Feyenoord start league campaign with a bang
Feyenoord began the Eredivisie season with a big win at FC Groningen on Sunday. The Rotterdammers controlled the match at the Noordlease Stadium from start to finish, running out 5-0 winners. Eljero Elia grabbed most of the headlines, netting three times, with Tonny Vilhena and Nicolai Jørgensen contributing a goal each. The match also saw Steven Berghuis make his debut in Feyenoord colours.
The 1100 travelling Feyenoord fans showed their appreciation for Elia by chanting his name for several minutes after he grabbed his third goal of the afternoon on 56 minutes at the Noordlease Stadium. The strike gave Giovanni van Blonckhorst’s team an unassailable 4-0 lead in the first Eredivisie fixture of the new season. Truth be told, Feyenoord had played the hosts off the park up to that point and a home comeback already looked completely out of the question.
Feyenoord dominated from the first minute and scored three times in the opening forty-five. Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who selected Brad Jones in goal ahead of Pär Hansson, saw his side cut the home defence to ribbons down the flanks, testing keeper Sergio Padt on a number of occasions early on.
The first goal of the season eventually came on 19 minutes. Tonny Vilhena was in exactly the right place to sweep home when Elia’s shot deflected off the keeper’s legs into his path.
Elia then turned on the magic, netting three goals himself in a scintillating twenty-minute spell. The first, on 36 minutes, was a crisp drive that beat the keeper at the near post. The assist came from Jens Toornstra on the right. Then, on the stroke of halftime Elia bent a fine shot into the top corner after a one-two with Nicolai Jørgensen.
The hosts almost got themselves back in the game straight after the restart, but Elia silenced the home crowd when he rattled in his third after Vilhena’s blocked shot fell to his feet. The striker even had time to miss an open goal not long after before being substituted.
Once it was clear that the three points were in the bag, Feyenoord took their foot off the pedal a little, which gave Jones the chance to show off his moves. The Australian keeper had been forced into action just once in the first half, but he kept his concentration well to pull off a couple of good saves.
The visitors also had opportunities to extend their lead at the other end and the fifth goal finally came on 83 minutes. Nicolai Jørgensen had been unlucky on a number of occasions in the course of the afternoon, but this time the Dane netted off the underside of the bar to claim his first competitive goal for his new club.
By that time Steven Berghuis had come on for his debut. The winger, who had only signed on loan from Watford six days earlier, replaced Dirk Kuyt on 74 minutes and immediately showed why Feyenoord had brought him in. It would have pleased Van Bronckhorst, who otherwise could not have hoped for a better start to the new season.