The game got underway in a low-key atmosphere due less to the foul weather than the foul mood in the stands, where the shadow of the incidents in Nancy loomed large.
On the pitch however there was certainly a surfeit of motivation among Koeman’s first-choice eleven, personified by Belgian forward Huysegems who had the opening chance of the game, volleying Joonas Kolkka’s cross towards goal only to see his effort go over. It was a fine response from the home side, following an earlier Heerenveen opportunity when Lasse Nilsson’s shot from Gianni Zuiverloon’s pass whisked wide.
The first goal did go to the out-of-towners though and it was cut from similar cloth, although this time it was Jakob Poulsen who supplied and Afonso Alves who finished, to claim his fifteenth league strike of the season since making the switch from Malmö FF.
Feyenoord were finding it hard to create any offensive danger, although Jonathan de Guzman and Nicky Hofs both tried to turn things round from free kicks. The Canadian was foiled by keeper Brian Vandenbussche, while Hofs screwed his effort wide.
The Rotterdammers did manage to make the breakthrough just ahead of the break though. De Guzman dispossessed André Hanssen and gave the ball to Huysegems, who launched a pile driver from the edge of the box that sailed in to give Feyenoord a huge boost at an important psychological moment.
The second half opened in spectacular fashion with chances at both ends. Afonso Alves continued to be the scourge of the home defence as he went looking for another goal to add to his burgeoning collection. The Brazilian raced past Karim Saidi two minutes in before playing the ball off to Pranjic, who should have done better than put his attempt over. The Friesians moved forward again moments later and this time Alves was the terminus. His shot was parried by Timmer.
By that time however Feyenoord already had the lead and it was Huysegems again who gave them it. The Belgian showed that his confidence was soaring by whipping in another long-distance shot that whizzed in the top corner.
Feyenoord were not bossing the game but still managed to extend their lead on 64 minutes. De Guzman was floored in the box by Jacob Poulsen, leaving Belgian referee Gumienny no choice but to point to the spot. Lucius stepped up to net.
There was little opportunity to take the foot of the pedal however as Heerenveen continued to threaten, getting within one strike of their hosts within ten minutes when substitute Friend was amicably given the space he desired in the box and shot the ball into the roof of the goal.
Even then there seemed little need for concern, but Feyenoord were clearly rattled by the strike and Friend made another impact five minutes later, heading his side level with Timmer well beaten.
Heerenveen were suddenly on the march and the sense was that the visitors were the only likely winners. Afsono Alves went close on two separate occasions, first drifting a free kick just over, then sending in a drive that forced Timmer to pull out all the stops to keep his side level.
Yet with seven minutes left on the clock Feyenoord proved once again that football can be as unpredictable as it is sometimes exciting. André Bahia won the ball and fed De Guzman, who beat the approaching visiting keeper Vandenbussche with a sublime chip that put the home side back in front.
Pierre van Hooijdonk came on not long after and almost sealed the win only to see his effort ruled off for offside, but Feyenoord finished the tussle with their lead in tact, to record their sixth league victory in seven attempts. Feyenoord – SC Heerenveen 4-3
23’ Afonso Alves 0-1
44’ Huysegems 1-1
50’ Huysegems 2-1
64’ Lucius 3-1 (pen)
74’ Friend 3-2
79’ Friend 3-3
83’ De Guzman 4-3 Bookings:
De Guzman, Dingsdag, Nilsson, Breuer Referee:
Gumienny (Belgium) Feyenoord:
Timmer; Greene (77’ Derijck), Saidi, Bahia, Drenthe; Lucius, De Guzman, Hofs; Kolkka (75’ Vincken), Charisteas (87’ Van Hooijdonk), Huysegems SC Heerenveen:
Vandenbussche; Zuiverloon (66’ Friend), Hansson, Dingsdag, Breuer; Bosvelt, Hanssen, Pranjic (89’ Storm); Poulsen, Afonso Alves, Nilsson (77’ Johnson),