Asked whether he could be congratulated after Saturday’s 2-1 win against AZ, Giovanni van Bronckhorst said that he would ...
Feyenoord won the annual Kameraadjes game in front of members of its young fan club, beating Belgian club KV Mechelen by a single goal to nil Wednesday. Romeo Castelen scored the only goal of the game just before the break at a celebratory De Kuip. Erwin Koeman rested many of his first-choice eleven, handing a debut to 20-year-old Ghanaian Mohammed Abubakari. The revenue from the match is donated to Unicef.
The coach had already let it be known that he would be shuffling his pack ahead of coming Sunday’s tough Eredivisie match at FC Groningen and in the end only four players retained their place compared with Sunday’s win against Sparta. That did not make the inclusion of Ghanaian youngster Abubakari from the start any less surprising. The 20-year-old is from the Feyenoord Fetteh Football Academy, where as well as learning the ins and outs of the beautiful game he also acts as a peer educator, spreading the word about HIV/AIDS in a joint project set up by Feyenoord and Unicef.
Abubakari will have been impressed by the atmosphere at De Kuip, where the bitter cold could do little to cool the young fans’ spirits. Feyenoord fuelled that enthusiasm in the early stages too. That was mainly thanks to Romeo Castelen, who showed some exciting touches early on, and the keenness of Royston Drenthe, Ali Boussaboun and Sebastián Pardo.
The first chance fell to Castelen on two minutes, but keeper Vincent van Trier manage to get his hands behind his shot. It took a long time for Feyenoord to create chance number two however. The game was past the half hour by the time Pierre van Hooijdonk headed over a Pardo corner. Not long after Castelen appeared to shoot Feyenoord in front only to see his effort ruled out for handball.
Thankfully the mostly young crowd had an opportunity to cheer before the break and Castelen it was who rounded off the move. The visitors’ keeper had just parried a hard shot by Boussaboun, but he had no chance when Castelen cutely lobbed him to give the home side the lead. The compliments went to Pardo, who had set up a goal-scoring chance for the third time in the match.
The goal improved the game as a spectacle in the second half. The arrival of Salomon Kalou, to loud cheering, also had a lot to do with that. The youngster stroked the ball around beautifully and showed some fine footwork on the ball. The first chance of the second half fell to Van Hooijdonk, but the big man dragged his shot wide. Next up was Drenthe, who shot from a promising position but a stray leg foiled the defender’s efforts.
The Rotterdammers best chance of a second goal came not long after. Chasing only his second ever goal in a Feyenoord shirt, Pascal Bosschaart whisked in a drive only to see the ball canon off the underside of the bar and out, where keeper Van Triere was ready to pounce on it. Kalou had the next opportunity, but he lacked accuracy after some good build-up play by Bosschaart and Pardo, smashing his shot well over the bar. Van Hooijdonk had the last attempt, but the keeper saved and the game ended without further incident.
Feyenoord – KV Mechelen 1-0
40’ 1-0 Castelen
Feyenoord: Aerts; Collen, Vlaar (46´ Gyan), Bahia, Drenthe; Abubakari, Paauwe (46´ Bosschaart), Pardo; Castelen (46´ Kalou), Van Hooijdonk, Boussaboun.
KV Mechelen: Van Trier (46´ Verelst); Verlinden (46´ Van Zundert), Van Hoevelen (46´ Coppens), Van Briel, Van Belle; Masina, De Pauw (46´ Biset), Serbest, D’Hondt (46´ Goots); Crabeels (46´ Kanene), Asare (46´ Engmann).