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Point is all Feyenoord can muster

FC Utrecht secured a point at De Kuip on Sunday as Feyenoord returned to action three days after their heroics in Moscow. Dick Advocaat’s side looked leggy and the 1-1 draw was a fair result in the end, based on territory, possession and chances, with Nick Marsman the standout man for the hosts. The home keeper backed up his strong performance in Russia with another good day’s work in cold conditions, helping extend Feyenoord’s unbeaten run in the Eredivisie.

Marsman was called into action early, denying Sander van der Streek a goal on three minutes. It set the tone for the rest of the half, as the home keeper had to be on his mettle to keep his side on level terms. He managed that until the final minutes of the half, when Mark van der Maarel netted. The ball was a long time coming down after a Utrecht corner and the right back caught it well, to claim the lead for his side.

Feyenoord’s lethargy against an energetic FC Utrecht side was not so much of a mystery after a gruelling midweek trip to Moscow. As well as playing much of the second half a player short, Feyenoord also returned with a couple of men down. Advocaat was left without Bart Nieuwkoop (ill) and Jens Toornstra (not fit enough), while Orkun Kökcü was ruled out by suspension after a red card.

All told, Advocaat was without six or seven regular starters. With Jordy Wehrmann and George Johnston handed their first starts, the hosts gave it everything they had, but were unable to get the engine turning at full tilt. The biggest chance for the hosts in the first half actually came from the head of Van der Maarel, who almost caught his own keeper out after ten minutes. It would have completed a remarkable first-half brace for the FC Utrecht player.

Feyenoord were left chasing an equaliser after the break, but even running on close to empty, the home side were not about to give up on their mission. Their mental resilience was rewarded midway through the second half when Lutsharel Geertruida levelled. A Berghuis cross was headed on by Marcos Senesi, who was having another strong game, coming to the defender, who netted with his left foot. It was Geertruida’s third Eredivisie goal of the season.

An unlikely winner proved just that, as Feyenoord ran out of steam and it was left to Marsman in the final stages to protect the hard-earned point. Advocaat will surely accept it gladly, without perhaps dwelling on this encounter, turning his attentions to Feyenoord’s next game. That comes as early as Thursday, when Feyenoord welcome Dinamo Zagreb to De Kuip in the fifth Europa League Group K fixture of the season, kick off 18:55 CET.

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