With hindsight, the writing was on the wall from the off. Home coach De Haan started with five defenders. That combined with Feyenoord’s inability to get its passing up to scratch meant that this fixture had goalless draw written all over it.
And yet Heerenveen took an unexpected lead on the back of some chaotic Feyenoord play. Zoetebier could only palm an Edman free kick into the path of Sibon, who appeared to stumble onto the ball, sending it spiralling into the empty net.
The goal rocked the visitors, who surrendered more and more possession to the Frisians. That said, Dirk Kuyt did have a great chance to score, but his shot was deflected just past the post.
As the half progressed the game reverted to the cat and mouse of the opening phase, with little in the way of goal-scoring opportunities. Lazovic was booked for an overzealous challenge on keeper Vonk and that was just about the most exciting thing that happened in the first half apart from the goal.
No doubt coach Bert van Marwijk shared his views on the first-half performance with his team at the break, because Feyenoord started on the second half with more gusto. They even created chances, but finishing wasn’t the visitors’ strongest card in the Abe Lenstra stadium and both Van Wonderen and Buffel were unable to generate much power in their shots.
The biggest threat came from the foot of Robin van Persie, whose free kick from just outside the penalty area was beaten out by Vonk.
Heerenveen did little in the way of attacking, chiselling out a first chance of the second forty-five twenty minutes in. The Greek Samaras ate up half the pitch to bear down on Zoetebier, but Paauwe timed his interception with aplomb to whip the ball from the youngster’s grasp at the last moment.
Feyenoord finished the stronger of the two, with Dirk Kuyt twice close to the equaliser. The first was a corner that he headed just over, while his second effort within sixty seconds was cleared off the line.
In the end, the visitors left pointless, but really neither side deserved much out of a fairly dour affair.
SC HEERENVEEN-FEYENOORD 1-0 (1-0)
Vonk; Edman, Hansson, Radomski, Seip, De Lange (67’); Selakovic, Väyrynen, Correia (62’); Knopper, Sibon (90’)
Zoetebier; Song, Van den Berg, Paauwe, De Nooijer; Kuyt, Schreuder, Van Wonderen, Van Persie (76’); Buffel, Lazovic (69’)
Lazovic, Van Persie, Van den Berg, Schreuder (Feyenoord), Väyrynen (Heerenveen)