THE HAGUE, Netherlands – After PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet made the save, he made a costly mistake.
Zoet saved a close-range header from Feyenoord defender Jan-Arie van der Heijden, but after holding the ball up on the goal-line, he inexplicably dragged the ball back into his arms and into the goal, across the line by a hair's breadth. A screen on referee Bas Nijhuis' wrist lit up.
Nijhuis looked down, saw the word "goal" flashing on the screen and awarded the Dutch league leaders the winning score in a 2-1 victory. Sunday's result took Feyenoord a step closer to its first league title since 1999 and likely ended two-time defending champion PSV's title aspirations.
"I did everything I could to prevent the ball crossing the line," Zoet told PSV TV. "According to the system, it was one millimeter over the line."
PSV may not have been happy with the 82nd-minute decision, but Dutch soccer authorities testing technological help for referees were.
"Everybody benefits if football becomes more honest and refereeing decisions are accurate," Dutch soccer association spokesman Bas Ticheler said Monday. "Truth is the winner."
Protesting PSV players surrounded Nijhuis after he awarded the goal, but later accepted the decision and said they should have done more to win a match that was likely the last gasp in a faltering title defense. PSV is now in third place, 11 points behind Feyenoord with 10 matches to play. Ajax is second, five points behind.
Compounding PSV's misery was the fact that Feyenoord's De Kuip Stadium is the only Dutch ground with goal-line technology in the second half of the season. Before the winter break, the cameras were at Ajax's Amsterdam Arena.
There have been other goals awarded by the technology in the Netherlands, but none at such a crucial stage in such a high-profile match.
"Luckily we have goal-line technology," Van der Heijden said. "A goal is a goal. Technology doesn't lie."