Feyenoord extend lead over FC Utrecht
Feyenoord eased eight points clear of FC Utrecht in the race for fourth place in the Eredivisie on Sunday. Another sold-out De Kuip saw Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side beat the visitors 3-1. It was the fifth win on the bounce for Feyenoord. The goals came from Nicolai Jørgensen, Robin van Persie and Sam Larsson.
Feyenoord started in fierce mood against fifth-placed FC Utrecht, talking an early lead through Nicolai Jørgensen. The Dane netted in impressive fashion, getting up to connect with Jens Toornstra’s cross with a near bicycle kick.
It was Jørgensen’s tenth goal of the season and the sixth time he had given Feyenoord the lead this season in the Eredivisie. The hosts were not about to rest on their laurels, however, looking to double their lead in the early stages.
It looked as though they had managed it on 20 minutes, when Van Persie placed the ball in the top right-hand corner with the outside of his foot, but the Dutch international – starting instead of the suspended Steven Berghuis – was denied as the referee chalked the goal off for offside. Next to go close was Sam Larsson. The Swede was starting in place of Jean-Paul Boëtius, who was out with a hip injury. He might have celebrated with a goal, but his effort lacked a pressure finish.
Van Persie was clearly offside for his early effort, but the assistant referee at the other end failed to put his flag in the air when Cyriel Dessers netted from an equally clear offside position. The Belgian striker converted Zakaria Labyad’s pass, before celebrating as neither the assistant referee nor man in the middle Nijhuis saw the infringement.
The goal came during a strong period for the visitors, who had already spurned two good chances before that somewhat fortunate equaliser. The hosts tightened up after the goal and regained the lead ahead of the break. It was Van Persie who got the goal.
Playing as an attacking midfielder, Van Persie was found with a high ball by Sven van Beek on 44 minutes, controlling it with his chest before rattling an unstoppable drive into the top right-hand corner to leave FC Utrecht keeper David Jensen well beaten.
Jensen was forced to pick the ball out of the net again in the second half. On 69 minutes, Larsson converted another Jens Toornstra cross with his head. It was the Swede’s first Eredivisie goal at De Kuip and Toornstra’s fifth assist in three league matches. Most importantly, it broke the visitors’ resolve.
FC Utrecht had gone close on 50 minutes through Mateusz Klich, but Feyenoord keeper Brad Jones was able to save with his feet, before Van Beek whipped it clear over his head. The hosts would not trouble the hosts’ goal again.
Feyenoord, who brought on Bilal Basaçikoglu and Tyrell Malacia for Van Persie and Larsson, cruised through to the end, extending their lead over their direct opponents for the fourth place berth. The Rotterdammers have an eight-point cushion with just three matches to play. Next up is Willem II away on Wednesday, with AZ waiting in the TOTO KNVB Cup Final on Sunday.