The game started sluggishly, which is perhaps no surprise considering the early kick-off, with both sides looking shaky. Feyenoord missed the steadying influence of Alfred Schreuder in midfield, as Shinji Ono lined up alongside Hossam Ghaly in the engine room.
The first chance fell the way of the home side. Wilfred Bouma had two attempts to put the ball into the net, but failed on both counts. Indeed, while PSV had a little better of the play in the opening fifteen, it was Feyenoord who ultimately grabbed the lead.
The goal came out of a huge gaffe in the PSV defence. Kasper Bogelund misjudged an incoming ball and Thomas Buffel nicked in and accelerated away towards Ronald Waterreus’s goal. The Belgian was unable to outmanoeuvre the oncoming keeper, but the rebound landed at the feet of Ebi Smolarek, who netted Feyenoord’s 3500th goal in professional football from the edge of the box.
The goal intensified the pressure on the PSV defence. With a little more care the visitors might have wrapped up the win in the first half. But a lack of punctiliousness in their passing wrecked any aspirations of a second goal for Feyenoord.
Shinji Ono picked up a yellow card on 27 minutes for a foul on Van Bommel and Patrick Paauwe joined him in the referee’s little black book just ahead of the break after charging the same player.
That second booking came after Dirk Kuyt had spurned a gigantic opportunity to double Feyenoord’s lead, failing to beat Waterreus although the keeper was stranded far from his goal.
Feyenoord’s performance was not great – the percentage of completed passes was two low for that – but there was no lack of commitment from the visitors. Every challenge was full blooded and the four forwards covered an immense amount of ground. At the back, Patrick Lodewijks put in a top-shelf performance at his old haunting ground and Feyenoord clearly grew in confidence as the clock ticked down.
They were in danger of letting the home team come at them and defending too deep however. That meant that the ball ended up in the Feyenoord penalty area a little too often and the only salvation was a complete lack of sharpness from the Eindhoven outfit. Not least on 64, when John de Jong found himself in space with only Lodewijks to beat, only to steer his effort the wrong side of the post.
Guus Hiddink threw on Ernest Faber and pushed up Wilfred Bouma as PSV looked for the breakthrough and with twelve minutes to go the home side crafted its biggest chance, but Patrick Lodewijks’s reflex save kept out Mark van Bommel’s drive.
It was a sign for Bert van Marwijk to bring in Danko Lazovic for the no longer so energetic Thomas Buffel, in the hope of relieving the pressure on the Feyenoord goal. Robin van Persie joined the fight on 84, taking over from Anthony Lurling.
The final moments of the game were helter-skelter with even keeper Waterreus running upfield to add some attacking clout as injury time kicked in. But the Feyenoord defence was not to be broken and the Rotterdammers left Eindhoven with three points yet again.
PSV-Feyenoord 0-1 (0-1)
0-1 Smolarek (12’)
Waterreus; Bogelund, Hofland (Addo, 82’), Bouma, Lee; Lucius (Vonlanthen, 44’), Van Bommel, Van der Schaaf (Faber, 67’); Park, Vennegoor of Hesselink, De Jong
Lodewijks; Song, Van den Berg, Paauwe, Mtiliga; Smolarek, Ghaly, Ono, Lurling (Van Persie, 84’); Kuyt, Buffel (Lazovic, 79’)
Referee: D. Jol
Yellows: Ono (27’), Paauwe (45’)