SPARTA-FEYENOORD, SUNDAY 24 MARCH 2.30 CET

Twenty-four hours were all Feyenoord had to bathe in the glory of a fine European victory and dream of taking on Internazionale. It’s now straight back down to business and it couldn’t be much more difficult than a city derby against struggling Sparta, led by former Dutch national coach Frank Rijkaard. The game is a vital one as Feyenoord chase the title, bearing in mind the day’s other big game sees vanquished rival PSV take on Ajax at the Philips Stadium.

The media has not been slow to suggest that Feyenoord will be concentrating on the UEFA Cup this season after the midweek win over PSV, but the club itself has another agenda than selling papers. The objectives are clear. ‘We are still battling on two fronts and you always have to try to keep it up as long as you can everywhere. That means we have to win at Sparta on Sunday.’ A packed Kasteel Stadium is always guaranteed when Feyenoord come to visit. Once the pride of Holland themselves, Sparta are no longer a force to be reckoned with week in, week out, but a derby game against the big boys is always likely to bring out the best in Rotterdam’s second club. Feyenoord will probably not relish the short trip. Van Marwijk for one is not taking the game lightly, despite Sparta’s league predicament. ‘That doesn’t mean too much to me. Fortuna are bottom and we had problems with that team too.’ Bert van Marwijk will change things around a bit after Thursday’s heroics, with Robin van Persie unlikely to recover from a knock. It may be the opportunity for the trainer to give both his left backs a start, with Aros in front of Rzasa. More credible however is a team boasting either the Brazilian Leonardo or fledgling Polish international Smolarek, with the Chilean at the back. PROBABLE TEAMS SPARTA Kros; Bouchiba, Marillia, Nieuwenburg, Zijm (De Fauw); Mendes da Silva (Trommel), Winter, Langerak; Sanou, Koevermans, Boukhari FEYENOORD Zoetebier; Emerton, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Aros (Rzasa); Kalou, Bosvelt, Ono, Leonardo (Smolarek); Tomasson, Van Hooijdonk
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