Feyenoord ease past PEC Zwolle
Feyenoord put an end to their three-match winless streak in the final twenty minutes.
The players were welcomed onto the pitch by a sea of lights onlighted thousands of twinkling stars in memory of Tonny Vilhema’s mother, who passed away three weeks ago, as the striker returned to action after missing two matches on compassionate leave.
The return of Vilhena was not the only change to the teampreferred ahead of Bilal Basaçikoglu and Steven Berghuis. Miquel Nelom replaced the injured Terence Kongolo.
Van Bronckhorst had warned that Feyenoord faced a toughexperience. He felt that Zwolle would play with five across the back and give Feyenoord no space to play. And that was how it panned out. The hosts had most of the ball, but played at too low a tempo and with too little creativity to trouble the visitors much.
The match was already 25 minutes old by the time Kuyt tested Zwolle keeper tipped a hard shot over the bar. Feyenoord went close with the two corners that followed. First Eric Botteghin looked about the head home only for the ball to be diverted by the hand of a Zwolle defender. Then Jørgensen saw his own header cleared off the line.
Kuyt got the crowd on its feet on 38 minutes, though. The captain got his head to a perfectly judged Jens Toornstra cross to claim his fifth goal of the season.
The hosts could have – should have – doubled their lead just ahead of the break. But Elia was denied by Van der Hart and Jørgensen headed wide from close range. Fortunately, Feyenoord did not end up rueing those misses, not least because Zwolle were generally unable to threaten the home goal. Bram van Polen spurned the one chance that the visitors did create, shooting wide.
The decisive second goal came with twenty minutes left on the clock. El Ahmadi was allowed to stride into the danger zone, letting rip from just outside the box. The Moroccan’s strike clearly inspired Toornstra, who added a third for Feyenoord five minutes later. Kuyt supplied the pass to Toonstra, who struck a hard shot that Van der Hart was never going to stop.
At the final whistle the home fans celebrated a win keeps Feyenoord at the top of the Eredivisie, two points ahead of Ajax and six ahead of PSV. Van Bronckhorst was also delighted that his side remained injury free ahead of Thursday’s Europa League tie at Manchester United.