Feyenoord overpower Sparta in final home match
Feyenoord were too strong for Sparta Rotterdam in the final Eredivisie match of the 2017-2018 season at De Kuip on Sunday afternoon. Head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side won the reverse fixture at Het Kasteel 7-0, but had to be satisfied with a more modest victory on home turf, running out 3-1 winners. Steven Berghuis (2) and Sparta defender Frederik Holst were Feyenoord’s goalscorers.
The Rotterdam derby at a sold-out De Kuip was slow in getting started, but once the two sides got into the game there were plenty of chances and much to enjoy. Not least a gorgeous Robin van Persie back heel that left Nicolai Jørgensen one on one with Sparta keeper Jannik Huth. The Dane scored with a chip, but the goal was ruled out by referee Higler for offside.
The opener was on the cards, through, and it almost came shortly after through Steven Berghuis, who was left with Huth to beat, but was unable to finish. At the other end, Deroy Duarte, Robert Mühren and Thomas Verhaar threatened on behalf of the visitors, but solid defending by Eric Botteghin, Justin Bijlow and Jan-Arie van der Heijden kept the sides level.
Sparta did eventually take the lead on 35 minutes and it was a fine goal that broke the deadlock. Fred Friday left Bijlow well beaten with a bullet drive into the far corner. Feyenoord had an opportunity to equalise within a minute, but Van Persie’s shot was well saved.
The leveller finally came in time added on. Van Persie played an inch-perfect pass into club top-scorer Berghuis, who swept it in. It was Van Persie’s first assist of the Eredivisie season and the 15th league goal of the campaign for Berghuis. An impressive total, bearing in mind that he has also claimed 12 assists himself.
Several Feyenoord players were involved in the goal that edged the hosts ahead on 65 minutes, but it was ultimately given to a Sparta defender. Frederik Holst got the final touch after a fine piece of play from Karim El Ahmadi on the right flank. When the ball came into the box Boëtius looked like sliding it in, but Holst got in first to put it over the line himself.
With Jens Toornstra and Bart Nieuwkoop on for Boëtius and Kevin Diks, Feyenoord went looking for more. The result was a third home goal in the final stages. El Ahmadi made strong progress down the right again, whipping in a low cross that Berghuis converted for this second of the afternoon.