Feyenoord has started the new football season badly. The reigning champions could only avoid defeat in the final minutes away at fellow Rotterdammers Sparta Rotterdam: 2-2. Feyenoord was unable to defeat Fortuna Sittard at home last week in the first round of the Eredivisie season in a goalless draw and had also lost 1-0 to PSV a week before that in the Johan Cruijff Schaal.
“We want blood, sweat, and tears,” the traveling Feyenoord supporters sang to the players after the match. Dropping points was a rarity for the Rotterdammers in the Eredivisie last season, as they only lost two games. They were against PSV (4-3) and Vitesse (0-1). Feyenoord were already champions when they faced Vitesse in May.
Goalkeeper Justin Bijlow was absent at Het Kasteel with a wrist injury. Timon Wellenreuther replaced him; the same thing happened last season in the away match against Sparta. The German played a significant role on that occasion, saving a penalty. Feyenoord picked up a hard-fought victory in April ( late 3-1) and took a big step towards the title.
This time Feyenoord struggled again. Slot is still searching for the best formation for his midfield. Ramiz Zerrouki was dropped to the bench after a disappointing display against Fortuna Sittard.
Calvin Stengs had a big chance after half an hour in a reasonably even game. Goalkeeper Nick Olij saved his shot well. The ball did hit the net at the other side shortly before halftime. The Canadian striker Charles-Andreas Brym scored from an assist by ex-Feyenoorder Jonathan de Guzman.
At halftime, Slot left Alireza Jahanbaksch behind in the dressing room, bringing on the 17-year-old Slovakian Leo Sauer for his debut. Sparta struck again in the 54th minute through Brym for the second time:2-0.
Feyenoord started on their final attacks, which were often successful last season. And it was again on this occasion. The Mexican striker Santiago Gimenez headed home to half the deficit in the 77th minute. Feyenoord added to the pressure. Sparta stayed strong for a long time and missed the opportunity to make it 3-1 on the counterattack.
Sauer scored the 2-2 beautifully in injury time, and Olij saved Sparta from defeat after that.