Nine days after the passing of Carlo de Leeuw De Kuip paid its respects one more time with a minute’s applause. Fans, players and staff joined together for an emotional send off.
The focus then turned to the game itself, but it soon became clear that the players had paid an emotion toll that had sapped their energy. The squad had spent time with Luis Sinisterra on Sunday after news came through that the Colombian would be out for six to eight months with a serious injury.
Steven Berghuis showed exactly how he and his team mates felt about that when he netted the opening goal just early in the second half. The captain led his men in a sprint to the bench to hold up Sinisterra’s shirt in solidarity.
The goal came from a penalty awarded by referee Bas Nijhuis on the advice of VAR. The opener could have set the hosts free after a difficult first half, but the next goal came at the other end. Fortuna Sittard benefited from another VAR- powered penalty decision. Mark Diemers netted.
With less than a half hour left to play the game was in the balance. And with no strikers on the bench Feyenoord were by no means the team most likely to get the breakthrough. But then up stepped Róbert Bozeník for the second time in a week. He followed up his winner at Zwolle with the decisive strike, guiding in Rick Karsdorp’s cross.
Feyenoord saw if over the line from there, with Sven van Beek coming off the bench for the first time since preseason. The seventh successive Eredivisie win keeps them on course for European football next season.