A Salomon Kalou hat trick helped Feyenoord edge past Ajax into third place in the Eredivisie as the Rotterdammers swept away the challenge of high-flying AZ at De Kuip Sunday. Romeo Castelen scored the other goal in a convincing win in front of more than 51,000 fans. It was sweet revenge for the loss Feyenoord suffered to the Alkmaar club earlier in the season, but the fact that Feyenoord continue to creep up the table will cause more joy in Rotterdam.

Gullit started with Pascal Bosschaart at the back and Hossam Ghaly back in midfield after some time on the sidelines due to a knee injury. Gullit has gone on record saying that Ghlay can become one of the best midfielders in Europe and the Egyptian needed little more than a couple of minutes to back up Gullit’s claims, sending Kalou on his way with a breathtaking pass. The Ivorian was clearly in exciting form, speeding past Kromkamp before laying the ball up for Bart Goor, whose drive hit keeper Timmer.

The attack was characteristic of the first half, in which Kalou gave Kromkamp a real run for his money. Indeed, on 18 the Ivorian was too fast for his homegrown opponent and the result was a goal for Feyenoord. Kalou was fed by Goor on the edge of the area and shot the ball into the corner of the goal in a graceful movement that had the fans on their feet.

The goal came at just the right time for the home team, as the visitors were getting back into the match after a dominant opening phase from the Rotterdammers. Tarik Sektioui sounded the first warning with a shot that Babos had little trouble holding onto, but the Hungarian had more problems with a Kenneth Perez cross that had to be turned over for a corner.

Feyenoord extended their lead three minutes before the turnaround however. Kuyt picked out Castelen all alone in a promising position and the striker struck a sweet drive that had Timmer well beaten.

AZ looked to be staring only their second league defeat of the season in the face a minute after the break. Kalou it was who grabbed his second of the afternoon when he juggled the ball from right foot to left before whipping in a stunning drive that left keeper Timmer wondering what had happened as the ball whistled past him into the far corner.

The visitors grabbed a goal back almost immediately. Lindenbergh found Nelisse in space directly in front of Babos’s goal and the ex-Feyenoorder converted.

The goal didn’t really affect the home side’s confidence however and the chances continued to come for the Maassiders. Shinji Ono shot just wide and Castelen forced Timmer to save with his legs, but it was down to marksman Kalou to shoot Feyenoord back into a three-goal lead on 63. Bosschaart found the Ivorian in space and the striker made no mistake.

The triple strike earned Kalou a standing ovation not long after when coach Gullit gave him a well-earned rest, bringing on Leonardo in his stead. With the star of the show on the bench the game lost some of its creative sparkle.

AZ did grab a consolation with three left on the clock through Michael Buskermolen but by then the points were safely in the bag and Feyenoord safely back in third place in the Eredivisie.

Feyenoord – AZ 4-2
18´ 1-0 Kalou
42´ 2-0 Castelen
46´ 3-0 Kalou
48´ 3-1 Nelisse
63´ 4-1 Kalou
87´ 4-2 Buskermolen

Feyenoord: Babos; Östlund, Saidi, Gibbs, Bosschaart; Castelen, Ono, Ghaly
(79. Hofs), Goor; Kalou (71. Leonardo), Kuyt (75. Lazovic).
AZ: Timmer; Kromkamp, Mathijsen (46. Jaliens), Opdam (52. Buskermolen), De
Cler; Landzaat, Sektioui, Lindenbergh; Nelisse, Van Galen (52. Huysegems), Perez.

Yellow: De Cler

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