‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord did their Uefa Cup chances little good in France Thursday evening, going down 3-0 to AS Nancy in their penultimate Group E tie. The defeat means that Feyenoord have to beat Wisla Krakow in a fortnight’s time to progress to the knockout stages. The match itself was overshadowed by the behaviour of sections of the away support, leading to the French police using teargas, which was unfortunately blown onto the field of play, causing the a 20-minute break in play, By that time the home side were leading three nil. The teams did return to play out the game, and their was just enough time for Pierre van Hooijdonk to miss a penalty.
The first few minutes gave some hope to the Feyenoord entourage and Angelos Charisteas threatened the home goal with a shot after just three minutes, but that was to be the only Rotterdam-made chance of the first half as the hosts began to overrun their guests.
It was unfortunately on the terraces that most eyes were focused as a section of Dutch visitors attacked their French hosts, causing the home fans to run to safety. The police moved in quickly to restore some semblance of order, forming a human shield around the Feyenoord section.
On the pitch in the meantime the home side took the lead on 22 minutes. Emmanuel Duchemin’s shot ended up in a packed penalty area and Pascal Berenguer drove in a hard effort that fell to Puygrenier, who managed to redirect the ball into the net with his foot.
The French team dictated the pace of the game until the break and it seemed only a matter of time before more goals would come. In the end it was an own goal that doubled AS Nancy’s lead, as Bahia deflected a ball past Timmer three minutes before the break.
Danny Buijs tried to stimulate his teammates to get a grip on the match early in the second half, but the midfielder unfortunately went a little over the top. A yellow card didn’t look out of place when Buijs made a hard challenge against Berenguer’s knee, but the referee kept his cards in his pocket. Neither did the tackle have much effect on his own team, as Feyenoord continued to struggle.
The Rotterdammers’ predicament was best illustrated by Royston Drenthe’s plight. The left back had to concentrate all his efforts on keeping his man quiet and he’d already picked up a yellow card when he fell for the sucker punch on 61 minutes. Issiar Dia had already started to move clear of Drente when the youngster pulled the home player back. Drenthe was presented with a second yellow and as he left the field Buijs was shown a yellow of his own for shooting his mouth off.
The third home goal was not long in coming. Karim Saidi pulled down Monsef Zerka in the box. Zerka picked himself up, dusted himself down and rifled the penalty past Timmer.Meanwhile, off the pitch, a group of people calling themselves Feyenoord fans were again kicking up a fuss, which triggered the police to move in once more to form a cordon around the visitors’ section.
The match was actually stopped on 79 minutes when a number of Feyenoord players were affected by the teargas used by the police to control the troublesome part of the crowd. Greene and Timmer were worst affected, but with more players and people in the stands showing signs of distress it was touch and go whether the match would actually run the full ninety minutes.
Referee Espen Berntsen took the teams off for twenty minutes before they finally returned to play out the last eleven. By that time the stadium was almost empty and the evening was given a surreal tint. To add insult to sore eyes Feyenoord spurned the chance to pull a goal before the referee took the teams off for good. Huysegems was floored in the box, but Van Hooijdonk saw his spot kick saved.
AS Nancy-Feyenoord 3-0
22’ Puygrenier 1-0
42’ Bahia (e.d.) 2-0
65’ Zerka 3-0
Bookings: Buijs, Saidi
Sending off: Drenthe (61’ 2x yellows)
Referee: Berntsen (Norway)
Feyenoord: Timmer; Greene, Saidi, Bahia, Drenthe; De Guzman, Derijck, Buijs; Charisteas (67’ Boussaboun), Van Hooijdonk, Huysegems
AS Nancy: Sorin; Chretien, Diakhate, Puygrenier, Sauget; Duchemin, Berenguer, Dia (75’ Gavanon); Kim (57’ Brison), Zerka, Curbelo (71’ Andre Luiz)