Feyenoord may have had the idea that someone had it in for them in recent weeks, but the first half against FC Utrecht will have put some minds at rest on that score. The performance wasn’t brilliant, but it was effective, as Feyenoord freewheeled into a two-goal lead within the first 20 minutes. The basis of the home side’s success was defence as the travelling support were forced to watch constant Feyenoord domination without a FC Utrecht chance in sight. Bearing in mind the trials and tribulations suffered by the Feyenoord rearguard in recent times, the clean sheet will have done Koeman & Co a lot of good.
The coach saw his side take the lead as early as the sixth minute, when De Guzman was in just the right place to finish off a cross from Charisteas. The Greek clearly wanted to impress on the left, showing great vision to play the ball in to his team-mate, who rounded off with little difficulty.
Castelen was the main threat in the early stages of the match however, so it was little surprise that he was the maker of goal number two, which came on 18 minutes. The winger beat Alje Schut to leave him with just the keeper to beat, but Castelen was not in the least bit selfish, playing the ball off to Charisteas, who tapped in.
There was occasion for another cheer before the break, but it did not come in response to the football at De Kuip, but to the news that city neighbours Excelsior had taken the lead against Ajax in Amsterdam.
Feyenoord did create chances immediately after the turnaround, but the sharpness of the first half was missing from the home side’s finishing. Both Charisteas and Drenthe shot wide when there was reason to hope for more, while De Guzman also dragged an effort wide, this time from farther out.
The match was clearly over as a contest, but there was reason for some anguish among the home fans when Castelen looked to have got himself injured again. The winger remained on the ground with what looked like another ankle problem, but the crowd breathed a collective sigh of relief when Castelen got back to his feet. Koeman was as concerned as anyone however, and the coach decided to bring the player off immediately. Tim Vincken came on in his stead.
Erik Pieters was not there to witness the substitution however, as the visitors’ defender had earned his second yellow of the afternoon by that time.
Feyenoord – FC Utrecht 2-0
7’ 1-0 De Guzman
18’ 2-0 Charisteas
Bookings: Van Buuren
Sending off: Pieters (75’ 2x yellow)
Feyenoord: Timmer; Buijs, Vlaar, Greene, Bahia; Schreuder (78’ Derijck), De Guzman, Drenthe; Castelen (80’ Vincken), Charisteas, Huysegems
FC Utrecht: Grandel; Cornelisse, Schut (46’ Van Buuren), Broerse, Pieters; Somers, Van Dijk, Kruys (64’ Laval), Caluwé (67’ Rossini); Boussaboun, Nelisse