ADO Den Haag only had the short trip to Rotterdam to play in the first round of the KNVB Beker (Cup) against reigning league champions Feyenoord in De Kuip. ADO had a noisy following in the stadium to back them and they certainly made themselves heard and after last Sunday’s point at home to Ajax, they had every reason to be confident.

ADO set themselves up as a solid defensive unit, yet also made plenty of effort in going forward. ADO actually had the best goal scoring opportunities in the first half.  Elson Hooi had the first chance in the tenth minute, but the ball wouldn’t sit up for a decent strike.

In the twenty third minute, ADO should have taken the lead. The ball came into the box to Bjørn Johnsen, he had time to place the shot anywhere in the goal, yet his shot went way wide of the target. The Norwegian had another great chance in the fortieth minute, again his effort was wasted.

Just before the break, Feyenoord broke free. Former ADO striker Michiel Kramer had the home sides best chance. His header forcing the up until then quiet Robert Zwinkels into action, meaning the half ended goalless.

The second half was evenly matched, entertaining end to end football. Just on the hour mark Kramer went close again. The game opened up and Johnsen had yet another great chance to put ADO in front, again his finishing was wasteful.

The misses were to be paid for as ADO went behind in the seventy third minute. Steven Berghuis got space and time to fire a shot into the corner of the net, 1-0. This ignited the home crowd, that up until then had been out sung by ADO’s traveling support.

With fifteen minutes remaining ADO were awarded a free-kick. It was brilliantly taken by Nasser El Khayati, the ball hitting the frame of the goal. The tackling was hard but fair as ADO fought to get level.

The game was finally balanced, but with eight minutes remaining ADO suffered a huge set back. Donny Gorter blocked a goal bound shot with his hand and was shown a straight red card. The resulting penalty was converted by Kramer, 2-0.

That was it game over, not a single minute of added time was played. ADO had been strong in all departments apart from the final finishing touch. On another night, Johnsen would have had a hattrick. The players went across to their fans and were given a great send off following a brave display.

ADO Den Haag’s next home game is on Saturday 23rd September at 20:45 against Sparta Rotterdam. A club card is not needed for this game. Just take a form of photo ID for each person wanting a ticket to the stadium ticket window on the night of the game.

Text & photos by Neal McClimon of ADOforExpats.com