VLAAR DEBUT, HOFS RETURN: 0-2

Feyenoord won their first match off 2006 at HSV Hoek in Zeeland by two goals to nil Tuesday. The Rotterdammers got a goal in each half from Ferne Snoyl and Diego Biseswar to defeat their amateur opponents in a match that saw Dirk Kuyt retire early with a slight knock. The match also marked Ron Vlaar’s first appearance in a Feyenoord jersey after his move from AZ and Nicky Hofs first pitch time after five months on the sidelines. Academy players Mitchell Schet and Royston Drenthe also made their first-team debuts.

The purchase of Ron Vlaar suggested that Koeman was willing to break up the defensive duo that got Feyenoord through the first half of the season and the coach did indeed hand Vlaar a place in the middle of defence alongside Bahia, with the Brazilian’s regular partner Greene switching to right back. The juggling meant that Alexander Östlund found himself out of the starting eleven.


 
Vlaar was unable to make his mark in his first appearance for the club however, eyeing a little unsure. The new man also made a couple of unforced errors on the anything but level playing field. It didn’t result in any gilt-edged chances for the home side, although the hosts did put their best foot forward on a number of occasions. The amateurs rattled in three shots in the first half, and the last of them might have got them a goal, had Patrick Lodewijks not tipped Charly Okonedo’s attempt away from danger.
 
Feyenoord had the lead by then, however. After two good opportunities for Kuyt – one going wide and the other stopped by the keeper’s feet – and one for Diego Biseswar – a curler that just missed the target – defender Ferne Snoyl came up on 25 minutes to give them a lesson in finishing, rounding off a fine attacking move by driving his shot into the far corner. It could have been two just ahead of the break, but De Guzman saw his effort rattle off the outside of the post.


 
Koeman used the second half to test his defence, bringing on Pieter Collen for Shinji Ono at the turnaround. The substitution saw Bahia move to left back and Snoyl moving up field. Greene went to the centre of defence, while Collen himself went to right back.
 
Hoek put the new rearguard to the test immediately when Niels Dominicus whipped in a shot that just cleared Aerts’s bar moments after the keeper had took over from Lodewijks. At the other end, Kuyt was next to go close, but his header was pushed away for a corner.
 
Debutant Schet was brought into the fray with just over quarter of an hour left when Kuyt retired with a minor knock and Hofs made his first appearance since going under the knife after tearing his cruciate ligament five minutes later. Drenthe even got a ten-minute run out, which came as a surprise not least to the player himself. 


 
Feyenoord were finding it difficult to find the target however. Biseswar and Hofs both found themselves in good positions, but both fired over, and it wasn’t until the eighty-fifth minute that the second goal finally came. Biseswar reacted sharply to some clunky defending to shoot the ball into the net. And the youngster might have had another before the final whistle, if it hadn’t been for some fine defending that saw Bisewar’s effort cleared off the line.
 
HSV Hoek – Feyenoord 0-2
25’ 0-1 Snoyl
85’ 0-2 Biseswar
 
Feyenoord: Lodewijks (46’ Aerts); Greene, Vlaar, Bahia (80’ Drenthe), Snoyl; Paauwe (78’ Hofs), Ono (46’ Collen), De Guzman; Biseswar, Kuyt (73’ Schet), Pardo.

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