Feyenoord failed to secure the fifth place that would have given them a place in the Champions League playoffs, going down to rivals SC Heerenveen 1-5 in the final match of the regular season Sunday. The result means that Feyenoord finish in seventh place. Danny Buijs scored the Rotterdammers only goal, while Brazilian goal machine Afonso Alves grabbed four for the home side. Lasse Nilsson scored the other home goal in a game that Henk Timmer was forced to retire from just before the break with a head wound.

There was certainly no shortage of determination from the Rotterdammers in the first forty-five. Feyenoord played well in patches in the first half, creating a couple of good chances, but no goals. That was the disappointing part of Feyenoord's performance.

Angelos Charisteas and Pierre van Hooijdonk both went close to edging their side ahead however, while Romeo Castelen was a con! stant threat. Charisteas shot just wide on 33 and also drove over in injury time. Van Hooijdonk did mange to get his effort on target, although Brian Vandenbussche was not troubled. There was more of a threat with the big man's second effort, but a defender managed to get in the way of the ball as it travelled towards goal. That came just after Van Hooijdonk had a shot from a free kick, which sailed over.

Feyenoord were playing well and Heerenveen were making a game of it too. Indeed, the Frisians created quite a number of opportunities of their own through Paul Bosvelt, Danijel Pranjic and Afonso Alves. And it was the Brazilian that opened the coring on 32, via a well-executed free kick.

It was a blow for Feyenoord, not least because it was a nothing free kick. Neither was it Henk Timmer's finest hour. The visitors' keeper misjudged the Brazilians incoming effort, despite having thirty meters worth of time to get in the right position. That said, the keeper may ! still have been feeling the effects of a hard challenge by Petter Hansson five minutes earlier that left Timmer groggy, and bloody in the face. Not long after the goal, the battle-worn keeper signalled that he was unable to continue. Sherif Ekramy replaced him.

Koeman's team were not about to give up and the Rotterdammers threatened immediately from the kick off. Van Hooijdonk lobbed Vandenbussche, but Michel Breuer prevented the ball from crossing the line at the last moment.

The deserved equaliser was not long in coming anyway. Charisteas broke on the left and played the ball into the feet of Royston Drenthe, who drove in a hard shot that rattled off the bar. The ball came back to Buijs however, who kept his composure to slot home to make it 1-1.

Feyenoord were suddenly in control and might have taken the lead through Castelen. The Dutchman's first effort was kept out by Vandenbussche though, while the second went over the bar.

Yet just when it appear! ed that Feyenoord would go on to win the game, that man Afonso Alves struck for the home side. The Brazilian easily beat Vlaar before letting rip with power and accuracy, finding the far corner to edge his team ahead.

The Rotterdammers continued to look for a way back into the game, but it was clear that they had had the stuffing knocked out of them. Afonso Alves was close to finishing off the Maassiders, only for Ekramy to save comfortably, but the hotshot was not to be denied, grabbing his third of the afternoon on 74. This time it was from a penalty, after a foul by Bahia. So with fifteen left to play, Feyenoord had a mountain to climb.

Nilsson made sure there was no getting back when he netted his side's fourth goal on 78, and Afonso Alves made it five from a free kick before the end. The scoreline was harsh on the Rotterdammers, but that was no consolation for Feyenoord, as witnessed by Van Hooijdonk's tears as the game wound down.

Heerenveen - Feyenoord 5-1
32' 1-0 Afonso Alves
55' 1-1 Buijs
64' 2-1 Afonso Alves
74' 3-1 Afonso Alves
78' 4-1 Nilsson
84' 5-1 Afonso Alves

Yellow: Buijs, Bahia, Vlaar
Referee: Luinge

Feyenoord: Timmer (37' Ekramy); Vlaar, Schreuder (70' Kolkka), Bahia; Buijs, Lucius, De Guzman, Drenthe; Castelen, Charisteas, Van Hooijdonk
Heerenveen: Vandenbussche; Zuiverloon, Dingsdag, Hansson, Breuer; Yildirim (67' Poulsen), Bosvelt (67' Bradley), Hanssen, Pranjic; Afonso Alves, Nilsson (79' Johansen)

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