Feyenoord pull win out of the fire against Vitesse

Feyenoord claimed their eighth successive home win in the Eredivisie on Sunday. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side showed tenacity, coming back from a goal down to beat Vitesse 2-1. The hosts’ goals came from Eric Botteghin and Robin van Persie. In a lively end to the match, winning goal scorer Van Persie was shown a red card, as were Vitesse players Danilho Doekhi and Thomas Bruns.

Feyenoord started in a changed formation against their visitors from Arnhem. Kenneth Vermeer took over in goal from the injured Justin Bijlow (knee), with Sam Larsson, not yet back to full fitness with a foot problem, named on the bench. The Swede’s replacement was Jens Toornstra, with Dylan Vente starting up front and Robin van Persie in behind him as an attacking midfielder.

Setback before the break
The new formation found it hard to get going, failing to create any real opportunities. Indeed, it was Vitesse who struck first through Matús Bero on 32 minutes. The striker’s original header rattled against the post, but he pounced on the rebound to slide the ball under Vermeer’s body. Feyenoord were unable to reply before the half-time whistle.

Van Bronckhorst acted at the break to give his side more offensive clout, bringing on Larsson for Toornstra. The head coach was rewarded for his proactiveness, as Feyenoord forced three corners in as many minutes. The equaliser came from the last in that series. Steven Berghuis floated one over for Eric Botteghin, who headed in.

Hectic ending
The hosts were given a boost on 63 minutes, when Thomas Bruns was shown a red card for clattering into Jordy Clasie from behind. As the half wore on, both winger Roy Beerens and striker Tim Matavz were forced off with injuries, leaving Feyenoord in the driving seat.

The goal finally came on 88 minutes. Vitesse conceded a free kick about 25 metres out and Van Persie smashed an effort into the top corner to edge the hosts ahead. The club captain must have been buzzing after scoring what looked like the winner, because within seconds he made a rash two-footed challenge from behind on an opposing player and was red-carded.

That was not the end of the card shower, though, as Danilho Doekhi picked up his second yellow of the afternoon not long after and also took the walk of shame down the tunnel.

Second place
The win keeps Feyenoord in joint second in the Eredivisie. After seven matches, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side have 16 points, as do Ajax and Heracles Almelo. Next week, the head coach takes his team to Tilburg, where Willem II provide the opposition (kick-off 14:30 CET).

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