In the run-up to the game Ronald Koeman described the game as a crucial one in Feyenoord’s season. The coach understood that last week’s 2-1 win against PSV would lose some of its sheen if his side failed to come away from Nijmegen with a victory.
The fact that all Feyenoord’s rival in the hunt for the title won their game on Sunday only ratcheted up the pressure on his side ahead of the Goffert Stadium encounter.
With all that in mind, the coach was no doubt pleased with the hunger his side showed in the opening half against their mid-table opponents. Feyenoord arguably played their best 45 minutes of the season before the break. Feyenoord looked tight at the back and imaginative up front.
Koeman saw his side impose their will on the hosts and convert their possession and territory into goals, something Feyenoord have occasionally struggled to do this term.
Tonny Vilhena was at the root of the opening goal, playing an inch-perfect through-ball into Boëtius. The zippy winger sped in from the left to beat keeper Gabor Babos with a shot into the far corner.
The second goal was a little longer in coming, but when it did, predictably it fell to Pellè. It was another well-worked goal. Lex Immers fed Ruben Schaken, whose cross eluded the grasping hands of Babos and landed slap bang on the Italian’s forehead. Goal number 18 of the season was the result.
N.E.C. returned after the break with two new frontmen and the hosts were able to threaten more as a consequence. While their first-half chances were limited to a Daan Bovenberg header than hit the post, Alex Pastoor’s team managed to exert more pressure in the second 45.
Feyenoord remained composed, despite the hosts’ pressing game causing a few headaches in the visitors’ defence. It resulted in far fewer chances for Ronald Koeman’s men, although Jordy Clasie went close to extending the lead midway through the half, rattling a post from distance.
Feyenoord spent much of the final fifteen minutes on the backfoot and had Erwin Mulder to thank for preventing the hosts from getting back into the game. The keeper got down well to parry a Nick van der Velden shot from close range.
Boëtius relieved the pressure in the best possible way seven minutes from the end, netting his second goal of the afternoon to make the points safe. The ball came to him just outside the area in a swift counter attack and he shot hard and low to beat Babos and wrap up the game.
N.E.C. Nijmegen – Feyenoord 0-3
11’ 0-1 Boëtius
42’ 0-2 Pellè
83’ 0-3 Boëtius
N.E.C. Nijmegen: Babos; Bovenberg (70’ Stutter), Van Eijden, Breuer, Amieux; Koolwijk, Falkenburg Palsson; George (46’ Rieks), Platje (57’ Boymans), Van der Velden.
Feyenoord: Mulder; Janmaat, De Vrij, Mathijsen, Nelom; Clasie, Immers, Vilhena; Schaken (82’ Verhoek), Pellè, Boëtius.