After saying his formal farewells at De Kuip on Sunday, Giovanni van Bronckhorst took charge of Feyenoord for the last time...
After six weeks preseason, Feyenoord started their first season under new coach Erwin Koeman with a good victory over NAC at De Kuip Sunday afternoon. Goals by Sebastián Pardo and captain Dirk Kuyt were enough to break the resistance of the visitors and hand the Rotterdammers their first three points of the season. The NAC team included former De Kuip favourite Pierre van Hooijdonk in attack, but despite a warm reception from the Rotterdam fans, the striker was unable to mark his return with a goal.
Koeman had a few surprises in store when he announced his first starting line-up, leaving out Sweden international Alexander Östlund and the experienced Pascal Bosschaart at the back: that left a place for André Bahia on the left and most surprisingly no fixed right back.
The new coach’s selections paid dividends however in the first half as NAC struggled to get a handle on the game. A Van Hooijdonk trademark free kick, which Lodewijks saved, was all the visitors had to show for their efforts. By that time Feyenoord were already ahead and the goal also came from a free kick. Pardo rattled off a high-quality curler that beat the wall and keeper Schollen to find the net.
Feyenoord had had two good chances to take the lead early on, through Boussaboun and Kuyt, but both strikers were unable to make the most of it. As to NAC, the first forays into home territory came after the goal, but Feyenoord looked composed at the back and the next strike looked more likely to extend the lead than to tie things up. First Paauwe headed just over from a corner, then Boussaboun struck a speculative effort that finished wide of the mark.
Feyenoord showed last season that goals are no guarantee of success and Koeman prioritised a firm defence as soon as he got down to work in Rotterdam, so he’ll have been happy that his side seldom looked threatened at the back. The Rotterdammers weren’t as dominant in the second half as in the first, but the visitors were unable to trouble themselves, not least due to the excellent performance of Sergio Greene.
The game was 68 minutes in before NAC put the home goal under pressure, after a loss of concentration by Saidi, but Vonlanthen dragged his shot wide, albeit from a difficult angle.
Feyenoord clearly had control of the game, although the chances did not come as frequently as the home support might have hoped. Kalou had a good opportunity just after the restart, but Schollen pulled off a fine save. The keeper had no chance when Kuyt let fly from distance on 70 however. The ball travelled through a forest of legs, before ending up in the bottom corner to double the Maasiders’ lead.
Coach Lokhoff responded by taking off Vonlanthen and Sikora, the duo that had looked so dangerous on paper, which must have pleased Koeman. Yet NAC would still threaten the home goal on a couple of occasions. First Zonneveld found himself eye to eye with Lodewijks, but the experienced keeper tipped the effort round the post. Lodewijks came to the rescue again not long after when Sander van Gessel tried his luck, while at the other end Boussaboun might have added to the Feyenoord total, but his shot whisked just wide.
Feyenoord - NAC Breda 2-0
24’ 1-0 Pardo
70’ 2-0 Kuyt
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Saidi, Greene, Bahia; Ghaly, Schreuder (89’ De Graaf), Paauwe (74’ Bosschaart), Pardo; Boussaboun, Kuyt, Kalou.
NAC Breda: Schollen; Elshot, Mendes da Silva, Zwaanswijk, Vidmar; Jenner, Zonneveld (86’ Slot), Van Gessel; Sikora (75’ Rigters), Van Hooijdonk, Vonlanthen (75’ Diba).