Feyenoord edged to the top of the Eredivisie for at least a couple of hours with a 2-0 win over city rivals Sparta at De Kuip Wednesday afternoon. A Boxing Day brace from Roy Makaay – one in each half – won the game for Bert van Marwijk’s men. The day also brought an extra stocking-filler for the coach, as Luigi Bruins came off the bench in the second half to seal his return after a month-long injury.

There was a festive atmosphere in the stands at De Kuip, but Nourdin Boukhari’s goodwill to all men got a little out of hand on the field of play. The game was just three minutes old when the Sparta midfielder tried to thread a pass back to his keeper almost from the halfway line. Makaay intercepted without too much fuss, before rounding Westerveld and netting. It was the worst of starts and the best of starts, depending on your point of view.

Feyenoord pushed forward with a great deal of energy and appeared to be hell bent on recording a big win. It generated chances for Bert van Marwijk’s side, although the final ball was usually lacking in precision.

Sparta keeper Westereld was also doing well. After 25 minutes the former Dutch international did well to keep out a Makaay effort. The ball broke to Slory, but Westerveld palmed the youngster’s shot away for a corner. By then, Kevin Hofland had had a good opportunity, but sent his header over the bar.

Feyenoord went in at the break with that one-goal advantage and the home side could not have had too many complaints about that. Sparta threatened their city neighbours’ goal on two occasions in the first half. Darryl Roberts and Nathan Rutjes forced Henk Timmer into action. The keeper put both out for a corner.
Makaay almost doubled his side’s lead early in the second half. Slory’s cross forced the striker to shoot immediately and the ball sailed over.

The luck was on Feyenoord’s side just after the hour mark though, when the visitors were denied what looked like a sure-fire equaliser. Timmer was rooted to the ground when Sjaak Polak curling a free kick over the wall. The ball ricocheted off the underside of the bar and back out. Charles Dissels headed in the rebound, but with Timmer again chanceless the ball hit the underside of the bar for the second time, keeping the goalie’s clean sheet intact.

The entire stadium claimed a penalty on 70 minutes when Rutjes shouldered Van Bronckhorst off the ball, but the referee waved play on and Sparta broke at the other end through substitute Marvin Emnes. As the Feyenoord captain wrestled with the pain in one penalty area, Timmer pushed a shot round the post in the other.

The home team’s lead was looking rather brittle, so everyone breathed a sigh of relief a few minutes later when Makaay edged Feyenoord further ahead. Slory made a probing run on the right before playing the ball into Makaay for the striker to tap in his and his team’s second of the afternoon.

Suddenly the tension was released and Feyenoord strolled to the final whistle to claim all three points.

Feyenoord – Sparta 2-0
3’ Makaay 1-0
73’ Makaay 2-0

Bookings: Lucius, Hofland, Rose
Referee: Vink

Feyenoord: Timmer; Lucius, Hofland, Bahia, De Cler; Sahin (76’ Greene), De Guzman, Van Bronckhorst; Slory (83’ Hofs), Makaay, Lee (64’ Bruins)
Sparta: Westerveld; De Roover, Adeleye, Schenkel, Polak (83’ Jaggy); Rose, Boukhari (61’ Duplan), Moreno Freire, Rutjes; Roberts (64’ Emnes), Dissels
Feyenoord Business CLub