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Feyenoord back to winning ways in Venlo

Feyenoord bagged all three points for the first time in three league matches at VVV-Venlo on Sunday. Dick Advocaat had seen his side extend their unbeaten run in the Eredivisie in recent weeks, but Feyenoord had done so with draws against FC Utrecht and Heracles Almelo. In Limburg, Advocaat’s men scored three without reply to claim a welcome win.

The 3-1 victory at Fortuna Sittard on 22 November was the last time Feyenoord had won in the Eredivisie and some had started to raise concerns, not least because of the lack of goals. Dick Advocaat’s side had scored just once in five starts, a 1-1 draw against FC Utrecht. Otherwise, goaless draws against CSKA Moscow (0-0) and Heracles Almelo (0-0) and losses to Dinamo Zagreb (0-2) and Wolfsberger AC (0-1) had seen Feyenoord slide down the Eredivisie table and tumble out of the Europa League.

But Advocaat has been in the game long enough to know that a good result can give a club a huge lift. With that in mind, the away trip at VVV-Venlo was clearly a big opportunity for Feyenoord. And yet, for almost 70 minutes they displayed the same difficulties they had in those recent performances. Feyenoord did have a lot more efforts on goal in Venlo than in recent weeks, but the breakthrough was not forthcoming.

Sweet release
After a match of bits and pieces but no real nailed-on chances Jens Toornstra finally inched his side ahead on 69 minutes. Rather than relying on tikkie-takkie, the breakthrough came from a good old-fashioned piledriver from distance. Toornstra’s aim was hard and true into the top left-hand corner, leaving keeper Delano van Crooij with no chance. Four minutes later Steven Berghuis doubled the lead with a left-footed shot. Toornstra completed the scoring on 77 minutes to wrap up the win with a tap-in.

Defensively, Feyenoord were scarcely troubled by the VVV-Venlo attackers. But it wasn’t all good news, as Berghuis was forced to retire early. The extent of the injury is unclear. But the loss of Berghuis was tempered by the introduction of Leroy Fer. He ended weeks of injury misery, coming on as a substitute for João Teixeira.

Back in the mix
Fer’s return is certainly a boost ahead of the final couple of games before the festive break. Next week Feyenoord head out east to take on Vitesse. The Arnhem side now trail Feyenoord on goal difference in the table after drawing this weekend against sc Heerenveen. Fittingly, that’s the side who will provide Feyenoord’s final test of the year on 23 December.