‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord appeared to be heading for a draw in Waalwijk Saturday evening in the Eredivisie until Danko Lazovic came off the bench to shoot the Rotterdammers to another three points. Ruud Gullit’s side showed plenty of resilience, twice coming back from a goal down, through Romeo Castelen and Salomon Kalou, before Lazovic struck. Castelen then rubber-stamped the win in time added on in a game that saw the return to action of Pascal Bosschaart and an early bath for RKC defender Greene.
Ruud Gullit was forced to make a late change when first-choice goalie Patrick Lodewijks pulled out of the warm-up with a groin strain. His place was taken by Gabor Babos. It’s difficult to say whether the last-minute adjustment unsettled the Feyenoord backline, but fact is that the Maassiders did concede as early as the sixth minute. Van Diemen played the ball into Vasconcelos, who thundered in a header that had the Feyenoord’s Hungarian keeper clutching at air. It was the start of a rollercoaster ride.
Feyenoord will have been pleased not to concede any more goals as the home side revved up the pressure in a blood-and-guts opening. But gradually the visitors started to pull together and no surprises that it was Dirk Kuyt who had the first attempt on behalf of the Rotterdammers. His diagonal drive was picked up by keeper Sinouh.
Saidi was next to threaten, with a header that went just over, but the equaliser hung in the air, and Feyenoord would snatch it before long. There were twenty-four on the clock when Romeo Castelen pounced in a packed penalty area to poke the ball past a despairing Sinouh.
Yet the home side were to regain the lead within minutes. Babos was caught by surprise by Krohn-Dehli’s effort, which sailed into the far corner to put Feyenoord back in catch-up mode again.
The pattern remained the same in spite of everything, however, with Feyenoord clearly ahead on points if not on goals. Then up stepped Kalou. The game was 33 minutes old when the Ivorian got his head to a wonderful Kuyt cross to square things for the second time.
Basto was replaced at half time, as Gullit handed Bosschaart a return to the first team after two months out of action due to a leg infection.
The visitors were clearly gunning for all three points, although they were unable to sculpt anything threatening until 58. Castelen looked to have broken free and headed for the home goal at top speed, only for Greene to haul him down and earn a red card for his troubles.
Even so, it was the ten men of RKC that had the best chance to score the fifth goal of the evening. Fuchs’s shot was beaten out by Babos, but the ball fell at the feet of Vasconcelos who found himself with an open goal to shoot into, but the midfielder could only find the side-netting.
Feyenoord heeded the wake-up call and turned up the heat, with shots from Kuyt and Goor both going close. Next Castelen found himself with his nose in the turf after apparently being fouled in the box, but referee Van Egmond was having none of it. Minutes later there was another seemingly nailed-on penalty at the same end as Hofs was floored by Sinouh, but Van Egmond waved the claims away again.
As the clock ticked down Gullit threw on Lazovic and the Serb repaid the compliment by shooting Feyenoord ahead in the last minute of normal time. And as the home side felt their muscles seizing up in disappointment, Feyenoord grabbed a fourth deep into injury time when Castelen lobbed keeper Sinouh from well outside the penalty area.
RKC Waalwijk 2–4 Feyenoord
6´ 1-0 Vasconcelos
24´ 1-1 Castelen
26´ 2-1 Krohn-Dehli
33´ 2-2 Kalou
90´ 2-3 Lazovic
90´ 2-4 Castelen
RKC Waalwijk: Sinouh; Greene, Van Hintum, Vermaelen, Van Diemen; Molhoek (90’ Elmas), Fuchs, Oost (64’ Fung-A-Wing); Vasconcelos (72’ Putter), Hoogendorp, Krohn-Dehli.
Feyenoord: Babos; Östlund, Gibbs, Saidi, Basto (46’ Bosschaart); Castelen, Ono, Hofs, Goor (84’ Lazovic); Kuyt, Kalou.
Red: Greene (58’)