The big question hanging over both sides going into the game was how they had recovered from the exertions of two hours of cup football just a few days earlier at De Goffert. Ronald Koeman and N.E.C. coach Alex Pastoor both made a couple of changes to their starting line-up, but most of the 22 players on the field at kick-off had played in Wednesday’s game.
That may have been why the first half was lacking in zip. Both sides played at a low tempo, with N.E.C. showing little enthusiasm for attack. Feyenoord were more offensively minded, though and were rewarded for their efforts with a solid two-goal lead before half time.
Watching from the sidelines Ronald Koeman did not see his side create too many opportunities, but when they came Feyenoord finished them clinically, with Graziano Pellè scoring twice. The Italian striker has not perhaps been in the best of form since his deadline-day move to Rotterdam, but he showed an eye for goal against N.E.C.
Daryl Janmaat was the instigator on both occasions. The defender whipped in a tempting high cross on the quarter-hour that Pellè headed in off the underside of the bar. And just before the break the Italian doubled his tally – and Feyenoord’s lead – when he latched on to Janmaat’s through-ball, beating visiting keeper Gabor Babos with a dainty chip.
By then N.E.C.’s Evander Sno had been forced to leave the field of play. The former Feyenoorder, who once suffered a cardiac arrest when playing a development team game against Ajax, went down on his haunches clutching his chest. He was carried off to loud applause and taken straight to hospital as a precaution.
Feyenoord started the second half with a two-goal cushion, but looked a little shaky nonetheless. The hosts were a little sloppy even after Lex Immers seemed to put the game to bed two minutes after the restart. The midfielder was brought down in the box and stepped up to convert the resulting penalty himself.
Immerse grabbed his second of the evening on 63 minutes, powering home substitute Ruben Schaken’s cross with his head.
N.E.C. had grabbed a consolation before that through Søren Rieks, from a Kevin Conboy cross, and despite the three-goal deficit the visitors seemed to think they could stage an unlikely fight-bight. They were given extra confidence by some careless defending by Feyenoord, who seemed to want to give the ball away at every opportunity.
So there was a collective sigh of relief in De Kuip when Immerse completed his hat-trick with five minutes left on the clock, this time getting his head onto a Jordy Clasie free kick. Not least because Kostas Lamprou had twice been called into action at the other end, saving well from Melvin Platje and Kevin Conboy.
Feyenoord – N.E.C. 5-1
16’ 1-0 Pellè
44’ 2-0 Pellè
47’ 3-0 Immers (pen)
49’ 3-1 Rieks
63’ 4-1 Immers
85’ 5-1 Immers
Yellow: Roorda, George (N.E.C.)
Feyenoord: Lamprou; Janmaat, Kongolo, Martins Indi, Nelom; Leerdam, Immers, Clasie; Verhoek (46’ Schaken), Pellè (81’ Vilhena), Cissé (69’ Fernandez).
N.E.C.: Babos; Breuer, Van Eijden, Cmovs, Conboy; Sno (33’ Roorda), Foor (77’ Ten Voorde), Koolwijk; George, Platje, Rieks (67’ Van der Velden).