The young striker could hardly contain himself after netting the decisive strike, pulling his shirt off over his head, before being buried in a pile of delighted team-mates. The explosion of joy was unsurprising, give that Feyenoord appeared to be on course to drop two more Eredivisie points against the ten men of FC Emmen.
The visitors clearly deserved the victory, but they certainly had to work hard for it. Not for the first time this season, Feyenoord conceded an early goal. There would have been a familiar sinking feeling in the stomach of many a fan when referee Bjorn Kuipers awarded a penalty against Feyenoord after just three minutes. But unlike the contentious decisions of the man in the middle three days earlier in the Europa League, Kuipers’ verdict looked to be bang on after Nick Marsman hauled down Michael de Leeuw in the box. Anco Jansen made no mistake from the spot to give the hosts an early lead.
It was an unfortunate start to Marsman’s first competitive match of the season between the sticks. Advocaat had handed the keeper the gloves after incumbent Justin Bijlow failed to recover in time after his midweek exertions. Marsman deserved less censure for the hosts’ second goal, five minutes after the break, however. He was quite a way out of his goal, but the long-distance volley by De Leeuw that caught him out was sensational.
There was plenty of action at the Oude Meerdijk between those two home goals, mind. The bad news came first, Berghuis hobbled off on 35 minutes to add to Advocaat’s injury woes. But the tide turned slightly within a minute, when the hosts were reduced to ten men. Jansen took out Diemers with a rash challenge that had Kuipers immediately reaching for a red card. And the good news came not long after, when Diemers equalised from a penalty awarded for a foul on substitute Bannis.
After De Leeuw’s jaw-dropping effort, Feyenoord managed to haul themselves level just ahead of half time. Jens Toornstra scored with a diagonal drive. It meant the visitors had 45 minutes to make the most of their extra man and secure all three points. They certainly created enough chances, with the biggest falling to Luciano Narsingh, Bart Nieuwkoop (both of whom hit the bar) and Bannis. With the clock inexorably ticking down, Lutsharel Geertruida pumped in a last-gasp cross that Bannis managed to direct into the net with his head. The players’ exuberant celebrations showed just how heavy the previous four defeats had weighed on their shoulders.
Feyenoord go again on Thursday night as the season rumbles on relentlessly. CSKA Moscow provide the opposition at De Kuip in the third Europa League Group K match of the campaign, kick-off 21:00 CET.
- Naoufal Bannis
- Steven Berghuis