckhorst
Yellow: Bahia, Bandjar, Altheer
Feyenoord: Timmer; Lucius, Hofland, Bahia, De Cler; Sahin (90’ Greene), Hofs (60’ Lee), Van Bronckhorst; De Guzman, Makaay, Bruins (79’ D. Buijs)
Excelsior: Graafland; Bandjar, Van Dieren, Van Nieuwstadt, Piqué; Alisic (81’ Van Guldener), Altheer, Luijckx, Pardo; Den Ouden (71’ Voskamp), Steur (60’ Korf)