‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
There was very little to cheer about for Feyenoord in The Hague Sunday as the Rotterdammers continued their mediocre run with a loss to a club fighting a relegation battle. Coach Ruud Gullit’s bad day started early with a goal conceded just three minutes in and didn’t get any better when Karim Saidi was sidelined not long after. ADO then went on to double their lead in the second half, leaving Feyenoord with a big headache going into the festive season and the winter break.
Ruud Gullit had rested five first-team regulars in Basle for an Eredivisie game that he felt was more important, but after ten minutes of play in the Zuiderpark stadium the coach had to make his first substitution.
Already without Paauwe and Loovens due to injury, Gullit saw Saidi break down with a hamstring injury after only nine minutes.
The loss of Saidi was the second blow of the afternoon for the Maassiders, because by that time they were already a goal down. The match was only three minutes old when Geert den Ouden shook off Chris Gyan and smashed the ball past Lodewijks.
The early strike knocked Feyenoord off balance and while Zuiverloon and Gyan did reasonably well in the heart of defence, the Rotterdammers looked anxious.
So there was almost a half-hour on the clock before the visitors sculptured their first opportunity. The otherwise anonymous Ono showed a flash of imagination when he passed to Castelen and the Dutch international slid in courageously to deliver the ball to the feet of Kalou. The African’s shot went wide, but it seemed to herald the arrival of Feyenoord as an attacking force in The Hague.
More chances certainly followed, but the out-of-towners were not able to dominate their hosts. Ono pulled a shot wide, Kalou was close to the breakthrough and Castelen was too, but the goal was not forthcoming before the break.
In the second half Feyenoord returned from the dressing room without Shinji Ono, who was replaced by Magrao. That didn’t seem to have much of an impact on proceedings as the Rotterdammers found it hard to stamp any control on the game.
ADO were causing Ruud Gullit’s men a lot of problems when they broke and, indeed, Van der Gun almost exploited a lack of good judgement by Lodewijks and Den Ouden too had a big chance to double the lead from a corner, but his shot went over the bar.
Within minutes of that, however, the home side had their second goal. A pass out to Mtiliga caught the defender napping and Den Haag broke quickly as a consequence, Sjaak Polak ultimately rounding off the attack by netting.
Gullit brought on Buffel for Gyan after the goal, which meant that Bosschaart was forced to sit further back and assist his defence. The striker-for-a-defender switch didn’t really make Feyenoord any more potent up front, however.
The only chance for the visitors in the second half fell to Kuyt as late as the eighty-seventh minute. Feyenoord’s top-scorer redirected Song’s cross towards the home goal, but De Vries pushed the ball over.
There was time for Den Ouden to threaten again, but Lodewijks was able to pull off a fine reflex save. That kept the score down, but Feyenoord can scarcely be proud of keeping the score down.
ADO Den Haag-Feyenoord 2-0 (1-0)
2’ Den Ouden (1-0)
63’ Polak (2-0)
ADO Den Haag: De Vries; Swerts, Saeijs, Grujic, El-Akchaoui; Bodde, Van der
Leegte, Polak; Smith, Den Ouden, Van der Gun.
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Song, Gyan (67’ Buffel), Saidi (9’ Zuiverloon),
Mtiliga; Castelen, Bosschaart, Ono (45’ Magrao), Goor; Kalou, Kuyt.
Referee: R. Luinge
Yellow: Bodde, Zuiverloon