Feyenoord returned to the top of the Eredivisie tree Sunday by beating Vitesse at the Geldredome. Ajax’s failure to collect three points at Sparta enabled the Rotterdammers to leapfrog the Amsterdammers in the table. The only goal in Arnhem came from the foot of Nicky Hofs against his former club, early in the second half of a game that Feyenoord’s new South Korean signing Chun-Soo Lee watched from the bench.

Feyenoord started as it has so often this season, taking control of the game without dominating. Vitesse felt that they had a chance of getting something out of the match, to the annoyance of an animated Bert van Marwijk on the sidelines, but in reality the home side did not pose much of a threat. Juan Gonzalo Lorca was the only home player to have an attempt on goal before half time, but his header went wide of the post. The lack of home opportunities was the result of a robust Feyenoord defence, in which André Bahia in particular looked solid.

Feyenoord got stronger as the game wore on, which led to the creation of a number of chances for the visitors. Makaay had just the blink of an eye to get in a shot on eleven minutes, but it was enough for the striker to rattle off a hard drive. It caused Piet Velthuizen a lot of problems, but the keeper gathered the ball at the second attempt.

Luigi Bruins went close on two separate occasions, but screwed his effort wide both times. First Bruins was unable to direct Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s free kick towards goal on 21 minutes. After a half-hour the youngster was dangerous again, but again lacked accuracy in his finishing. Van Bronckhorst showed his team-mate how to do it not long after. Velthuizen was again forced to work hard to keep the ball out. Just before the break Nicky Hofs shot over from a good position.

The midfielder had more success on the other side of the break when Makaay set him up. Hofs placed the ball out of Velthuizen’s reach and into the top corner. It was striking that the two players who started their professional careers in Arnhem were involved in the goal. Hofs dampened his celebrations in deference.

Feyenoord had spent a decade looking for their first win in the Gelredome, but the visitors’ goal set them on their way to a third-successive 1-0 win in Arnhem. In fact, Makaay almost made it two, when he shot on the turn, but Velthuizen parried over.

The Rotterdam contingent were unflustered by the narrowness of the victory however, especially as the news came in that Ajax had failed to beat Sparta, which put Feyenoord back on the top of the Eredivisie pile.

Vitesse – Feyenoord 0-1
55’ 0-1 Hofs

Bookings: Yakubu
Referee: Wouters (Bel)

Vitesse: Velthuizen; Verhaegh, Espinoza, Sprockel, Megrelishvili; Swerts, Van der Schaaf, Yakubu, Due (63’ Hai); Junker, Lorca
Feyenoord: Timmer; Lucius, Bahia, Hofland, De Cler; Sahin (89’ Greene), Hofs, Van Bronckhorst; De Guzman, Makaay, Bruins (69’ D. Buijs)

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