Pellè grabs brace on return
Feyenoord extended their winning streak to five matches with a 2-0 victory against RKC Waalwijk at De Kuip on Sunday. Graziano Pellè, playing his comeback match after serving out a four-game ban, scored both goals, one in either half. The three points strengthens Feyenoord’s hold on second place a week before the trip to PSV.
Not for the first time this term, Ronald Koeman made some surprising selection decisions for the match against RKC. The Feyenoord coach changed the starting line-up compared with the midweek win at Heracles Almelo, bringing in Miquel Nelom, Ruud Vormer, Wesley Verhoek and Graziano Pellè, who returned to the first eleven after a lengthy suspension.
Koeman left out Bruno Martins Indi, Tonny Vilhena, Ruben Schaken and Te Vrede, feeling his side needed an injection of energy for the third match in eight days. The tinkering turned out well, as it has on previous occasions, with Feyenoord starting brightly, both in possession and without the ball. The hosts’ work rate was such that RKC Waalwijk scarcely got a look in before the break.
The visitors threatened Erwin Mulder’s goal just twice in the opening 45 minutes (an off-target Romeo Castelen shot and a Sander Duits free kick punched clear by the keeper). At the other end, Feyenoord created a fistful of good chances, so all told the home side’s slender 1-0 advantage at half time was not a true reflection of the match.
The only goal of the first half came courtesy of Pellè on seven minutes. The Italian latched on to a fine through-ball by Vormer to edge it past keeper Arjan van Dijk. It was an impressive finish for a man who had endured an enforced four-match layoff through suspension.
Before the opener Lex Immers had gone nearest to putting the hosts in front. The midfielder saw his header cleared off the line by Kenny van Hoevelen.
After the break Feyenoord lacked the fluidity they had shown in the opening period. That was due in part to the visitors. RKC were much more in Feyenoord’s face, giving their hosts a lot less time and space on the ball. Noticing that his side were losing their grip on the game, Ronald Koeman made a double substitution on the hour mark, bringing on Tonny Vilhena and Ruben Schaken.
Schaken proved his value not long after coming on, when he whipped in a delicious cross for Pellè to nod in his second of the afternoon. The winger got to the bye-line, crossing to the far post, where the Italian jumped higher than anyone to head home.
Pellè’s 22nd goal in 25 Eredivisie fixtures gave Feyenoord breathing space to play out the match in a more relaxed manner and RKC seemed to sense that the game was up too, offering little in the final 25 minutes or so.
That didn’t dampen the atmosphere at De Kuip, as the home fans celebrated another win and another big step towards a solid second-place finish.
Feyenoord – RKC Waalwijk 2-0
38’ 1-0 Pellè
65’ 2-0 Pellè
Yellow: Van Hoevelen (RKC Waalwijk)
Feyenoord: Mulder; Janmaat, De Vrij, Kongolo, Nelom; Clasie, Immers, Vormer (57’ Vilhena); Verhoek (57’ Schaken), Pellè, Boëtius
RKC Waalwijk: Van Dijk; Apau, Van Hoevelen, Gouano, Amieux; Anderson (84’ Beauguel), Sno, Duits; Castelen, Joachim, Schet (58’ De Ridder)