Ahead of the first match after the international break the main talking point in the home camp was covid-19. After two positive virus tests, Dick Advocaat was forced to do without seven players. It meant that Róbert Bozeník started for the first time since October, with Leroy Fer and Mark Diemers also coming in to the starting eleven after injury layoffs.
Feyenoord certainly began with alacrity, although they were not at their technical best. So while the hosts soon gained the upper hand, it took a while before territory and possession were exploited fully and major chances began to be created.
Bozeník went closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half. His first effort was a shot that whizzed wide. On the half hour he did hit the back of the net, but the Slovak international saw the goal ruled out for offside.
The fans watching from home were up off their sofas five minutes into the second half, though. The breakthrough came from a delightful link-up between Steven Berghuis and Bryan Linssen. The Oranje international, who was playing with plenty of confidence after his goals for the national side, whipped in a mouthwatering ball from the right-wing, which Linssen stooped to nod in powerfully. It was the diminutive attacker’s 21st headed Eredivisie goal of his career.
Berghuis turned finisher late in the second half to wrap up the win. Sengalese substitute Aliou Balde once again showed that he has a great deal of potential with a fine piece of skill that left his captain with only keeper Yanick van Osch to beat. Berghuis slotted home his 16th goal of the season. That makes Berghuis the Eredivisie’s MVP at the moment, bearing in mind he also has 12 assists this season.With Feyenoord well in control Advocaat was able to introduce Rotterdam native Achraf El Bouchataoui with around 15 minutes to go. The 21-year-old replaced Leroy Fer to make his debut for the club he first joined when he was five years of age.