In the end it was a simple and not too energetic afternoon for the UEFA Cup semifinalists.
Bert van Marwijk made one change to Thursday’s line-up, bringing in Leonardo for the injured Van Persie on the left, the first start for the Brazilian in an Eredivisie game since 14 October. Behind him at the back Thomasz Rzasa kept his place ahead of Mauricio Aros.
It was obvious that Sparta would be hoping to stay in the game as long as possible to perhaps profit from tired legs in the Feyenoord team after the visitor’s midweek exploits, but it was not to be, because Feyenoord were ahead on 7 minutes. Kalou lost the ball in first instance, but won it back and ran to the deadball line before sending in a superb cross towards Tomasson, who let the ball run on to Emerton, and the Aussie slotted home at the far post.
Sparta looked to have recovered well from the early setback, and Sanou shot just wide, but Feyenoord struck again on 14 minutes to double their advantage. Leonardo crossed, Van Hooijdonk headed towards goal and Tomasson knocked the ball over the line to give Rotterdam’s finest a comfortable two-goal cushion.
It looked like plain sailing would be the order of the day after that, but Feyenoord did come under pressure from a dogged home side. Edwin Zoetebier suffered a head injury at the hands, or rather boots, of Sanou, although the goalie did not seem to be worse for wear after treatment and continued. Sparta kept pressing and might have pulled a goal back through Koevermans, Sanou or Zijm. The game was taking more out of Feyenoord than appeared necessary.
Once again however, it was the boys from south of the river that made the most of their chances. In stoppage time Van Hooijkdonk knocked in his 23rd of the season in the Eredivisie from a Leonardo cross and the visitors went in all smiles at the break.
Within seconds of the restart the home side were four down. Leonardo’s shot looked too weak to trouble keeper Kros, but Sparta’s last man blundered, the ball ended up over the line and the game was even more over than it was at halftime.
Feyenoord were happy to take things easy after that. Even so, they did manage another goal before the end, when Bosvelt scored from close in. That was the signal for Van Marwijk to replace the deadly duo Tomasson and Van Hooijdonk with Smolarek and Elmander, and Igor Korneev made an appearance before the end, but the game was played and the three points in the bag well before that.
Sparta-Feyenoord 0-5 (0-3)
7’ 0-1 Emerton
14’ 0-2 Tomasson
45’ 0-3 Van Hooijdonk
48’ 0-4 Leonardo
62’ 0-5 Bosvelt
Sparta: Kros; Tromme;, Goossen, Marillia, De Fauw; Zijm, (46’ Boukari), Winter, Bouchiba, Nieuwenburg (46’ Mendes da Silva); Sanou, Koevermans.
Feyenoord: Zoetebier; Emerton, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Rzasa; Kalou, Bosvelt, Ono, Leonardo (77’ Korneev); Tomasson (69’ Smolarek), Van Hooijdonk (69’ Elmander)
Yellow card: Fauw, Smolarek