A late offside goal ruined Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first game as a head coach with Heerenveen beating Feyenoord 1-0 in the first leg of their European play-off semi-final.

van bronck fey coaAfter the heavy defeat to PEC Zwolle on Sunday saw Feyenoord finish fourth, Fred Rutten was sacked as head coach a few months before he was set to leave, with Giovanni van Bronckhorst thrown into his coaching debut earlier than expected. The former Feyenoord defender spoke of the importance of Feyenoord qualifying for Europe next season, but he will have to inspire his side to come from behind in the second leg after a late Simon Thern goal settled the first tie in Heerenveen’s favour at the Abe Lenstra Stadion.

It was Heerenveen who got off to a fast start, and after only five minutes Mark Uth sent Luciano Slagveer through on goal, but the in-form winger could only fire straight at Kenneth Vermeer. However as the first half wore on Feyenoord took control, with Sven van Beek seeing a header cleared off the line, while Jens Toornstra’s free kick was deflected over, and Colin Kazim Richards failed to connect with a header yards from goal.

In the second half Feyenoord continued to dominate possession, but chances were few and far between with Toornstra’s free kick which curled past the post the closest they came to scoring.

In the end it was a controversial goal which settled the tie seven minutes before the end. A free kick curled into the box was headed across the face of goal by Henk Veerman, and Thern was on hand to nod into the net from close range, but replays showed the midfielder was offside.

The two sides will meet again on Sunday at De Kuip with Feyenoord needing a big performance if they are to face either PEC Zwolle or Vitesse for a place in the Europa League.

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