Koeman called on Feyenoord to do their talking on the pitch against relegation threatened Heracles. But it was the home side that expressed themselves best in the first half as the Almelo outfit put Feyenoord under sustained pressure.
The Rotterdammers found themselves in defensive mode from the kick off. The game was just twenty seconds old when the hosts had their first shot, courtesy of Friend, which was kept out by the leg of Ron Vlaar. Friend was the fly in Feyenoord’s ointment in the opening stages. On eight minutes the striker turned Klavan’s cross towards goal, only for Timmer to pull off a reflex save to deny him. But the feeling was that it was just a matter of time. So it was little surprise when, on twenty minutes, Igor Gluscevic held the ball up for Friend, who finished with perfection to give his side the edge.
The hosts tempered their attacking lust a little after the strike, although Robbert Schilder made eyes at the second just ahead of the break. Timmer it was again who saved the Rotterdammers. Down at the other end Heracles keeper Martin Pieckenhagen was just a spectator, although Feyenoord did come within striking distance of the home goal once before half time. A fine attack ended with the ball at Van Hooijdonk’s feet on 24 minutes, but the nig man blazed over.
Feyenoord had little in the way of ideas in the first half, save getting the ball to Castelen as fast as possible. With the winger not really in menacing mood, Koeman decided to change his team around at the break, sixteen-year-old Wijnaldum replacing Timothy Derijck.
The imaginative youngster was unable to make much of an impact early doors second half however. Heracles pushed forward strongly and it took an impressive save by Timmer to keep the home side from doubling their lead. Schilder beat Buijs before letting rip a scorching drive that Timmer managed to fist clear.
Just as dark clouds started to gather above Feyenoord, a ray of light pierced through. Castelen ran past two home defenders on the right to float in a fine cross that Van Hooijdonk redirected into the near corner with his head to bring his side level with the clock on fifty minutes.
It was exactly what Feyenoord needed and the game changed completely as a consequence. The hosts suddenly found themselves on the back foot as the Rotterdammers went in search of a winner. Castelen was the first to go close with a shot, then Charisteas had an effort saved by Pieckenhagen.
Yet when the goal did come it fell to Heracles. Vlaar was unable to clear a home cross on 66 minutes and the ball fell kindly for Stefaan Tanghe. The Belgian showed composure to lay the ball off to the better placed Gluscevic, who rattled home for 2-1.
Things simply got worse for the visitors from there on in, due in no small measure to bad fortune. Van Hooijonk went close, when he beat the wall with a free kick only to see his attempt foiled by the post. The ball fell to Huysegems, but he couldn’t force it home.
At the other end, Tanghe had a great opportunity to put his side out of sight, only to see Timmer excel again. But the hosts were not to be thwarted and substitute Smit curled in a third from a free kick on 86 minutes. And things went from bad to worse at the death when Friend made it four. Heracles Almelo – Feyenoord 4-1
20’ 1-0 Friend
50’ 1-1 Van Hooijdonk
66’ 2-1 Gluscevic
86’ 3-1 Smit
89’ 4-1 Friend Referee:
Van Hulten Feyenoord:
Timmer; Buijs, Vlaar, Schreuder (72’ Huysegems), Bahia; Derijck (46’ Wijnaldum), De Guzman, Drenthe; Castelen, Charisteas, Van Hooijdonk Heracles Almelo:
Pieckenhagen; Boakye, Wuytens (68’ Smit), Bosnar, Klavan; Bridji (60’ Tanghe), De Vries, Quansah, Schilder; Friend, Gluscevic (76’ Everton)