Youngsters drive Feyenoord to win against AZ

Feyenoord secured an important three points at home to AZ on Sunday afternoon. Ronald Koeman’s men eased to a 3-1 victory in an ice-cold De Kuip. Jean-Paul Boëtius edged the hosts ahead with a fine strike in a tough first half. AZ pulled level after an hour through Roy Beerens, but after Nick Viergever’s red card Feyenoord went all out for the points. They were ultimately procured thanks to goals by Jordy Clasie and Tonny Vilhena. The game also featured the return of Ruben Schaken after several weeks on the sidelines.

Assistant coach Jean Paul van Gastel expressed his admiration on Friday for the performances of Feyenoord players in the various national teams during the week, but stressed that they needed to back that up with a good display in the red and white against AZ. So he will have been delighted to see Boëtius’s wonderful punt from distance that put his side ahead in the first half, at the end of a week in which after the youngster made his debut for the Dutch Under 21s.

The goal ended a flowing Feyenoord move midway through the half. The ball came to Graziano Pellè down the left-hand side and the Italian slipped the ball through to Boëtius. The youngster took the ball on the run, curling a tasty shot with his right foot past keeper Esteban from just outside the box.

It was a good boost for Feyenoord, who had been unable to put the visitors under serious pressure in the opening 20 minutes or so. Feyenoord had found it hard to put pressure on the ball early enough and AZ had perhaps the better of the play, with Adam Maher the main threat for the Alkmaar outfit. The international went close with two shots from distance – the first in the opening stages, the second just after the break – but Erwin Mulder foiled him both times.

If the opener was a little unexpected, the equaliser was too. It came just after the hour mark. Feyenoord had already had two opportunities to extend their lead, not least through Lex Immers, who hit a post, when Roy Beerens got the breakthrough for the visitors. The right-sided forward’s left-footed shot took a wicked deflection that left Mulder without a hope.

By that time the game has sparked into life with some handbags. And not long after the goal the passion and enthusiasm against spilled over, this time into recklessness. Nick Viergever went in hard on Immers, drawing a red card from referee Bas Nijhuis. Suddenly Feyenoord had a man extra on the pitch.

The home side responded by pressing forward in search of the lead and the reward was not long in coming. AZ managed to survive when substitute Ruben Schaken’s effort was cleared from the line, but a hard drive from Jordy Clasie from the edge of the box crept in to put Feyenood ahead with just under 20 minutes to go.

The game opened up after that but Immers, Pellè and Boëtius, who hit the post, all failed to take advantage of the space behind the AZ defence. The game was deep into injury time when Feyenoord finally added a third. Boëtius and Vilhena ganged up on Esteban, Boëtius drawing the keeper before giving it to Vilhena to slide into the empty net and secure the victory.

Feyenoord – AZ 3-1
25’ 1-0 Boëtius
63’ 1-1 Beerens
72’ 2-1 Clasie
90’ 3-1 Vilhena

Referee: Nijhuis

Yellow: Mathijsen, Immers (Feyenoord), Altidore, Gorter, Marcellis, Gudmundsson (AZ)

Red: Viergever (67’, AZ)


Mulder; Janmaat, De Vrij, Mathijsen, Martins Indi; Clasie, Immers (77’ Vormer), Vilhena; Verhoek (60’ Schaken), Pellè, Boëtius.
AZ: Esteban; Marcellis, Reijnen, Viergever, Gorter; Henriksen, Maher, Overtoom; Beerens (68’ Berghuis), Altidore, Gudmundsson (68’ Wijnaldum).
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