The home team kept almost the same formation as coach van Marwijk had invested his hopes in during the less than successful preseason. The only modification was the inclusion of Kees van Wonderen, who returned from injury to reclaim his place in midfield after weeks on the sidelines.
Feyenoord started strongly pushing the tempo from the off. Clearly the mark was Danko Lazovic, who played as an out-and-out target man. The Serbian certainly looked committed to the cause, chasing for every ball and holding onto it when he had it.
Lazovic was close to grabbing the opener in the first period, not least on 41 minutes, when he drove in a venomous effort that Gentenaar blocked with a reflex. A goal at that stage would have been deserved, but the first half ended with the sides all-square.
To the relief of the forty odd thousand Feyenoord supporters the first goal of the season came seven minutes into the second half. And it was Serbia’s Lazovic who grabbed it, pouncing on the ball in the box ahead of keeper Gentenaar to open his Eredivisie account, a fact that the newcomer celebrated exuberantly with his new home crowd.
The goal didn’t push Feyenoord on to better things however, and it was NEC that pressed most as the half progressed. A long-range drive by Ax was only just tipped over the bar by a very alert Edwin Zoetebier.
Fortunately when the goal did come it came at the right end from a Rotterdam point of view. A mix-up in the visitor’s defence ended up with Ebbinge knocking his own keeper to the ground and Buffel was able to slide the ball across the line for 2-0.
Not long after that Lazovic left the pitch with a limp that the Feyenoord staff will be concerned about.
Right at the death, Paawue brought down Tumba in the box and Wielaert stroked home a consolation penalty for NEC, but the game was played and Feyenoord’s first three points of the season were safe.
Feyenoord-NEC 2-1 (0-0
52’ 1-0 Lazovic
74’ 2-0 Buffel
90’ 2-1 Wielaert (pen.)
Referee: J. van Hulten
Yellows: Paauwe, Kuyt, Wisgherhof, Zonneveld
Feyenoord: Zoetebier; Song, Van den Berg, Paauwe, De Nooijer; Kuyt, Van Wonderen, Schreuder, Van Persie; Buffel, Lazovic (76’ Pardo).
NEC: Gentenaar; Wisgerhof, Wielaert, Ebinge, Leiwakabessy;Schuurman, Govedarica, Zonneveld, Hersi (70’ Ax); Demouge (73’ Tumba), De Nooijer.