Feyenoord saw off English Premiership opposition in the traditional preseason opener Sunday at De Kuip as Middlesbrough were beaten by two goals to nil. Erwin Koeman’s team looked a cut above their North Sea neighbours and goals by Stein Huysegems and Dirk Kuyt confirmed the Rotterdammers superiority against a Boro side that included former De Kuip defender George Boateng. There was less positive news for coach Koeman however, as both André Bahia and substitute Romeo Castelen were forced out of the match with injuries in the second half.
Huysegems has made a name for himself as a hard worker in his first few weeks at Feyenoord, performing well, although the Belgian has been unable to truly impress against amateur opposition. But everything fell into place against the first serious opponents of this preseason at De Kuip Sunday. His now expected outstanding effort was complemented this time round by a number of eye-catching exploits that brought applause from the stands.
One of them also directly led to Feyenoord taking the lead just past the quarter-hour mark. The left back was perfectly placed to head home Royston Drenthe’s cross off the post. Huysegems celebrated his goal vigorously with Drenthe.
After the opening goal, it was Feyenoord that kicked on, exposing Middlesbrough’s defensive frailties and working hard when the visitors had the ball. Benjamin De Ceulaer and Huysegems looked especially hungry and it was no coincidence that the two Belgians were the main source of danger. De Ceulaer had two chances, but Schwarzer was able to deny him on both occasions.
Nicky Hofs was the next home player to which an opportunity fell, when Jonathan de Guzman created space before playing the ball into the diminutive midfielder, but Hofs was unable to keep his shot down. Middlesbrough did break out of the home team’s stranglehold just before the break, but when the ball came to Mark Viduka, the Australian was unable to direct his header on target.
The English north-easterners were not up to the challenge of disrupting Feyenoord’s rhythm and the Rotterdammers were well on top in the second half too. That was translated into a goal ten minutes in, when the most popular player on show – Dirk Kuyt – volleyed De Guzman’s corner past Schwarzer.
Huysegems could have extended the lead soon after, but Schwarzer was able to keep the effort out. A little later Hofs raced clear and looked likely to net, but he screwed his shot wide.
That was just about the extent of the fun at de Kuip, as Feyenoord cruised to victory. Boro did have a couple of half chances, but it wasn’t enough to cause any concern, although there was plenty of that after both Bahia and Castelen were forced off the pitch with injuries. Castelen’s problem in particular does not bode well ahead of the start of the Eredivisie season.
Feyenoord – Middlesbrough 2-0
16’ 1-0 Huysegems
55’ 2-0 Kuyt
Yellow: De Ceulaer, Riggott
Feyenoord: Timmer; Greene, Vlaar, Bahia (68’ Collen), Drenthe; Hofs (70’ Kolkka), Lucius, De Guzman; De Ceulaer (70’ Castelen/’81’ Van Hooijdonk), Kuyt, Huysegems.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer; Parnaby (76’ Maccarone), Riggott, Bates, Arca; Rochemback, Boateng, Downing (63’ Mendieta); Morrison (76’ McMahon), Viduka (63’ Johnson), Yakubu.