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Feyenoord will play Ajax in the playoff semi-final first leg Thursday after the Amsterdammers secured fourth place Sunday, at the same time as the Maassiders were beating RBC Roosendaal. The Rotterdam goals came from a Dirk Kuyt penalty and a late strike from Pierre van Hooijdonk, in a game that saw a red card for the visitors’ José Fortes Rodriguez for flooring Van Hooijdonk. The game also saw Pieter Collen substituted early with a hamstring injury, although on a happier note Patrick Lodewijks made his return to first team action.
Lodewijks had targeted a return to action in the Champions League playoffs and he even beat that target by a few days, starting the last game of the regular season as Feyenoord’s number one once more.
Feyenoord started the game in rather lacklustre style against opponents that have known their relegation fate for quite a while. The attention of the crowd seemed to be elsewhere, with news of Ajax’s progress at RKC Waalwijk at a premium in the stands.
The Rotterdammers unsurprisingly had the upper hand, sculpting a couple of good chances before the break, but it soon became clear that the home side were not going to be racking up a cricket score against the Eredivisie’s bottom side. Feyenoord were simply too lethargic, which was not such a revelation bearing in mind the playoffs are just around the corner.
Dirk Kuyt was the main Rotterdam threat. He lacked that little bit of power on six minutes to hit the ball hard enough to beat Jorge ‘Kike’ Acuña, who was able to clear from the line. On twenty the hosts’ top scorer felt he deserved a penalty, but referee Blom was of the opinion that keeper Erwin Friebel had done nothing untoward in trying to capture the ball. Five minutes later it looked as though Feyenoord would take the lead anyway, when found Kuyt’s head with a perfect ball, but despite heading powerful downwards, Kuyt was denied by Friebel, who stopped the effort almost accidentally as he fell to the deck.
The only other chances in the opening period were for André Bahia (header), Hofs (free kick saved by Friebel) and Kuyt (shot wide), as the sides went in at the turnaround goalless.
If Feyenoord were unable to give their fans much in the way of entertainment in the first period, save a few chances, the second half was not so much better, at least in the early stages. It did feel as though a goal was bound to come mind you, although referee Blom was not exactly playing a facilitating role. After refusing to give Kuyt a penalty in the first half when the striker seemed to have been hauled down in the box, a handball in the penalty area and another foul on Kuyt were also ignored after the break.
But Blom was unable to turn a blind eye to a disgraceful foul by Fortes Rodriguez, who hit Pierre van Hooijdonk when the ball was moving in the other direction after Friebel stopped a Rotterdam attack. The consequence was a handbags-at-ten-paces incident that landed a furious Nicky Hofs a yellow card but more importantly a red for Fortes Rodriguez and gave Kuyt the chance to put his side into the lead from the spot. The striker’s normal finesse deserted him, but Friebel was unable to do anything more than get a forlorn hand to the penalty, which sailed into the net.
Kuyt might have added a second not long after when Kalou set his strike partner up, but Kuyt showed once again that he wasn’t in the best of sorts, shooting over The miss was almost punished by the visitors when Lodewijks was forced into action to stop Sillah from levelling things, but in the end it was Feyenoord that got the game’s second goal, heading in Castelen’s measured cross with eight minutes left to secure all three points.
Feyenoord – RBC Roosendaal 2-0
70’ 1-0 Kuyt
82’ 2-0 Van Hooijdonk
Yellow: Acuña, Hofs
Red: Fortes Rodriquez
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Collen (26’ De Guzman), Vlaar, Bahia, Bosschaart; Greene, Paauwe (61’ Van Hooijdonk), Hofs; Castelen, Kuyt, Kalou (76’ Pardo).
RBC Roosendaal: Friebel; Loran, Fortes Rodriquez, Roumani, Fleur; Acuña, Smolders, Daelemans (71’ Paap), De Lange (79’ Basoski); Sillah, Vos (66’ Kpaka).