The drubbing at the hands of FC Groningen had led to bold words at De Kuip in the week building up to the first home match of the season, with coach Koeman reiterating that effort was the least the club and its fans could expect from every player in a red and white halved shirt, and there was an immediate response from those very players against a Heracles side that had rolled over neighbours FC Twente in the season curtain-raiser.
Motivation and determination were two things that were certainly shown in spades by the home side, leading to cards for Bahia, Tiendalli and Greene, as referee Van Sichem practiced his name-taking skills in the first half.
One thing Feyenoord were however lacking was inspiration. In attack, the Maassiders showed a dearth of imagination, yet despite failing to create a single stonewall opportunity, a goal would not have been undeserved. Nicky Hofs had the best of a bunch of chances, heading over the bar after a peach of a cross from Tim Vincken, who was drawing attention to himself with a strong display on the right.
Feyenoord were not digging the rhythm though, which was in part due to circumstances beyond their control. The PA system at De Kuip was faulty, which resulted in a couple of rumbles from the speakers around the stadium. That couldn’t have helped; neither could the ten-minute interruption after assistant referee Rozeboom became unwell on 35. As a result, the players found themselves back in the dressing room while the officials sorted out plan B.
When they did get back on the pitch it was the visitors who went closest to breaking the deadlock, in the guise of Feyenoord’s Diego Biseswar. The youngster – on loan to Heracles to gain experience in the Eredivisie – beat Pierre van Hooijdonk before sending in a fine cross that Quame Kwamsah headed against the top side of the bar.
Feyenoord started the second half with a better attitude. Van Hooijdonk was given an opportunity to serve up his speciality after just three minutes, but the striker’s beautiful effort rattled off the post. Jonathan de Guzman and Joonas Kolkka also chanced their arms with shots soon after, although Pieckenhagen was not really troubled. A long-distance drive by Nicky Hofs did unsettled the Heracles keeper, but the German was able to tip the midfielder’s attempt over the bar.
Feyenoord were suddenly creating a shed-load of chances and it seemed like only a matter of time before the Almelo outfit would be licking their wounds. Van Hooijdonk certainly had it within his power to inflict pain on the visitors on 64 when Kolkka found him with a cross, but Big Pete headed centimetres wide, despite having all the time in the world.
Heracles survived the Rotterdam powerplay and as the home side began to huff and puff from all the effort the visitors started to look comfortable. In fact, Feyenoord were not really able to threaten in the closing stages, although Benjamin De Ceulaer did have an opportunity to get a shot off, but any hopes of all three points sailed away on the same wind as the youngster’s drive, which was blown well off course. Indeed, Feyenoord were almost sucker-punched at the death when Remon de Vries failed to convert the visitors’ best chance of the game.
Feyenoord – Heracles Almelo 0-0
Yellow: Bahia, Tiendalli, Greene, Lucius, Tanghe, Boakye, Schilder
Referee: Van Sichem
Remarks: Assistant referee Rozeboom was replaced after 35 minutes by Van der Roest after becoming poorly.
Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Greene, Bahia, Drenthe; Hofs, Lucius, De Guzman; Vincken (62’ Huysegems), Van Hooijdonk, Kolkka (73’ De Ceulaer).
Heracles Almelo: Pieckenhagen; Boakye, Smit, Bosnar, Klavan; Tanghe, Maas, Schilder; Bridji (52’ Hofstede), Kwansah (90’ De Vries), Biseswar (67’ Everton).