Squeezed as it was between the double Dutch contest with PSV, the game was always going to be a tricky one for the Rotterdammers. Indeed, Den Bosch trainer Wiljan Vloet made no secret of the fact that he hoped to wear down the European quarterfinalists with relentless defence. A quarter of an hour in and it was clear that things might get frustrating for the home side. That wasn’t etched in stone by the way, because Van Hooijdonk may have blew the safe within sixty seconds, when he was only a centimetre or so from connecting with a fine Kalou cross.
The visitors barely crossed the halfway line as they took every opportunity to get eleven men behind the ball. Even so, Van Hooijdonk went close with a header and an Aros shot almost got past the sea of Den Bosch legs.
The Kuip erupted on twenty-five minutes however, when Van Hooijdonk rattled in a free kick from distance. Almost the whole ground rose to celebrate the breakthrough, only to realise that the ball had somehow stayed out.
The second half started much as the first as the Feyenoord legion got behind their team strongly. It was the source of inspiration to the home side, who piled on the pressure. The biggest chance fell to Emerton, whose shot looked destined for goal when keeper Mampaey somehow got a hand to it to keep it out.
The Rotterdammers continued to play at full speed and it looked as if Kalou had found the key to the lock when he jinxed past three players in the box, only to misdirect his shot. Then Paauwe shot from distance only to graze the bar. Would the breakthrough ever come, thought the crowd.
Thankfully there’s always Pierre. Just when it looked like it would never happen, Den Bosch conceded a free kick twenty meters out and Smash! Grab! the ball was in the net and the Legion were being led out of the desert.
It was the signal for Den Bosch to cave in and when Kalou dribbled past four men this time he made sure the ball ended up in the net for 2-0. In stoppage time Bosvelt was hauled down in the penalty area and Van Hooijdonk rammed home the third to send every football fan in the stadium home happy.
Feyenoord-FC Den Bosch 3-0 (0-0)
68’ 1-0 Van Hooijdonk
84’ 2-0 Kalou
90’ 3-0 Van Hooijdonk (pen)
Feyenoord: Zoetebier; Emerton, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Aros; Kalou, Bosvelt, Ono (84’ Korneev), Van Persie (60’ Leonardo); Tomasson, Van Hooijdonk
Mampaey; Faerber, Uneken, Van der Hoorn, Van Kapel; Moerad, Van de Laak, Michels, Dekkers; De Freitas (81’ Thijs), Van den Eede
Referee: Th. J. H. van Egmond
Yellow cards: Van Hooijdonk, Van den Ede