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Feyenoord kick off 2021 with derby victory

Feyenoord returned from the winter break on Sunday with a short trip across the city to Sparta Rotterdam. Dick Advocaat’s side proved too strong for their northern neighbours at their Kasteel stadium, running out 2-0 winners. The win pushes Feyenoord into third place in the Eredivisie, just a few points off the summit with top two Ajax and PSV set to lock horns in the final fixture of the weekend.

The opening encounter of 2021 was always going to be a tough one for the visitors. The Rotterdam derby at Sparta is often a hard-fought fixture. The 2021 edition proved to be no exception, as the game hung in the balance until the final seconds.

Deserved lead
The hosts failed to put Feyenoord under much pressure in the first half though. The visitors were able to get their passing game up and running on the artificial surface, creating a clutch of chances, while Sparta found the going harder. So when the opener came for the visitors it was certainly not against the run of play. Lutsharel Geertruida it was who netted on 22 minutes.

A corner was partially cleared, but when the ball was pumped back into the box, Marcos Senesi nodded it on to the right back, who headed it in from a few yards out. The goal was initially ruled out for offside, but replays proved the opposite and Feyenoord had the lead. It was Geertruida’s fourth Eredivisie goal of the campaign.

Pratto debuts, Haps returns
A second Feyenoord goal looked on the cards but failed to materialise. The biggest chance fell to debutant Lucas Pratto (who hit a post and then messed up a shot) and Luis Sinisterra (who chipped over). Ridgeciano Haps, who came on to seal his return after two and a half months out injured, replacing Sinisterra, threatened too, but the ball would just not go in.

It meant that Sparta Rotterdam stayed in the game until the bitter end and even menaced the Feyenoord goal as the clock ticked down. The visitors needed to show plenty of resolve to defend their lead before substitute Nicolai Jørgensen wrapped up the win deep into time added on. The Dane’s shot sneaked in at the near post to make it 2-0.

Top three
The victory leaves Feyenoord in third place in the Eredivisie on 32 points from 15 matches. That’s just two points behind leaders Ajax, whose game against second place PSV, a point better off than Advocaat’s side, was the weekend’s late fixture. Vitesse are fourth, also on 32 points, with AZ one place and four points down.