There was also disappointment, however, for the Italian top scorer, who was booked and will miss the next game at sc Heerenveen. Pellè picked up his fifth yellow card of the season – a soft one this time – just before half time. It put a bit of a damper on things at the break despite Feyenoord going in a goal to the good.
The Italian showed what his teammates will miss in Heerenveen in that first half. The Italian has been a big factor in Feyenoord’s title challenge this term, and he weighed in with another priceless goal on 32 minutes. Pellè was fed in the box by Ruben Schaken, who had intercepted Anouar Kali’s wayward square ball in the middle of the park. The big man remained cool to beat his man before shooting into the near corner.
That proved to be the only goal of the half, although that had much to do with some debatable refereeing. Fouls on Ruben Schaken and Jean-Paul Boëtius in the box were both ignored as the crowd howled for a penalty. Boëtius in particular deserved more. The winger danced through a number of challenges to make it into the penalty area before having his legs taken away from under him.
FC Utrecht were unable to create any chances of their own in that first half, but with just one goal separating the teams Feyenoord could not relax. Fifth in the Eredivisie and gunning for a place in the Europa league the visitors were certainly not going to go down without a shout.
Indeed, Jan Wouters’ side started the second half with more urgency and took advantage of the first mistake of the afternoon in the hosts’ defence. It came on the hour when Stefan de Vrij failed to hoof the ball into the second tier, dallying to allow Cedric van de Gun to nip in and shot hard into the roof the net to equalise.
The goal looked to have given Feyenoord a headache but the hosts found an instant remedy. Janmaat started and finished the next home attack, playing a deep one-two with Schaken. The defender’s dynamism was repaid in spades when he took the return pass and rattled a hard and low drive past Robbin Ruiter to reclaim the lead within two minutes.
The goal was an expression of Feyenoord’s resilience. As was the following half an hour, in which the home side kept the visitors quiet save a speculative effort from Dave Bulthuis that went wide.
Feyenoord – FC Utrecht 2-1
32’ 1-0 Pellè
59’ 1-1 Van der Gun
61’ 2-1 Janmaat
Yellow: Vilhena, Pellè, Mathijsen (Feyenoord), Oar, Asare (FC Utrecht)
Feyenoord: Mulder; Janmaat, De Vrij, Mathijsen, Martins Indi; Clasie, Immers, Vilhena (81’ Vormer); Schaken, Pellè, Boëtius (75’ Verhoek).
FC Utrecht: Ruiter; Van der Maarel, Van der Hoorn, Wuytens, Bulthuis; Asare, Kali, Toornstra, Oar (30’ Duplan); Mulenga (12’ De Kogel), Van der Gun.