The big question going into the game was what effect the calamitous last ten minutes in Groningen that saw Feyenoord dumped out of the cup would have. With that in mind, Dick Advocaat’s decision to make three changes to his starting line-up was not unexpected. The head coach brought in Bart Nieuwkoop, Uros Spajic and Orkun Kökcü.
In spite of the shake-up Feyenoord soon found themselves staring down the barrel. By the quarter-hour mark the hosts had raced into a two-goal lead and it was more due to defensive frailties than offensive prowess. First, sluggishness at the back led to a penalty when Marcos Senesi fouled Luciano Narsingh. Danilo stepped up to convert the spot kick. Within a minute Tyronne Ebuehi had beaten Nick Marsman to double the hosts’ lead.
The visitors somehow managed to get themselves back in the contest midway through the first half, Jens Toornstra netting with a hard shot. But otherwise, Feyenoord were just too sloppy in possession to put any real pressure on the home side and the half ended without further incident.
That narrative continued after the break, with Feyenoord seemingly unable to generate much of a threat. At least until the hosts gifted them an opportunity. The referee blew for a foul on Luis Sinisterra in the box and pointed to the spot. Steven Berghuis showed composure to net the penalty and bring Feyenoord back level.
The visitors were fully aware that it could have all gone so differently. Before the spot kick conversion Narsingh, on load to FC Twente from Feyenoord, spurned two huge chances to give his adopted side a two-goal cushion. First he was denied by Marsman, then by Senesi.At 2-2 Feyenoord started perhaps to believe that they could get even more, with the hosts looking to be running out of juice. But that final blitz never really came. And considering the match as a whole, a winning goal for Feyenoord was probably asking for too much. It left Feyenoord having to make do with a point and perhaps set on putting the record straight, as they return to Groningen on Wednesday, this time in the Eredivisie.
- Steven Berghuis