Utrecht is traditionally a difficult place to go, so Feyenoord will be up for it Sunday afternoon when the two sides meet. Bearing in mind that a failure to win will knock Rotterdam hopes of a second place finish in the Eredivisie there is sure to be plenty of endeavor from Bert van Marwijk’s men. The coach will be hoping that midweek events have not taken too much out of his players.

Robin van Persie returned to training Saturday to loud applause from the watching fans and is expected to take his place on the bench. Van Persie and Kike Acuña were attacked by Ajax ‘fans’ at the end of the reserve game between the Ajax and Feyenoord earlier this week in a mass pitch invasion involving knife-wielding Amsterdammers and a lot of hateful feelings. Van Persie complained of a very painful neck and head after the incident, but he’s tried to put a potential trauma behind him to concentrate on what it should be all about: a game of football. The same indeed goes for the whole Feyenoord squad, which has been rocked by the events of the week.

Utrecht is always a difficult place for Feyenoord to go, but the Rotterdammers are in good form. Last week’s draw at home to Ajax was celebrated like a victory, which shows the spirit in the club at the moment. Bert van Marwijk’s men have not lost since the reverse at home to AZ, and while the second place is still only a dream, the side can be proud of how it’s turned things round since Christmas.

Edwin Zoetebier continues his run in goal and anyone who witnessed his performance last week will not be unhappy about that. Chong-Gug Song returns to the defence after a suspension. The player to make way is Chris Gyan.

Dirk Kuyt and Thomas Buffel have been hard workers up front for Feyenoord this campaign. Buffel leads the scorers’ list with 14 strikes, with Kuyt a goal behind him, so their may be some friendly rivalry between the two in the last five games. Both know that it would be an honour to call himself top scorer at the end of the season, but both are also dedicated team players who would rather pick up three points than score and fail to win.

Three points and a goal for each would be the perfect solution.

Holland Casino Eredivise, 18 April 2004
Kick-off: 12.30 pm
Venue: Galgenwaard, Utrecht

Probable team
Zoetebier; Song, Van den Berg, Paauwe, Mtiliga; Smolarek, Ono, Ghaly, Lurling; Buffel, Kuyt.

Feyenoord Business CLub