‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Pierre van Hooijdonk came closest to claiming a draw for Feyenoord against Chelsea Tuesday with a late free kick that rattled the post, but the English champions showed their class at De Kuip, running out winners courtesy of Frank Lampard who scored the only goal of the game early in the second half. The game was a disappointment for Erwin Koeman in more ways than one as Royston Drenthe was forced off in the first 45 after a collision and Patrick Lodewijks followed him after the turnaround.
There was a lack of quality football in the opening stages, but that was made up for by the buoyant atmosphere at De Kuip, as the sell-out crowd showed its intentions to enjoy the occasion come what may. On a warm evening, Feyenoord looked fired up to attack their illustrious opponents, but the class of the blue–shirted eleven dampened Rotterdam desire somewhat. Dirk Kuyt chased after a couple of balls and Benjamin De Ceulaer almost got his head on a Joonas Kolkka cross, but that was about it attacking-wise.
Chelsea were a little more aggressive going forward, although they were helped by the home team on one occasion, as Jonathan de Guzman got his head onto one of the visitors’ free kicks. Luckily for him, Lodewijks was able to scramble to the rescue at the expense of a corner.
Soon after Kalou set up Andriy Shevchenko, but the Ukraine forward looked a little ring rusty and was unable to fire off a shot.
There was bad news for the homers ten minutes before the break however, as Drenthe clashed unhappily with Arjen Robben. The young left back was caught in the face and was stretchered off feeling groggy. He was replaced by Nicky Hofs.
Chelsea took the initiative in the second period, which resulted in chances almost immediately. First Kalou went close to scoring against his old side with a header, but was unable to keep it down, then Didier Drogba got his head to one himself, but Lodewijks reacted well to keep the ball out with a goal-line save.
The 39-year-old was unable to stop the visitors grabbing the lead within six minutes of the turnaround however. This time it was Frank Lampard who got on the end of the English attack, putting his side ahead with a delightful diagonal chip.
Lodewijks was forced to take time out in the first half for treatment after a collision with Kalou. He was able to continue, but when the same thing happened after the break it was the end of the game for the Feyenoord keeper. Lodewijks exited with a painful wrist, perceivably peeved with Kalou’s over-enthusiasm.
Feyenoord finally managed to put Chelsea keeper Carlo Cudicini under a spot of pressure in the second half, when Hofs aimed a free kick just over. But the most danger was at the other end, as Drogba had a dig that was scrambled away for a corner and Ballack headed over. With the next goal more likely to come at the wrong end coach Koeman decided to take his chances, sacrificing midfielder De Guzman for striker Pierre van Hooijdonk.
The switch had little effect initially, as the visitors continued to press and Drogba might have made it two when he rounded substitute keeper Timmer, but Ron Vlaar was on hand to deny the Ivorian. Next up was Terry, who saw his shot saved.
In the end Feyenoord might even have notched a leveler, when Van Hooijdonk tried one of his trademark free kicks, but this time the big man saw his effort smash off the post. The ball fell to Vincken, but the youngster couldn’t get himself into the right position, shooting wide.
Feyenoord – Chelsea 0-1
51’ 1-0 Lampard
Yellow: De Ceulaer
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Collen, Greene, Vlaar, Drenthe (34’ Hofs); Lucius (86’ Davids), De Guzman (76’ Van Hooijdonk), Bosschaart; De Ceulaer (66’ Vincken), Kuyt, Kolkka.
Chelsea: Cudicini; Geremi, Ferrera, Carvalho, Bridge (46’ Terry); Ballack, Essien (62’ Diarra), Lampard (74’ Obi Mikel); Robben (46’ Drogba), Shevchenko (62’ Wright Phillips), Kalou (88’ Woods).