Hossam Ghaly was doubtful even close to kick off with a painful hamstring, but the Egyptian was eventually passed fit. Fellow North African Karim Saidi was also a doubt, and he did not make the cut. The Tunisian’s absence did give the crowd a look at cult hero Christian Gyan, who warmed up with the rest of the squad for the first time since undergoing surgery on his meniscus, although the Ghanaian started on the bench.
The good humour in the stadium following another defeat for Ajax earlier in the day was tempered somewhat four minutes in when referee Luinge denied Feyenoord a penalty, despite Salomon Kalou being clearly floored by visiting keeper Harald Wapenaar.
It was a blow to Feyenoord, because an early goal would have gone a long way to tilting the home side to victory. As it was, the Maassiders were finding it tough going against a well drilled Vitesse. Erwin Koeman’s side were creating the best chances, but failed to convert any of them. Kuyt headed wide on twenty, while De Guzman missed the target with a drive not long after.
Kalou did put Wapenaar under pressure as he waltzed clear of Ruud Knol, but the striker’s effort rattled off the post and out. Wapenaar was beaten again on 35, this time by André Bahia’s header, but Yakubu was on hand to clear his lines.
Vitesse too were dangerous, but the visitors had just one effort on target, Theo Janssen skinning Greene and pumping in a drive that Lodewijks saved.
Feyenoord retorted once more before the break, when Kuyt smashed in a 112-kph shot that whisked the wrong side of the post.
The second half started spectacularly as Lodewijks and Wapenaar both came to their respective team’s rescue to keep the game in stalemate. Kalou appeared to have given Feyenoord the upper hand straight from the restart from Kuyt’s pass, but Wapenaar held onto the striker’s effort from just two metres out. Five minutes in and it was Lodewijks’s turn to show his class, beating out Hersi’s attempt. Then Lodewijks was called to action again on 57 when Janssen drove in a free kick.
The two sides continued to trade blows and the crowd was certainly getting its money’s worth as both pressed forward at every opportunity. With a quarter of an hour left on the clock Romeo Castelen looked good for the opening goal, taking on a Kuyt pass after swapping positions with the striker. Yet from around six metres out a completely unmarked Castelen could do no more than shoot wide.
Paauwe was next to have a go, but his shot was straight at Wapenaar as it become apparent that Feyenoord would end the game without a goal for the first time in eleven league starts.
Feyenoord – Vitesse 0-0
Yellow: De Guzman, Yakubu, Vreven
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Östlund, Greene, Bahia, Snoyl (82´ Bosschaart); Ghaly (83´ Boussaboun), Paauwe, De Guzman; Castelen, Kuyt, Kalou.
Vitesse: Wapenaar; Vreven, Dingsdag, Knol, Swerts; Van der Schaaf, Yakubu, Janssen; Hersi (89´ Fränkel), Amoah, De Mul (63´ Benson).