Feyenoord win Golden TOTO KNVB Cup!
AZ were beaten 3-0 at De Kuip on Sunday, as Feyenoord triumphed in the hundredth final of the TOTO KNVB Cup. Nicolai Jørgensen, Robin van Persie and Jens Toornstra scored the goals that secured a second cup win in three seasons for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side.
Both sides showed plenty of passion straight from the kick off under the watchful eye of referee Kuipers. With seven yellow cards in the opening half an hour or so, the tie was more tense than attractive. The first big chance fell to AZ, with Alireza Jahanbakhsh testing Feyenoord keeper Brad Jones on 18 minutes. The Aussie parried the initial effort, with Jonas Svensson’s follow up shot blocked to keep the sides level.
Nicolai Jørgensen showed his sharpness at the other end ten minutes later. The Dane timed his pass perfectly to find Karim El Ahmadi. The club captain crossed to Steven Berghuis, whose header was repelled by AZ keeper Marco Bizot, but Jørgensen was in the right place at the right time to smashed in the opener.
Feyenoord had not exactly been banging on the door, but the goal released a lot of emotion in the stands. The crowd was still simmering five minutes later when Robin van Persie hit the bar with a dainty chip – as it turned out from an offside position.
Feyenoord went close again before the break. Tonny Vilhena let rip with a thunderbolt that Bizot did well to tip over. But AZ reminded their opponents that they were in a game not long after the turnaround. Wout Weghorst managed to put his effort wide. Feyenoord responded through Jørgensen, who just missed the target.
Van Persie had his eye in on 58 minutes, though. Playing as an attacking midfielder, he combined well with Berghuis, whose perfectly weighted pass allowed the Dutch master to chip the ball sublimely over Bizot and into the net to double Feyenoord’s lead. Fifteen years after losing the 2003 KNVB Cup final, Van Persie had put his team in the driving seat to win the 2018 edition.
AZ tried to force their way back into the game and did look dangerous, but the Feyenoord defence were well organised and a tad fortunate at times. Not least when Stijn Wuytens failed to poke the ball over the line from little more than a metre out on 64 minutes. The AZ defender saw his effort come to naught as Feyenoord managed to boot the ball clear after a melee.
The same thing happened to Jørgensen in the final five minutes, when the Dane lobbed Bizot from way out. The striker thought he had his second of the evening, but Thomas Ouwejan cleared in the nick of time.
But the hosts had enough of a cushion not to have to rue the spurned chance. AZ kept on plugging away, but with Jones in fine form, Feyenoord were rarely troubled.
Fourth trophy in three years
Head coach Van Bronckhorst’s side even managed to extend their lead in injury time. Jens Toornstra was perfectly positioned to slap in a rebound with Bizot clutching at air.
The referee’s final whistle confirmed Feyenoord as the winners of the 2018 TOTO KNVB Cup, their fourth trophy in three seasons, after the KNVB Cup in 2016, the Eredivisie title in 2017 and the Johan Cruijff Shield in August 2017.