The home side had difficulties getting the engine going in a half-full De Kuip on a greasy surface and only started showing signs of life after a rather tepid first half-hour. By that time FC Utrecht had two goal attempts on the board courtesy of Kevin Vandenbergh and Leroy George. Timmer saved both efforts.
But when the Rotterdammers started top move up the gears the visitors were forced to focus on defence. The home side created a number of chances late in the half, including a good effort from Roy Makaay on 37 minutes that keeper Franck Grandel managed to hold onto. A minute later Feyenoord were threatening the Frenchman’s goal once again. This time it was Jonathan de Guzman who tried his luck, only to see his shot go wide. Nuri Sahin also had a go, this time with a volley that lacked the pace to surprise Grandel.
Van Bronckhorst’s shot after the break had plenty of speed, but this time precision was the missing ingredient. The lightening attack was however a clear indication that Feyenoord were looking to secure a berth in the next round at the earliest opportunity.
Happily, the Rotterdammers were rewarded for their industry with three goals in the opening fifteen minutes of the second half. The first was expected and well deserved. When Tim de Cler joined the attack his cross was headed into the net by Hofs..
The goal was a perceptible blow to the visitors and Feyenoord took full advantage three minutes later. Van Bronckhorst and Buijs combined well and the ball was played into Bruins, who whipped in the perfect shot to make it 2-0.
Utrecht were now on the ropes and the hosts worked hard to achieve the knockout. It came on the hour. Nuri Sahin played the ball into Makaay along the deck and the striker was not about to pass up the opportunity, stroking home for 3-0.
It looked like Makaay would get another one on 70 minutes as he was handed an easy chance, but the Dutch international surprised the whole stadium – and himself – by shooting wide.
Qualification was already in the bag though, and it gave Van Marwijk the opportunity to bring on a couple of subs. After the experienced Michael Mols it was the turn of young Diego Biseswar and a few minutes later Serginho Greene, which drew cheers from the crowd just about every time he touched the ball.
Feyenoord – FC Utrecht 3-0
52’ 1-0 Hofs
55’ 2-0 Bruins
60’ 3-0 Makaay
Feyenoord: Timmer; D. Buijs (87’ Greene), Lucius, Bahia, De Cler; Sahin, Hofs (79’ Mols), Van Bronckhorst; De Guzman, Makaay, Bruins (84’ Biseswar)
FC Utrecht: Grandel (75’ De Ruiter); Cornelisse, Keller, Dickoh, Pieters; Kruys, Van Dijk, Somers; George, Nelisse (46’ Mohammed), Vandenbergh