Sparta were able to implement coach Henk Fraser’s plan for more than 90 minutes. The former Feyenoord man set his team up in a 5-3-2 formation, with three deep midfielders. That made it tough for the visitors, as Arne Slot’s men found it hard to penetrate the home wall.
Chances for strikers
In an encounter mostly played out in the middle of the field, the opportunities at both ends were few and far between. Feyenoord could have – should have – taken the lead through Bryan Linssen on 53 minutes. Linssen was put through by Luis Sinisterra, but Sparta keeper Okoye foiled his attempt at a nutmeg. Not long after, Sinisterra tested the Nigerian goalie with a shot that Okoye beat out.
Dessers came off the bench on 66 minutes to replace Linssen and had a chance to edge his side ahead, but he was unable to latch onto a promising Sinisterra cross.
The breakthrough finally came on 92 minutes. Orkun Kökcü pumped in a corner, which fell to Dessers, who netted with his right foot. The late goal was celebrated wildly on field by the players and in the packed away section by the ‘travelling’ fans.
Next up is a trip to the German capital for the UECL Group E match against Union Berlin on Thursday. Feyenoord will be backed by 5,100 fans at Stadion An der Alten Försterei. And the Eredivisie returns to de Kuip coming Sunday when AZ are the visitors.
- Cyriel Dessers