Asked whether he could be congratulated after Saturday’s 2-1 win against AZ, Giovanni van Bronckhorst said that he would ...
The Rotterdammers were made to fight hard for all three Eredivisie points at De Kuip Sunday. The game long looked to be heading for stalemate, but in the end it was the usual suspects who pulled the win from the jaws of a moral defeat. Dirk Kuyt opened the scoring, only to see NEC grab an unexpected equaliser before the break. And the home fans were forced to wait until the eight-fourth minute before Salomon Kalou grabbed his second match-winner of the week.
There was a sluggish opening to the match despite the attacking aspirations of Ruud Gullit's side. Things weren't helped by a five-man green-and-red rearguard action as the visitors set their defensive stall out from the first minute.
As a result, it took Feyenoord twenty minutes to set up a noteworthy attack, but there was instant payback. Saidi's cross was diverted ever so slightly by Kalou to land at the feet of top-scorer Dirk Kuyt, who drove home from inside the box.
The crowd must have thought their cheers would open the floodgates. But that didn't materialise. Goor and Ono did have chances, but Feyenoord were unable to menace the NEC goal. The visitors on the other hand started to venture into the Feyenoord half once or twice, although they were no more than isolated incidents.
But nothing ventured, nothing gained is not a proverb for nothing. Edgar Barreto wasn't even that far inside the home half when he had a pop from 35 metres, but that didn't stop the ball from flying into the top corner with Lodewijks all but an onlooker.
The keeper must wonder how he could be thwarted by such a speculative effort not long after keeping out a more conventional shot by Boutahar.
Indeed, the Nijmegen outfit could have gone in for tea and jaffa cakes with a lead to savour if things had gone their way in stoppage time, not once but twice. First Van Wisgerhof had a header well saved by Lodewijks, and then Baretto rifled one against the bar. Needless to say, the home crowd weren't charmed by the good fortune, showing their dissatisfaction at the half-time whistle with a chorus of whistles of their own.
After the turnaround, Gullit wasted little time bringing on Brazilian Magrão for Pascal Bosschaart and the Rotterdammers almost grabbed the lead soon after, when Ghaly's header rebounded off the bar.
Kalou was the next Feyenoorder to go close, running from inside his own half, before unleashing a shot that whooshed wide.
Gullit threw on Buffel with just under twenty to go in the hunt for the breakthrough, with Castelen making way. The Belgian might have repaid the compliment within a couple of minutes, but his close-range effort skimmed the wrong side of the bar.
But the Maassiders were not to be denied and it was a goal signed, sealed and delivered by Salomon Kalou that snatched all the points after a mix-up in the Nijmegen defence.
Both Ono and Kalou had chances in the final five to extend the lead, but there was no further scoring.
Feyenoord-NEC 2-1 (1-1)
19' 1-0 Kuyt
42' 1-1 Barreto
84' 2-1 Kalou
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Saidi, Paauwe, Mtiliga; Castelen (72' Buffel), Ghaly, Bosschaart (52' Magrão), Ono (88' Gyan), Goor; Kalou, Kuyt.
NEC: Gentenaar; Nalbantoglu, Pothuizen (32' Leiwakabassy), Wielaert, Wisgerhof, Valencia; Van der Doelen, Barreto, Tininho; Boutahar, Niedzielan (70' Denneboom).
Referee: R. Wiedemeijer
Yellow: Valencia, Wisgerhof, Mtiliga, Magrão