It had all started so promisingly. Feyenoord put their opponents under pressure from the first whistle, venturing into the Sparta penalty box on a number of occasions in the opening ten minutes. Diego Biseswar tried his luck with a shot, while Fer also tested the home keeper Harald Wapenaar twice. But it was Roy Makaay who went closest to giving the visitors an early lead, heading into the side net.
The guests continued to press the hosts’ defence and on 16 minutes Biseswar got on the end of an attack he’d initiated himself. With only the keeper to beat, however, the youngster blazed over.
Sparta were unable to put Feyenoord under anything like as much pressure early doors. The only threat came from Yuri Rose, but the home striker was not able to get his head fully behind a cross.
Feyenoord continued to create their own chances at the other end, first through Makaay (shot), then through Kevin Hofland (header). It felt like a goal was on the way and it did arrive with five minutes left on the clock. Karim El Ahmadi took a free kick fast, sending Serginho Greene deep. Greene saw Fer in a dangerous position and played in the youngster, who duly put the visitors ahead.
Gertjan Verbeek’s side had looked convincing going forward for the first forty minutes of the game, but the defensive frailties soon did for Feyenoord again. Just two minutes after the opener Arne Slot was left in acres of space – albeit offside – after a Georginio Wijnaldum slip. Timmer was unable to block the effort and prevent Sparta from going in at the break on terms.
Feyenoord had controlled much of the game in the opening 45, but Sparta made a better fist of it in the second. That said, there was little in the way of a threat at either end in the early stages of the second half.
The first major chance came after over an hour of play and it fell to Fer. Wijnaldum played the ball to Greene, who had sneaked up on the right. The Dutch defender played a clever ball in to Fer, whose effort was blocked by the keeper.
The pattern remained approximately the same in the final stages, although the game lacked a little bit of tidiness and neither side really looked like they were going to claim the three points.
Until the last three minutes that is, when substitute Poepon rattled in the winner past Timmer from close in. The striker was set up on the right by Frenchman Edoeard Duplan, who crowned a fine forward surge with a tailored cross for his team-mate. Sparta Rotterdam – Feyenoord 2-1
40´ 0-1 Fer
42´ 1-1 Slot
87´ 2-1 Poepon Referee:
Vermes, Knol, Slijngard, Greene Sparta Rotterdam:
Wapenaar; Vermes (70´ Promes), Adeleye, Knol, Slijngard; Slot, Falkenburg (80´ Poepon), Strootman; Dissels (58´ Duplan), Rose and John. Feyenoord:
Timmer; Greene, Bahia, Hofland, De Cler; Wijnaldum, El Ahmadi, Fer (73´ Mols), Van Bronckhorst; Makaay and Biseswar (85´ Janota).