An early-bird goal by Robin van Persie was the basis of a fine Feyenoord victory at FC Utrecht Sunday, but things didn’t go smoothly the whole afternoon in an exciting encounter. After a swift equaliser from the home side, the Rotterdammers had the same Van Persie sent off for a reckless challenge, before bagging all three points with an opportunist strike by Tomas Buffel to keep up the pressure at the top of the table.

Feyenoord were given a dream start by Robin van Persie on three minutes. De Nooijer surged forward before feeding Kalou on the right. The African’s cross seemed to have come to nothing, but as the ball came out Van Persie struck with his right foot. Te ball cannoned off a wall of home players, but the youngster pounced on the rebound to guide the ball into the bottom corner for one-nil. Robin van Persie was the man most likely to in that phase of the game, while on the other wing Kalou continued his dire form. The visiting fans might have hoped for more goals, but instead of doubling the lead, the Rotterdammers found themselves level on eleven minutes when Glusevic was given the time to control a cross before stroking home past a helpless Lodewijks as Paauwe and De Nooijer looked on. The equaliser gave the home side a lift and the game suddenly exploded into life. First Glusevic missed a good chance and then referee Van Egmond decided to put his stamp on the game, when Robin van Persie fouled Vreven, who jumped a foot in the air in reaction. As Utrecht players piled in to complain, even coach Booy implored the man in the middle to show the red card and he did. The loss of Van Persie gave FC Utrecht an added boost and Feyenoord found themselves under all sorts of pressure. The Rotterdammers were thankful to make halftime without conceding, but within a minute of the restart the home side almost grabbed the lead. Van Marwijk surely hoped that the introduction of Kike Acuña would give his side more balance, but Emerton let in Glusevic and was grateful to see De Nooijer mop up before the Utrecht striker could profit. De Nooijer was forced to leave the field a little later with a knock, to be replaced by Glenn Loovens, but the youth international was unable to give Feyenoord the oomph they needed to regain control of the game. Indeed, it was a fine display by Patrick Lodewijks in the goal that kept the visitors in the game. After Kalou was replaced by Lurling, ten-man Feyenoord finally made the breakthrough. Loosening the grip of the home side, the Rotterdammers earned a scarce corner. As Paul Bosvelt made his presence felt at the near post Tomas Buffel made the most of the confusion in the box to net and give the visitors the lead with less than twenty minutes on the clock. Feyenoord were able to protect the lead for the remainder of the match to secure three vital points at this stage of the season against a top six side. FC Utrecht-Feyenoord 1-2 (1-1) 3’ 0-1 Van Persie 11’ 1-1 Glusevic 72’ 1-2 Buffel FC Utrecht: Wapenaar; Vreven, Schut, Zwaanswijk, Sjew Atjon (51’ Arts); De Jong (73’ Chaiat), Bosschaart, Tanghe, Van den Bergh; Glusevic (81’ Jochemsen), Kuyt. Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Emerton, Van Wonderen, De Nooijer (51’ Loovens), Paauwe; Kalou (68’ Lurling), Bosvelt, Ono (46’ Acuña), Van Persie; Buffel, Van Hooijdonk Referee: Van Egmond Yellow cards: Vreven, Lodewijks, Buffel Red card: Van Persie
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