Feyenoord take giant step toward national title at Sparta after slip Ajax
Watch the summary of Sparta Rotterdam – Feyenoord
With seven games to go, the difference between the leaders and number two Ajax and number three PSV is eight points. Ajax and PSV still meet each other and AZ, where Feyenoord’s toughest opponent on paper is FC Utrecht.
Ajax and Feyenoord play each other next week in the semifinals of the cup tournament. The Rotterdammers are also still active in the Europa League, while Ajax and PSV have already played out their European matches.
See the standings in the premier league below.
Beforehand, the game with Sparta was labeled as one of the difficult hurdles Feyenoord still had to overcome. Maurice Steijn’s team is enjoying one of the best seasons in the club’s history. Rotterdam’s second club is firmly in sixth place and has proven to be a tough opponent for any team.
Quick goal Feyenoord
At Het Kasteel, Feyenoord managed to quickly break down the Spartan wall anyway. The Rotterdammers had to miss the suspended Oussama Idrissi, but as so often this season, it matters little to Feyenoord who plays up front.
Indeed, his replacement Igor Paixão made it 1-0 after just under a quarter of an hour. The Brazilian fired the ball into the net from a deflected corner kick.
Feyenoord was stronger than Sparta in an attractive first half, but out of nowhere the home side came alongside. Defender Michael Pinto stepped up and then poked the ball behind goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther from the edge of the penalty area.
The same Wellenreuther was invaluable twice for Feyenoord just before halftime. First he saved a Vito van Crooij effort, which came face to face with Wellenreuther after a razor-sharp Sparta counter.
Wellenreuther stops Sparta penalty kick
Just minutes later Wellenreuther, the replacement for Justin Bijlow who was also important in the win over Ajax two weeks ago, won another one-on-one duel with Van Crooij, this time from 11 meters. Referee Dennis Higler had given Sparta a penalty kick after a Van Crooij cross landed on Mats Wieffer’s arm.
Watch interviews with Arne Slot, Mats Wieffer (Feyenoord) and Maurice Steijn (Sparta) below.
Feyenoord pressed after halftime and soon thought they were entitled to a penalty kick. Defender Bart Vriends clearly touched the ball with his hand in a duel with striker Santiago Giménez, but Higler and VAR did not think it was enough for the penalty.
Reward for work
The Rotterdammers created plenty of chances, but Sebastian Szymanski in particular had no luck in finishing on several occasions. Twenty minutes before time, Feyenoord got reward for their efforts.
Giménez, who first shot a chance high over, was sent away by Jahanbakhsh and cleverly tapped the ball past goalkeeper Nick Olij. Not much later, defender David Hancko decided the game by tucking in the 3-1.