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Rotterdam derby ends in stalemate

Feyenoord pulled a point out of the fire in the final stages of Sunday’s Eredivisie opener against Sparta Rotterdam at De Kuip. The visitors from across town twice took the lead, but head coach Jaap Stam’s side fought back on both occasions. Steven Berghuis got the first equaliser, with substitute Sam Larsson digging out a second leveller on 95 minutes.

The hosts started strongly and created a string of chances in the first half, but without reward. New man Luis Sinisterra, making his debut as a starter was particularly lively. Yet it was the visitors from the other side of the city who got the breakthrough not long after the break. The match was 49 minutes old when home keeper Kenneth Vermeer was enticed far from his goal to defuse a shooting opportunity. It meant he was hopelessly out of position and unable to block Mohamed Rayhi’s hard shot, which hit the back of the net.

Steven Berghuis brought Feyenoord level on 66 minutes, sliding in a Ridgeciano Haps cross, but Sparta struck again within ten minutes. Substitute Lars Veldwijk was left unmarked in front of Vermeer, putting his side ahead again with a shot off the keeper’s body. In reply, Stam brought on Sam Larsson, Luciano Narsingh and Naoufal Bannis as Feyenoord looked to salvage at least a point.

The goal finally came five minutes into time added on. Narsingh had already spurned a huge chance from a few metres out, but Larsson was more clinical from an almost identical position. The Swede’s strike ensured that Feyenoord did not start the season with a home loss.

The Eredivisie season continues next week with a trip to sc Heerenveen on Sunday, but, before then, Dinamo Tbilisi provide the opposition in the third qualifying round of the Europa League at De Kuip on Thursday evening.