Feyenoord get back on track in Alkmaar
Feyenoord got back to winning ways against AZ on Sunday. After two successive defeats in the Eredivisie the Rotterdammers earned an emphatic 4-0 win in Alkmaar. Steven Berghuis was the main mover and shaker with two goals and an assist. Sam Larsson and Tonny Vilhena were the other scorers in a dominant display.
Four defeats in the last five matches, including the Champions League, had left Feyenoord under pressure, but Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side were focused from the off and very effective at the AFAS Stadium.
The first serious effort of the afternoon put them ahead after just 11 minutes. The visitors broke fast and with a touch of fortune the ball came to Steven Berghuis. The striker smashed in a shot that bounced over the line after hitting the underside of the bar. Tonny Vilhena made sure, but the referee gave the goal anyway.
One became two six minutes later. Sam Larsson broke alone before pulling the trigger, claiming a goal in his first Eredivisie start. The Swede had made space for himself to run in from the flank by turning away from his man, just as Van Bronckhorst had hoped would happen in his system with three mobile attackers Larsson, Berghuis and Jean-Paul Boëtius.
The coach had also made a change at the back, bringing in Sofyan Ambrat for Kevin Diks on the right side of defence, with Renato Tapia and Jeremiah St. Juste again starting in the centre. They generally performed well, although Brad was called into action not long after Feyenoord’s opener when Guus Til exploited a gap between them.
Two goals to the good, the visitors looked fairly comfortable in the rest of the first half, even adding a third goal just before the break. Berghuis was gifted possession by Dries Wuytens, finishing coolly to put Feyenoord 3-0 up.
That score line that mirrored the one at half time in Almelo a few weeks ago. That time Feyenoord allowed Heracles to fight their way back into the match with two second half goals. The visitors were less munificent in Alkmaar though, wrapping up the game within a quarter of an hour of the second half. Man of the match Berghuis dribbled his way through the AZ defence before serving the ball up on a plate to Tonny Vilhena to finish.
There might have been more goals for Feyenoord in the final half an hour, but as the clock ticked on the visitors appeared to lose their sharpness. First Berghuis spurned a chance to grab his third of the afternoon. Then Boëtius saw his shot drift wide.
Even so, Van Bronckhorst made for the dressing room very satisfied with the resilience shown by his team in ending such a disappointing run.
After seven rounds Feyenoord are three points behind leaders PSV and the coach will welcome the breathing pace afforded by the coming international break as Nicolai Jorgensen, Sven van Beek and Bart Nieuwkoop work their way back to fitness.