Van Hooijdonk's finest hour

As the party raged on the Kuip pitch after the last (successful) kick of Thursday’s cup thriller, out of the blue Pierre van Hooijdonk was overwhelmed by a much deeper emotion. His face contorted and his hands shielded his face as tears started to run over the cheeks of Feyenoord’s biggest hero of the evening. 'I suddenly realised how special it all was,’ 'Pi-Air' explained the day after the night before. ‘The semifinal of the UEFA Cup...that is really a unique performance.’ (VIDEO)

The Feyenoord TV database is certainly a good few clips richer after Thursday’s gargantuan efforts. Like so often this season it was Pierre van Hooijdonk who was behind the decisive moments in the game. This time he came up with something very special when, after the initial explosion of joy, he was overmastered by his emotions as he ran to join his teammates after the final penalty. The otherwise so imperturbable goalgetter, who seems predestined to shoot Feyenoord to a trophy, covered his face with his hands as the tears started to roll down his cheeks. ‘It just sort of caught me unawares,’ Van Hooijdonk explained Friday. ‘Suddenly I realised how special what we had achieved together was. The semifinal of the UEFA Cup...that is really a unique performance. And I’m already 32, so the chances of me achieving it again are pretty small. This is a highlight in my career and that suddenly went through my mind.' The fact that Van Hooijdonk was the one to strike the decisive penalty past Ronald Waterreus obviously contributed to the striker’s emotional reaction. ‘Absolutely, it’s something special, just like the whole way we all fought to reach the semi is enormously appealing to the imagination. When you take a 1-0 lead after 2 minutes and then coolly play out the rest of the game, it feels a lot different. But like that, a goal in injury time and then penalties… it’s worth a few tears.'
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