Despite the result, it seemed in the first twenty minutes that it was going to be a piece of cake, with the Rotterdammers causing trouble twice within a minute. First Pardo danced cleanly into space into the box, and a few moments later a scorching Pierre van Hooijdonk strike was only just turned by keeper Aerts for a corner. In the sixth minute, Van Hooijdonk, who once started for RBC, had another chance with a flowing combination between Van Wonderen and Buffel leading to a clear shot for Pierre. The tall striker was apparently surprised by the room he had been given though and put the ball straight into the keeper’s arms.
Feyenoord had almost 90% possession in the first half and was able to show some classic combinations right up to the area. Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalise. It was not until the 28th minute that the team from Rotterdam took the lead with Van Hooijdonk heading on to Emerton who put the ball in the path of Buffel, who in turn finished it off in a scrum in front of goal for 1-0.
It should have been the beginning of the end for RBC. But with Peter Maseland taking over for the injured Pascal Heije thereby giving RBC greater domination in midfield, and two chances for Sander Keller, there should have been enough warning for Feyenoord. But the signs went by unheeded. A minute before the half-time whistle, the fourth corner of the match, and Feyenoord was presented with the bill. Nordin Wooter placed the ball on Nascimento’s head leaving Zoetebier without a chance: 1-1.
Bert van Marwijk took action in the break, taking off Sebastián Pardo, this time not performing as he should physically and brought on Anthony Lurling instead. But it wasn’t enough as after five minutes, RBC even took the lead. Henk Vos sent former Excelsior player Geert den Ouden deep who passed Edwin Zoetebier with a beautiful lob. Feyenoord was trailing in the competition for the first time this season.
The Rotterdammers didn’t deal with it well. Although the ball drifted towards Aerts a few times, there wasn’t a lot of pressure. RBC seemed to grow wings though and after an hour was rewarded for their efforts as Vos went it alone through the Feyenoord defence, fired off a shot that with a little luck and a diversion ended up in the top left corner; 3-1.
In a final ditch to turn the tide Van Marwijk brought on Tomasz Rzasa and Chong-Gug Song in attack instead of Kalou en Bombardo. With just half an hour of playing time left, they had the unenviable task of reversing Feyenoord’s fortunes. The first major chance was for RBC again though with Geert den Oude almost putting the Roosendaal team ahead 4-1 in the 71st minute. It didn’t hit rock-bottom though, because even in the darkest times, Feyenoord can rely on Pierre van Hooijdonk and his specialty. With Paul Bosvelt floored by Bike Oliseh just outside the area, Van Hooijdonk was able to take aim in the A1 position. He curved the ball as beautifully as ever and with over 17 minutes to go, Feyenoord’s deficit was down to 3-2.
RBC were now on shaky ground, although the Roosendaal offensives remained dangerous. At least Van Hooijdonk, Kalou and Ono had chances. Almost level nine minutes before time Van Hooijdonk had the chance to level it all but was unable to reap the reward Feyenoord so wanted from a free kick. To close, the Rotterdammers were unable to force anything else and in the last minute a counter by RBC via Björn Daelemans even led to a deserved fourth. In doing so, Feyenoord not only let three important points slip through their fingers, but also lost touch with PSV en Ajax. And the all- important energy that three days before a Champions League game they would be better off preserving.
RBC-FEYENOORD - (0-1)
Referee: Dick Jol
Yellow card: Oliseh
0-1 Buffel (28’)
1-1 Nascimento (44th)
2-1 Den Ouden (50th)
3-1 Vos (59th)
3-2 Van Hooijdonk (74th)
4-2 Daelemans (90th)
Aerts; Keller, Nascimento, Oliseh, Fleur; Heije (31’ Maseland), Tininho, De
Graaf; Wooter (87’ Daelemans), Vos and Den Ouden (81’ Piqué)
Zoetebier; Emerton, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Rzasa (61’ Bombarda); Song (61’
Kalou), Bosvelt, Ono, Pardo (45’ Lurling); Buffel and Van Hooijdonk