Feyenoord trained on a plastic surface in the run-up to the meet, in the knowledge that the newcomers’ synthetic pitch has already caught out a few opponents this season. The visitors used the first half hour of the contest to get used to the conditions, but once they had things went speedily. The impetus came from Kwame Quansah, who almost gave the ball in ribbon-tied gift-wrapping to Hofs in the twenty-fifth minute. The midfielder reacted assiduously to the Ghanaian’s shenanigans to whisk the ball away and set up Kalou. The visiting striker had already seen that Pieckenhagen was off his line, and lobbed the hapless keeper to give his side the lead.
The goal seamed to knock the stuffing out of Heracles, as Feyenoord moved up a gear. Five minutes later Jonathan de Guzman had a great chance to double the lead. The Canadian was already doing the math when he took on the ball on the edge of the penalty area, aiming his strike at the far corner, but De Guzman’s onboard computer was out slightly, because the ball rattled off the post.
But the scoreboard attendant didn’t have to wait for long to move into action, because the second goal arrived within sixty seconds. Greene broke clear on the right, before finding Kuyt, who ran on to the pass to smash in an unstoppable drive.
Heracles were unable to respond due to a very solid-looking Feyenoord defence and an attack that looked dangerous every time the visitors went forward. No surprise then that the third goal of the game fell to Feyenoord, although it did come surprisingly quickly. The clock had ticked by just another two minutes when Hofs slid the ball through to Castelen and Romeo broke home hearts by slotting his drive past Pieckenhagen.
Feyenoord continued to rule the roost in the second half. Hirayama did have a half chance to revive home hopes, but it was the out-of-towners who looked the part. A Castelen lob might have found the target for the fourth Rotterdam goal, but the international was unable to keep his effort down.
Erwin Koeman decided to shuffle his pack, bringing on Pieter Collen for Greene on the hour, then introducing Van Hooijdonk in the place of Castelen with just under a quarter of an hour left. But by then Feyenoord were already coasting at four-nil, after Paauwe struck a fine drive from around twenty metres that found Pieckenhagen wanting.
Heracles-Feyenoord 0-4 (0-3)
25´ 0-1 Kalou
36` 0-2 Kuyt
39´ 0-3 Castelen
75´ 0-4 Paauwe
Heracles: Pieckenhagen; Jansen, Hoogma, Looms, De Vries; Maas, Tanghe, Quansah; Numela, Hirayama (82’ Wuytens), Höcher (72’ Tamerus).
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Greene (59’ Collen), Bahia, Vlaar, Bosschaart; De Guzman, Paauwe, Hofs (83’ Drenthe); Castelen (77` Van Hooijdonk), Kuyt, Kalou.