Feyenoord kicked off the Eredivisie season in Groningen Sunday with a heavy defeat at the Euroborg stadium. The home side took the points with second-half strikes by Erik Nevland, Koen van de Laak and Glen Salmon in a game that marked the debut of new signing Theo Lucius as club captain. In addition to a poor display, Erwin Koeman will be concerned about Ron Vlaar’s inability to play longer than a half-hour or so. He limped off with a foot problem.

No one was expecting wonders from Feyenoord three days after the club lost its captain and spearhead Dirk Kuyt. Not even coach Erwin Koeman, despite his attempts to exude optimism ahead of the start of the season. With that in mind, his side’s first half performance was certainly not a surprise, as Feyenoord looked competent to the challenge in defence, but lacking in potency further up the pitch. In attack Feyenoord were ineffective, as highlighted by Pierre van Hooijdonk’s weak drive on 44, the first time Bas Roorda’s goal was threatened.

The home side though were little better, which worked as an anaesthetic for most of the opening period. Visiting keeper Henk Timmer was called into action in the early stages only once too, a header by Erik Nevland, and it was not until the first half drew to a close that the home side started to drive up the revs, sculpting a couple of opportunities. First Mark-Jan Fledderus shot just wide, then the same player set up Nevland, whose effort was hard and true, but Timmer’s reflexes were good.

Ron Vlaar was already off the pitch by that time, after signalling for the second week in succession that his instep was giving him too many problems to continue. Pieter Collen stepped up to the mark, coming on as a substitute on 33.

Joonas Kolkka was responsible for the first goal attempt after the break, but his drive went wide and it was the home side that took the lead ten minutes in. Timmer misjudged a high header by Danny Buijs and Nevland nipped in to nod his side ahead.

Feyenoord were unable to recover and the Maassiders found themselves further behind within six minutes. Forced to defend far too deep, Feyenoord exposed themselves to more danger than was necessary and went Bahia gave the ball away Salmon found himself unmarked with just Timmer to beat it looked like curtains, but the South African was too impatient, smashing the ball over the bar. But Feyenoord were not as fortunate seconds later, when Van de Laak swept past Jonathan de Guzman and Pascal Bosschaart before whacking in an effort that flashed across Timmer into the net for 2-0. 

Things only got worse for the visitors as the hosts grabbed a third on 68. Buijs was given all the time in the world to play the ball into Salmon’s feet and the striker did was he is paid for, leaving Timmer with no chance to make it 3-0. With the points in the bag Groningen were happy to play out the last twenty minutes or so, although Feyenoord did almost grab a consolation through Bosschaart (wise) and Kolkka (bar) but is was clearly not their day.  

FC Groningen – Feyenoord 3-0
55’ 1-0 Nevland
61’ 2-0 Van de Laak
68’ 3-0 Salmon

Yellow: Lindgren

FC Groningen: Roorda; Matthijs, Sankoh, Kruiswijk, Van der Linden; Lindgren, Buijs, Fledderus; Salmon (88’ Suárez), Van de Laak (81’ Lovre), Nevland (75’ Cornelisse) 

Feyenoord: Timmer; Greene, Vlaar (33’ Collen), Bahia, Bosschaart; Lucius, De Guzman, Kolkka; De Ceulaer (62’ Vincken), Van Hooijdonk, Huysegems

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