‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord won the most important derby in the Netherlands Sunday, defeating city rivals Sparta in the Eredivisie. Sparta had the best of the first half, but Dirk Kuyt’s last-gasp goal sent the sides in level at the break. In the second half, Feyenoord were dominant, scoring through Sebastián Pardo and Hossam Ghaly to secure the three points. On the less bright side, young substitute Tim Vincken was forced out of the game with a hamstring injury on 75.
Partick Paauwe stepped in for Alfred Schreuder, who was unable to start due to a Achilles problem, while Ferne Snoyl was preferred ahead of Pascal Bosschaart, but both Snoyl and Paauwe looked hesitant in the early stages, with Snoyl surrendering possession on a couple of occasions. When his partner Paauwe managed to pick up a yellow card without a few minutes after being skinned by Van den Bergh, the crowd started to wonder whether it would be a nice afternoon for Feyenoord after all.
Those two moments set the tone of the first half, as Sparta dominated their more esteemed city brothers. It was a sad sight for the two thousand travelling fans, as the Eredivisie newcomers swept Koeman’s team aside. Bouaouzan had already threatened on two occasions, but the first gilt-edged chance was rewarded immediately. Cvetkov laid the ball off for Van den Bergh, who slammed his shot out of reach of Lodewijks to give the home side the lead.
While Feyenoord had looked relatively comfortable before the goal, with the lead in their pocket Sparta revved it up a gear or two and the visitors appeared to be in trouble. Rose and Michels both had chances to extend the lead, the opportunity that fell to Cvetkov courtesy of ex-Feyenoorder Olfers had goal written all over it. Fortunately, Cvetkov was too hurried to read the writing on the wall, blasting over when it would have been easier to score. And when Lodewijks saved his side by beating out a Davy de Fauw free kick, it was clear that something had to change.
Koeman acted fast, pulling off one youngster – Snoyl – for another – Vincken. Perhaps it was mere coincidence five minutes later, when Kuyt found himself in space in the box. The striker turned beautifully to rifle the ball past keeper Ponk to hand his side the equaliser again just before the break.
The goal did much to dint the home side’s confidence and Feyenoord were able to dominate after the turnaround. Sparta looked nothing like the side that had played so aggressively in the first half, as Vincken caused problems down the right. He was involved in Feyenoord’s first chance of the second half, speeding past his marker to make the by-line, before whipping in an inviting cross that Kalou should have kept on target.
The goal didn’t take long in coming however. Eight minutes in, Pardo found himself free just outside the area and decided to have a dig. The ball found the net and suddenly the game – and the scoreboard – was swinging very much in the visitors’ favour.
Not long after it was Pardo who planted a corner on the head of Ghaly in the area and the Egyptian made no mistake to make it 1-3.
That wrapped the game up for Feyenoord, although Kuyt, Kalou and Paauwe all had chances to extend the lead. But there was only disappointment left in the jar for coach Koeman, as Tim Vincken pulled up with a recurrence of his hamstring injury after a fine thirty-five minute performance. It was the end of the game for the youngster and he now looks likely to miss next week’s cracker against Ajax.
Sparta Rotterdam – Feyenoord 1-3
20’ 1-0 Van den Bergh
45’ 1-1 Kuyt
53’ 1-2 Pardo
57’ 1-3 Ghaly
Yellows: Paauwe, Pardo, Ghaly, De Fauw, Michels
Sparta: Ponk; De Fauw, Olfers, Zoontjes (63’ Gudde), Gudelj; Michels, Van den Bergh 67’ Van Bueren), Polak; Cvetkov, Bouaouzan, Rose
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Östlund, Greene, Bahia, Snoyl (40’ Vincken/75’ Bosschaart); Ghaly, Paauwe, Pardo; Boussaboun, Kuyt, Kalou