In the week it was announced that AZ were the most free-scoring team in Europe, Erwin Koeman was saddled with a treatment room full of injuries and everything pointed to Feyenoord having to grind out a result against their visitors. Koeman was not interested in conceding any ground in the run up to the match however and with the fans also lending their weighty support in a packed De Kuip, there was always a chance that Feyenoord could get themselves up for another hardworking performance.
If any of the forty thousand-plus crowd had any doubts of the home side’s intentions, they were flushed away as soon as the match got underway. Things were pretty even from the first whistle, although AZ were in attacking mode a little more often in the early stages. Tim De Cler had a chance on 11 minutes, after being presented with the ball at his feet, but the AZ left back couldn’t direct his hard drive away from Henk Timmer’s fists.
The match was 26 minutes old before Feyenoord threatened. Hofs it was who shot over then, but two minutes later it was all smiles, as the diminutive midfielder earned a free kick after going to ground rather suspiciously in response to an innocuous looking challenge by Kew Jaliens. Hofs got up, dusted himself off and guided the ball into the far corner to give Feyenoord the lead.
De Kuip rocked for just three minutes before the reality check. De Cler’s cross was missed by everyone, apart that is from De Zeeuw who must have been amazed by his good luck. Timmer got a hand to the shot, but could not prevent it from crossing the line.
Suddenly it was AZ that were bossing the match, but despite having the upper hand the visitors were unable to convert a number of threatening opportunities. Koevermans whistled in a shot that Timmer was able to parry; then Martens tied to lob Feyenoord’s international keeper, only to misjudge and find the top of the net with his effort.
Royston Drenthe grabbed all the attention straight after the break when the left back cleared a Koevermans header from the line, before running up the other end and almost netting himself. Joonas Kolkka delivered the cross, but Drenthe’s header rattled the post with Job Bulters well beaten.
The keeper was a lot nearer the next ball that came towards his goal, but he hashed things up big time by playing the ball straight to Derijck’s feet. The Belgian rifled the ball back at goal and in to give Feyenoord the lead again.
AZ came back at the Rotterdammers immediately again, but this time Timmer pulled off an impressive reflex save that denied Koevermans.
But the AZ striker was not going to be denied his goal and it finally came on 73 minutes. Timmer left the safety of his line too late and Koevermans took advantage to round him and tap in his ninth gaol of the present Eredivisie campaign to level things up for the second time.
With the visitors smelling blood, Timmer did well not long after to keep out two headed efforts from Barry Opdam and Jaliens. It was looking increasingly likely that Feyenoord’s run of wins in the league would be coming to an end and with AZ in the mood to attack there was even a chance that the Maassiders would be left with nothing.
So it was some surprise and much relief that the packed De Kuip crowd welcomed Feyenoord’s third goal of the evening. Hofs poked in a shot that Bulters really should have stopped, but the AZ keeper continued to have a bad day by completely misjudging the drive. The ball struck the inside of the post and deflected into the back of the net to give Feyenoord the lead for the third time in the match.
There was still time for Mendes da Silva and Steinsson to both spurn two gilt-edged chances, all to the delight of the crowd who lauded their team’s achievement in securing a fifth successive league win at the final whistle.
28’ 1-0 Hofs
31’ 1-1 De Zeeuw
55’ 2-1 Derijck
73’ 2-2 Koevermans
80’ 3-2 Hofs
Bookings: Drenthe, Koevermans, Steinsson.
Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Lucius, Bahia, Drenthe; Greene, Derijck, Hofs; Kolkka (67’ Boussaboun), Charisteas, Huysegems.
AZ: Bulters; Steinsson, Jaliens, Opdam, De Cler; De Zeeuw (70’ Gudjónsson), Martens, Mendes da Silva, Schaars (60’ Dembélé); Arveladze, Koevermans.