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Feyenoord throw it all away in Heerenveen

Feyenoord were shunted out of the cup at the quarter-final stage on Wednesday night, but it could have – should have – all ended differently. Hosts sc Heerenveen scored three times in the last ten minutes to overturn Feyenoord’s 3-1 lead. The visitors played the final half hour with ten men after Steven Berghuis was shown his second yellow card of the contest.

For Feyenoord fans following the action, the main consequence of the dismissal of Berghuis was that he would miss the semi-final showdown with Ajax. Because with their side 3-1 up, the overriding feeling was that Feyenoord were strolling to victory. The captain had committed an unnecessary foul to earn himself a second yellow card of the evening.

The lead was seized in a three-goal blitz at the start of the second half after Feyenoord had trailed at the break. In between Nick Marsman also played his part, saving a penalty when the sides were level at 1-1.

The visitors seemed to lack energy in the first half and could not complain about going in at the break a goal down, with Rami Kaib netting for the hosts. The picture changed radically in the second 45. Feyenoord started to impose themselves and managed to string together some threatening attacking moves. The reward was tangible, with three goals coming within 15 minutes of the restart.

There was some fortunate surrounding Bryan Linssen’s equaliser as the striker was hit by Jens Toornstra’s shot, the ball ricocheting into the goal. The next two strikes were more composed. First Berghuis netted with a cool shot after a nice linkup with Linssen, before Lutsharel Geertruida extended the lead a couple of minutes later. He met Marcos Senesi’s cross with his head to seemingly put the outcome beyond doubt.

The problem was that it lulled Dick Advocaat’s side into a false sense of security. Rather than shutting it down and playing the percentages in the last ten minutes, Feyenoord gave sc Heerenveen the time and space to mount an unlikely comeback. The slide quickly became an avalanche. Nygren put the visitors’ nerves to the test with a second home goal, but it was a Siem de Jong double strike within the space of a few minutes that ultimately buried Feyenoord.

That ten-minute barrage at the Abe Lenstra Stadium denied a battered and bruised Feyenoord a place in the semi-final and the fastest route to European football as cup winners. The focus must now be on the Eredivisie, with the next match on Sunday, kick-off 12:15 CET, when Feyenoord line up in Enschede against FC Twente.
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