Feyenoord won the Rotterdam derby at Kasteel Stadium Sunday, eventually running out four-one winners, but the victory was never that easy. Erwin Koeman’s men did find themselves two goals to the good after 14 minutes, but a quick reply by Yannis Anastasiou brought the home side back in contention and it was only after Sparta were reduced to ten men that Feyenoord managed to extend their lead, with goals by Theo Lucius and Ali Boussaboun.

Sparta had the game’s first chance just a couple of minutes in, when Danny Schenkel saw Henk Timmer save his effort with his feet, but Feyenoord had the best of the opening exchanges and in the end the visitors experienced a dream start.

Ten minutes in Hofs aimed a disguised drive from the edge of the penalty area that surprised keeper René Ponk as it hit the inside of the post and went into the net. Suddenly, the travelling support was cheering their side’s first goal of the season, despite spending most of the early minutes expressing their displeasure at the club’s predicament. Four minutes later the two thousand plus contingent had even more to celebrate, when Hofs latched onto a Lucius pass and shot straight and true past Ponk to make it 0-2.

Cushioned by the two-goal margin Feyenoord surrendered the initiative and the home side pushed forward. It took just three minutes for Sparta to get a goal back. Dwight Tiendalli brought down Dominique van Dijk in the box and Yannis Anastasiou smashed the spot kick past Henk Timmer.

Fortunately Feyenoord came to their senses after that and held on to their lead going into the break, but that was as much due to the impotence of the home strikers as the strength of the visiting defence. Sparta created a number of outstanding opportunities but were unable to convert any of them. Van Dijk hit the post and then headed over when the goal lay at his mercy. That followed a fantastic chance for Anastasiou, who was unable to direct Medunjanin’s fine cross towards goal with his head. Just ahead of the break, Tiendalli cleared Jason Oost’s effort off the line. Feyenoord were certainly not living comfortably.

There was however constant first-class support from the stands for the Maassiders, and the away fans were given a little more to enjoy in the second half, as Wiljan Vloet’s team began to run out of steam. Sparta did create the odd threat, especially via Oost, but the home side were clearly less strong in the second 45. Feyenoord appeared to have sorted things out at the back, but there was still a lot of room for improvement further up the park. Charisteas worked hard on his debut, but he didn’t get nearly enough service to threaten.

The Greek did have an opportunity to open his Rotterdam account on 71, when Hofs supplied, but Charisteas’ shot went wide. More worrying was the hamstring problem that brought Hofs to the ground as he played the ball through.

Thing got potentially easier for Feyenoord just past the hour mark when Wouter Gudde picked up his second yellow of the game, but Sjaak Polak almost pulled the ten men level immediately, sending in an awesome shot from distance that rattled Timmer’s bar.

But in the end the extra man paid off for the visitors as Sparta started to tire. Lucius was floored in the box by Anthony Obodai and picked himself up to plant the penalty past Ponk with five to go.

Then Feyenoord wrapped things up in the final sixty seconds when Ali Boussaboun rounded off a fine individual move by placing his shot out of the keeper’s reach for number four.

Sparta – Feyenoord 1-4
10’ 0-1 Hofs
14’ 0-2 Hofs
17’ 1-2 Anastasiou (pen)
85’ 1-3 Lucius (pen)
88’ 1-4 Boussaboun

Referee: Haverkort

Yellows: Buijs, Drenthe, Charisteas, Boussaboun, Schenkel
Red: Gudde (61’ 2x yellow)

Sparta: Ponk; De Roover, Gudde, Schenkel, Polak; Rose (77’ Kaita), Obodai, Medunjanin; Oost, Anastasiou, Van Dijk (62’ Bouaouzan).

Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli (68’ Saidi), Greene, Bahia, Drenthe; De Guzman, Buijs, Lucius, Hofs (70’ Pardo); Huysegems (62’ Boussaboun), Charisteas.

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