‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord suffered a fourth league defeat in five games in Nijmegen Sunday against lowly NEC. The home side had the Rotterdammers on the back foot for most of the match, but had to wait until deep into the second half before Bart van den Eede slotted home a penalty. Andrzej Niedzielan secured the points late on. It was a bad defeat for Feyenoord, who started with Tim Vincken for the first time and also welcomed back old head Patrick Paauwe and Leonardo in the starting line-up.
There was little opportunity for Vincken to make his mark in the first half, but he couldn’t be blamed for that. It was the consequence of wave after waves of attacks from the home side that put the Feyenoord defence on the back foot in the first thirty.
That the Rotterdammers made the break still on level terms had less to do with fine defending however than the shortcomings of the NEC attack and a super display by Gabor Babos. The Hungarian keeper was in outstanding form, keeping his slate clean despite the home side’s dominance.
The first chance came as early as the fourth minute, when Denneboom took a dig, only for Babos to tip the effort over the bar. The chances continued to come for the Nijmegen outfit and both Niedzielan and Denneboom might have done better than they did. Denneboom had a gilt-edge opportunity on thirteen, but the way he wasted it was fair comment on NEC’s inability to finish. Niedzielan played in an inch-perfect ball and the striker had to work hard to miss the target from two metres out.
It was a warning and Feyenoord should have responded better than they did, although Ruud Gullit’s side did create a couple of half chances and a little more possession in the last third of the game. Hofs shot straight into the hands of keeper Gentenaar, while Goor tried his luck from distance but was unable to keep his effort on target.
The second half continued in the same vein, with NEC making and wasting the best chances. Van den Eede couldn’t miss but did with his header.
But the home side finally got their noses in front just over halfway through the second period, and the bad weather had a hand in it. Saidi attempted to play the ball back but saw his ball stop dead in the surface water. Denneboom pounced on it and made for goal, only to be brought down by Babos. Referee Braamhaar pointed to the spot and Van den Eede converted the penalty.
The Belgian almost made it two not long after, only to see Saidi head his effort from the line, but Niedzielan eventually secured the points for NEC four minutes from time, nodding in Denneboom’s cross.
Hofs almost rescued some pride for the visitors at the end, but he shot wide then against the bar as the Maassiders slid to defeat.
NEC 2-0 Feyenoord
71´ 1-0 Van den Eede (penalty)
86´ 2-0 Niedzielan
Yellow: Ebbinge, Babos
NEC: Gentenaar; Nalbantoglu, Wisgerhof, Ebbinge (59´ Pothuizen), Leiwakabessy; Barreto, Tininho (85´ Wielaert), Boutahar (90´ Kazlauskas); Denneboom, Niedzielan, Van den Eede.
Feyenoord: Babos; Östlund, Saidi, Paauwe, Basto; Vincken, Bosschaart (69´ Pardo), Hofs, Goor; Kuyt, Leonardo