DREAM ENDS IN TILBURG

A fourteenth successive win proved too big an ask Sunday, as Feyenoord could only salvage a point against Willem II. James Quinn put the home side a goal to the good on 6 minutes and despite a Bonaventure equaliser in the second half, the Rotterdammers were unable to secure the win they needed to keep the pressure up on second place Ajax. The reality is that Champions League is now out of reach.

The game didn’t start brightly for the visitors and Willem II took the lead on only 6 minutes, when the Irishman Quinn slotted home a Denny Landzaat cross from close range with his head. It was the worst possible opening for Feyenoord. Indeed, the rest of the first forty-five were pretty uninspiring as only Van Hooijdonk and Kike Acuña really earned their tea and oranges. It wasn’t until twenty minutes in that Sebastián Pardo received from Van Hooijdonk out on the right and volleyed a shot in that beat keeper De Vlieger, but not Joris Mathijsen on the line. Another twenty minutes passed before the next Feyenoord chance came. Buffel ran into space, before laying off to the incoming Bosvelt, who shot wide and the teams went in at the break with Willem II a goal to the good. Willem II came out all guns blazing in the second period. Both Quinn and Ceesay should have netted within minutes of the restart. Bert van Marwijk decided the best thing he could do was send on Mariano Bombarda and Chong-Gug Song to try and get a grip on the game. Song went to rightback as Emerton moved up to midfield in the hope of generating more pressure in the opponent’s half of the pitch. The Argentinian replaced Sebastián Pardo and raced up front to partner Pierre van Hooijdonk. Bombarda almost brought his old club down on 75 minutes when he shut from the wedge of the box, but De Vlieger parried. Yet the equaliser came with sixty seconds, as Bonaventure Kalou swept a loose ball into the net from inside the box. A minute after that it was almost 1-2 as Kalou skinned Mathijsen and crossed towards Van Hooijdonk, who hit the bar. The move was the signal for Feyenoord to raise the heat. Kalou (again) had the best chance, when Buffel slipped him the ball, but the Ivorian failed to find the target even though the goal was gaping. Willem II were always a threat for Feyenoord, with a number of chances coming to the home side, but the irrepressible Patrick Lodewijks was in fantastic form. The game exploded as the end neared and Feyenoord had to cope without Kees van Wonderen who hobbled off to be replaced by Glenn Loovens. But in the end the Rotterdammers were unable to force things up front and the game ended all square. Willem II – Feyenoord 1-1 (1-0) 1-0 Quinn (6') 1-1 Kalou (73') WILLEM II De Vlieger; Wau, Jaliens, Van Nieuwstadt (Janssens, 70'), Mathijsen; Landzaat, Victoria, Mariana (Caluwé, 76'); Ceesay, Quinn (Van der Gun, 82'), Sektioui FEYENOORD Lodewijks; Emerton, Van Wonderen (Loovens, 88'), Paauwe, Rzasa; Kalou, Bosvelt, Acuña (Song, 53'), Pardo (Bombarda, 60'); Buffel, Van Hooijdonk Referee: Ben Haverkort Yellow card: Mariana

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