With so many regulars unavailable coach Bert van Marwijk was forced to mix things up for the Friday night fixture. Chris Gyan started on the right of defence, as Brett Emerton moved up to cover for the suspended Paul Bosvelt. The result was yet another fine performance for the Aussie in his preferred role in midfield.
Feyenoord took some time to get up to speed and although they soon had the match under control, the away team were unable to create too much in front of goal early on. More often than not indeed, it was the final pass that let the visitors down.
No surprise then that Feyenoord’s opener came from a dead ball situation. With 23 minutes on the clock Leonardo was hauled to the ground by Fortuna defender Dirkx and with the ball perfectly positioned the Pavlov effect kicked in. As the Feyenoord supporters put their hands up in the air, the new darling of the Dutch hit parade Van Hooijdonk stepped up and calmly dispatched an unstoppable drive past ex-Barcelona keeper Ruud Hesp, for his 24th league goal of the campaign.
It looked like curtains for Fortuna, but the expected goal flood never came. Elmander did drag his shot wide when he might have hit the target, but it was the home side who got the second goal in the match when, camouflaged by Van Wonderen, Hamming found Zoetebier’s blind spot to score via the far post to send the teams in all square.
The second act started much as the first had ended, with Feyenoord lethargic and unimaginative, and only the arrival of fans’ favourite Igor Korneev brought some hope. Just on for Elmander, the Russian crossed from the right to find Van Hooijdonk, who in turn found Paauwe, and the international made no mistake with a first time stunner to leave Hesp beaten for the second and decisive time in the match.
Fortuna were doomed and Dirkx didn’t help them any ten minutes from the end by claiming a second yellow and an early shower. No doubt a cold one.
At the end one of the two teams that left field had been relegated while the other had one foot in the Champions League.
Fortuna Sittard-Feyenoord 1-2 (1-1)
24’ 0-1 Van Hooijdonk
63’ 1-2 Paauwe
Fortuna Sittard: Hesp; Emeran, Dirkx, Volmer, Hermans; Meszaros (80’ Averdijk), Haeldermans, Oliveira (60’ Simons), Hamming, Landerl, Gerritsen
Feyenoord: Zoetebier; Gyan,Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Rzasa; Elmander (62’ Korneev), Emerton, Ono, Leonardo (90’ Aros); Tomasson, Van Hooijdonk
Referee: R. Luinge
Red card: Dirkx (2xgeel)
Yellow card: Tomasson