Asked whether he could be congratulated after Saturday’s 2-1 win against AZ, Giovanni van Bronckhorst said that he would ...
Erwin Koeman’s side made it twelve points from four Eredivisie games at De Kuip with a relatively straightforward victory in the end against NEC Sunday. Salomon Kalou handed Feyenoord the lead before the break, before Sebastián Pardo and sub Romeo Castelen extended the margin in the second half. The match also marked the – rather brief – appearance of John Owoeri in the team for his debut, when the Nigerian came on as a substitute for the last few minutes.
Castelen looked a good bet for a starting place on the back of a positive week in training, but in the end Koeman preferred Ali Boussaboun on the right. That meant that the only change to the team that slew Ajax in Amsterdam was in defence, where Pascal Bosschaart took over from a suspended Ferne Snoyl.
Koeman will have been interested to see whether his men could be as disciplined and concentrated against NEC as they were against Ajax. And he will have been disappointed to find that they weren’t. NEC created more chances in the first half than Ajax had done in the whole match. That said, Feyenoord did have their moments too – especially through Kalou, who repeatedly swept past Rob Wielaert as though the home defender was a statue – even if gilt-edged opportunities were not forthcoming.
Ghaly could have given the Maassiders a nineteenth-minute lead when he was elegantly set up by Boussaboun, but the Egyptian’s shot was stylishly saved by Gábor Babos.
By that time Babos’s counterpart Lodewijks had already been called upon to smother Guillano Grot’s breakaway on eleven. On 23 Grot was threatening again, and when Lodewijks moved to stifle the danger the resulting clash left both shaking their heads and blowing hard to get their breath back. The two were back on their feet fairly soon, but Lodewijks looked to be a little uncomfortable for the rest of the half.
That didn’t stop him from keeping his side on level terms however, when he tipped Wisgerhof’s header onto the bar and over. Not long after, lady luck intervened on behalf of the home side, as Bahia deflected Prent’s cross onto the post and out.
When the goal did come it came at the other end. The clock stood at 42 minutes when Kuyt played in Kalou, who placed his shot out of reach of Babos in the far corner to hand his side the lead.
Feyenoord might even have extended that lead before the turnaround, but neither Kuyt nor Ghaly were able to find the net.
Feyenoord almost paid the price after the break, but the greed of Prent saved the home side from being pegged back, when the NEC forward ignored Takak who was free on the right side of the penalty area and drilled his shot wide.
The Nijmegen outfit were creating chances, but Feyenoord were much stronger in the second half. Not least Hossam Ghaly, who tested Babos with a shot that the Hungarian was thankful to keep out.
Pardo was also dangerous after some good interplay between Kuyt and Kalou. The Chilean controlled the ball before rifling in an effort that Babos had no trouble parrying. But Pardo was more precise with his second attempt, scoring a similar goal to the one he claimed last month against Sparta – the midfielder’s diagonal grass-cutter from outside the area beat the visiting keeper to hit the back of the net and double his side’s lead.
That was the goal that broke NEC’s resistance and Feyenoord went in search of more in an exciting last few minutes.
Nigerian Owoeri was on the pitch for his Rotterdam debut by the time Castelen capped his return with a third at the death.
Feyenoord - NEC 3-0
36’ 1-0 Kalou
72’ 2-0 Pardo
90’ 3-0 Castelen
Yellow: Ghaly, Östlund, Tininho
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Östlund, Greene, Bahia, Bosschaart; Ghaly, Paauwe, Pardo; Boussaboun (60’ Castelen), Kuyt, Kalou (88’ Owoeri).
NEC: Babos; Wielaert (80’ Nalbantoglu), Wisgerhof, Olsson, Leiwakabessy; Boutahar, Takak (80’ Van der Doelen), Barreto; Prent (68’ Pothuizen), Grot, Tininho.