Feyenoord responded well to the flak they received from Bert van Marwijk this week by winning at De Graafschap Saturday night. Roy Makaay pulled his side level on the stroke of half time, after an early home strike. Two second-half goals from Nicky Hofs secured all three points. It was not all smiles for the coach however. Serginho Greene had to come off on 35 minutes with a head injury, while Giovanni van Bronckhorst was substituted halfway through the second half with a thigh problem. Nuri Sahin started the game, after Denny Landzaat’s hamstring failed him again in the warming up.

The big question going into the game was how the players would respond to Bert van Marwijk’s criticisms. The Rotterdammers did not disappoint on that score, showing their desire to please their coach from the off in Doetinchem.

The visitors were not rewarded for their endeavour however, as the opener came at the other end. The match was 18 minutes in when Reinier Robbemond tested Henk Timmer. The keeper got his fists to the ball, but Lasse Schöne fired in the rebound to give his side the lead.

The goal did not damper Feyenoord’s toil, but there may have been a little less belief among those wearing black shirts. That in turn helped De Graafschap, as the home side were able to relieve the pressure on them.

The hosts could even have doubled their lead a couple of minutes before the break. Luigi Bruins was injured on the deck when Lasse Schöne broke forward. The attacker had only Timmer to beat, but decided to lay the ball off, which allowed André Bahia – on for the groggy Greene – to clear.

Feyenoord did reply with some attacking of their own, mind. As the clock ticked down Leroy Fer played a great ball to Makaay, but keeper Jim van Fessem was fast to respond to the danger. Jonathan de Guzman then tried his fortune from distance, while Bruins turned up his nose at a chance to level things when in a promising position.

Just when it looked as though Feyenoord would be going in at the break in arrears, their luck changed. Again it was Fer who played the ball into Makaay. This time the club’s top scorer was more effective, sliding the ball under Van Fessem for his 13th Eredivisie goal of the season.

Makaay went mighty close to grabbing his 14th and edging Feyenoord ahead after the break. The striker forced Van Fessem into a fine save to keep out his rocket. At the other end Niklas Tarvajärvi was dangerous on 51 minutes, shooting just past the post.

Feyenoord took the lead shortly after. Van Bronckhorst sent Makaay deep in to opposition territory. The striker hit his effort from a tight angle and Van Fessem managed to get in front of it, but the ball fell to Hofs, who knocked in the rebound.

The two goals had clearly raised a burden from Feyenoord’s shoulders. The visitors’ had celebrated the strikes enthusiastically, and their play improved markedly after they had taken the lead. A fluent move saw the Rotterdammers finding each other with ease. Fer, Makaay and Van Bronckhorst all played their part before the ball eventually fell to Hofs, who finished it off with aplomb. Suddenly Feyenoord were two ahead.

Hofs might have rounded off the evening with a hat trick, but failed to show composure with twenty minutes to go, blazing his attempt over.

De Graafschap – Feyenoord 1-3
18’ 1-0 Schöne
45’ 1-1 Makaay
56’ 1-2 Hofs
63’ 1-3 Hofs

Booking: Slory, Bot, Schuurman, Hese
Referee: Kuipers

De Graafschap: Van Fessem; Schuurman, Fung a Wing, Keller (81’ Karlsons), Fränkel; Meijer (65’ Bot), Hese, Robbemond (75’ Biseswar), Vidarsson; Schöne, Tarvajärvi
Feyenoord: Timmer; Fer, Greene (35’ Bahia), Hofland, De Cler (84’ Buijs); Sahin, De Guzman, Van Bronckhorst (67’ Slory); Hofs, Makaay, Bruins

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