‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord left Eindhoven empty-handed after Sunday’s Eredivisie topper against PSV. Ronald Koeman’s titleholders were simply too strong for his brother’s challengers. The home side raced into a two-goal lead, with goals by Jefferson Farfán and Alex, but Jonathan de Guzman’s first-half injury time strike meant that everything was to play for after the break. Indeed, Feyenoord almost snatched a point, only to see De Guzman’s second of the afternoon ruled out at the death. Karim Saidi started his first game for Feyenoord in over a year, but new signing Angelos Charisteas was forced off with a recurrent groin strain after just 21 minutes.
Feyenoord’s first half performance was characterised by the same misunderstandings that had plagued the Rotterdammers’ midweek Uefa Cup tie in Bulgaria. Not least in the tenth minute, when Serginho Greene and De Guzman both attempted to tackle Farfán. The Peru international skipped away from both opponents, crossing for Koné, who nodded the ball in to the net, but thankfully the flag of the referee’s assistant signalled that the goal was illegitimate.
Feyenoord were already a goal down by them however. Farfán’s free kick sailed over the wall and into the net after just three minutes, with Henk Timmer rueing his positioning.
The period that set in after the goal was an uncomfortable one for Feyenoord fans everywhere, as the Rotterdammers failed to break PSV’s iron grip on the game. The result was an array of dangerous opportunities for the home side. Farfán saw his shot whisk wide and debutant Diego Tardelli followed his example. Then Koeman was forced into action when new signing Charisteas could not continue, as the Greek’s groin strain resurfaced.
Substitute Pierre van Hooijdonk improved Feyenoord’s shape and the Big Man was responsible for the visitors’ first serious chance. Keeper Gomes was forced to give away a corner when Van Hooijdonk released an explosive shot. A second drive by the substitute, measured at over 127 kilometres an hour, was stopped by the head of Afellay, who left the field as a consequence.
The slight improvement was not enough to prevent PSV from doubling their lead a couple of minutes before the break. Jan Kromkamp outsprinted Joonas Kollka and crossed to the unmarked Koné, who swept the ball past Timmer from close range.
Yet just as it looked as though Feyenoord would go in for the tea break two adrift of the champions, Danny Buijs’ long throw in caught the home defence on the wrong foot and De Guzman struck the ball past a hopeless Gomes to cut the lead back to one.
It all meant that Feyenoord started the second half still in with a chance of leaving Eindhoven with a point. And that feeling grew as the half took shape, because PSV looked incapable of extending the lead. Koné had a huge opportunity on 56, but Timmer saved well and the same Koné had a host of teammates to choose from on 65 when Lucius gave the ball away. Farfán and Tardelli where both unmarked in the Feyenoord penalty area, but the Ivorian took too much time before playing it to Aissati, who was less well-placed, shooting wide.
As the clock ticked down Koeman decided to go all out for an equaliser, bringing off defender Tiendalli for attacker Ali Boussaboun. The next opportunity came at the other end however, as Koné threatened, but Timmer smothered the chance.
As the game entered its climax Feyenoord started to exert pressure on the home side and when De Guzman’s corner went straight into the net it looked as though the Rotterdammers had saved the best to last, but the goal was ruled out for reasons only known to the referee, after Gomes fell over the feet of his own defender Salcido. It was a cruel conclusion.
PSV – Feyenoord 2-1
7’ 1-0 Farfán
43’ 2-0 Alex
45’ 2-1 De Guzman
Yellows: Hofs, Alex, Farfán
PSV: Gomes; Kromkamp, Lamey, Alex, Salcido; Simons, Mendez, Affellay (36’ Aissati); Farfán (77’ Addo), Koné, Tardelli (72’ Kluivert).
Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli (74’ Boussaboun), Greene, Saidi, Bahia; Hofs (88’ Pardo), Buijs, Lucius, De Guzman; Kolkka, Charisteas (21’ Van Hooijdonk).