‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord travel up the road to The Hague Sunday where ADO Den Haag will constitute the Rotterdammers last opponents of 2004. With the winter break just around the corner the Rotterdammers will be desperate to take all the points at Zuiderpark stadium after a run of middling results. Coach Gullit for one realises the need to keep there or thereabouts in the league going into the month-long layoff. ‘The match against FC Basel I took seriously, but the match against ADO is the most important.’
Coach Gullit emphasised the importance of the match for his side by resting a number of key players when Feyenoord travelled to Switzerland during the week. Hossam Ghaly, Shinji Ono and Karim Saidi all remained in Rotterdam, while Romeo Castelen (hamstring) and Bart Goor (ingrown toenail) ultimately didn’t take any part in the match.
Sure, Gullit wanted to come back home with a good result against FC Basel, but not at any price. And his gambit paid off – despite a single-goal defeat Feyenoord progressed to the next stage of the Uefa Cup as Group A winners.
The absence of so many regulars will have helped Gullit gain a better understanding of the strength in depth of the squad and Gerson Magrão will not have disappointed him. Ebi Smolarek and Thomas Buffel also put in fine performances, as did newcomer Wouter Artz.
The 19-year-old was given his debut after Patrick Paauwe was forced off with some nasty swelling after getting a knee in the thigh and Paauwe may be missing Sunday too, although Gullit is unlikely to know for surely until the morning of the match. If the captain is ruled out then Glenn Loovens and Karim Saidi are bankers to form the central defensive duo.
Otherwise Gullit looks likely to make two changes to the team that drew against PSV. A midfield of Hossam Ghaly, Pascal Bosschaart and Shinji Ono didn’t perform as well as could be hoped a wekk ago and Ghaly was hauled off after a half-hour in favour of Romeo Castelen. So this time Castelen looks a good bet to start, which will be a boost to a player who was an ADO regular only last season. Patrick Mtiliga is also set for a return after Bruno Basto got the nod ahead of him against the league leaders. The Portuguese didn’t live up to expectations and lost his place to the Dane midweek in Basle, when Mtiliga did well.
Holland Casino Eredivisie
ADO DEN HAAG - FEYENOORD
Sunday 19 December
Zuiderpark, The Hague
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Song, Saidi, Paauwe (Loovens), Mtiliga; Castelen, Ono, Bosschaart, Goor; Kuyt, Kalou.
ADO Den Haag: De Vries; Rijaard (Swerts), Saeijs, Grujic (Saavedra), El Akchaoui; Swerts (Bodde), Van der Leegte, Polak; Smith, Van der Gun, Den Ouden
LAST TEN ENCOUNTERS
(15-02-2004) ADO Den Haag-Feyenoord 2 - 2
(13-10-1991) FC Den Haag-Feyenoord 1 - 4
(05-05-1991) FC Den Haag Feyenoord 0 - 2
(08-04-1990) FC Den Haag-Feyenoord 2 - 0
(03-05-1988) FC Den Haag-Feyenoord 2 - 2
(07-12-2003) Feyenoord-ADO Den Haag 4 - 1
(12-01-1992) Feyenoord-FC Den Haag 3 - 0
(25-11-1990) Feyenoord-FC Den Haag 0 - 2
(01-11-1989) Feyenoord-FC Den Haag 0 - 2
(04-04-1988) Feyenoord-FC Den Haag 3 - 1