‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Despite taking the lead through Dirk Kuyt early in the second half, Feyenoord’s hopes of starting the year with three points were ended by two goals in two minutes from substitute Igor Gluscevic as Vitesse claimed the win in the last ten minutes Sunday at De Kuip. It was a disappointing end to an unsatisfactory match in front of a bumper crowd in which coach Gullit fielded four debutants - Hofs, Gibbs, Östlund and De Graaf.
The home side needed some time to get used to the new formation, and despite showing a great deal of willingness the Rotterdammers were having problems creating any openings and chances were not plentiful in the first half at either end.
Vitesse were certainly not playing to win any friends in De Kuip, but the visitors’ defensive approach still managed to create two chances, the first after only seven minutes. That time De Graaf was able to clear Amoah’s effort from the line.
Later in the half Hersi pulled a shot just wide after a one-two right down the middle of the field that sliced through the centre of the Feyenoord defence.
At the other end Kalou went close, heading just over on ten, but much more than that was not forthcoming in the first half.
Feyenoord finally made the breakthrough just after the turnaround however and it was top scorer Dirk Kuyt that grabbed it, netting Hofs’s free kick at the back stick.
With the lead in the bag Gullit decided he needed to give his team some extra impetus to push on from there, bringing on Castelen for De Graaf,
But it had been an encounter full of niggling fouls and the opener didn’t tighten Feyenoord’s grip on the match. Indeed, the crowd had to wait until the introduction of Lazovic for the disappointing Kalou before the tempo started to rise. On 75, a fine ball in by Ghaly looked like being nodded home by the Serb, but a reflex save by Wapenaar denied the youngster.
Three minutes later Lazovic had another chance, when Kuyt played the ball down to his strike partner just on the edge of the box, who whipped in a shot that lacked the power to beat Wapenaar.
Despite the lack of a second goal for the home side, the three points looked relatively secure until ten minutes from the end. Babos missed an incoming ball that substitute Gluscevic got on the end of to head the visitors level with neither Gibbs nor Saidi anywhere near.
And things got worse within two minutes when the same Gluscevic found himself with space to run into as he bore down on Babos’s goal, before rifling in the winner.
Feyenoord-Vitesse 1-2 (0-0)
49’ 1-0 Kuyt
80’ 1-1 Gluscevic
82’ 1-2 Gluscevic
Feyenoord: Babos; Östlund, Saidi, Gibbs, Bosschaart; De Graaf (49’ Castelen), Hofs, Ghaly, Goor; Kalou (70’Lazovic), Kuyt.
Vitesse: Wapenaar; Vreven, Van den Berg, Dingsdag, Jansen; Knopper, Yakubu, Janssen, Fränkel (72’ Gluscevic); Hersie, Amoah.
Yellow: Van den Berg, Vreven, Castelen, Hofs, Janssen