Ajax & Vitesse stutter – Week 21 round-up

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Eredivisie

After a dream result on Friday night at De Kuip for league leaders Ajax, as Vitesse dropped another two points in a draw against Feyenoord, Ajax failed to capitalise on Sunday drawing themselves with FC Utrecht.

FEYENOORD 1-1 VITESSE

Vitesse’s returning captain Guram Kashia grabbed a vital point for his side in a high-octane entertaining match in Rotterdam.

The away side dominated the action early on and had the majority of the possession; however, it was Feyenoord, who took the lead on 39 minutes. It was the ItalianGraziano Pellè once again getting the goal.

After some good build-up play and a blocked shot from Daryl Janmaat’s long-range effort the ball fell to young winger Jean-Paul Boëtius on the left-wing. The 19-year-old whipped a ball into the front post where the Italian popped up to head home.

In the second half, the roles were reversed – Guram Kashia carried the ball up the pitch with a marauding run. The ball was dished out to Renato Ibarra on the right-wing and his cross was headed home by Kashia, after he continued his run into the area.

In the final stages both teams had some good chances to earn a victory but were unable to break the deadlock.

HEERENVEEN 3-0 ADO DEN HAAG

After head coach Marco van Basten announced this past week that he would be leaving the club at the end of the season, Heerenveen stepped up to the plate and delivered three season half goals to defeat ADO. Heerenveen’s latest signing, Anthony Lurling, who will be 37 in April, replaced Luciano Slagveer in the side but he failed to inspire this new side in the first half which was lacklustre, due to the attacking performances from both teams. Both midfields constantly failed to link up with their forwards and give the ball away to each other, and were restricted to long-range efforts which never bothered either goalkeeper. The score at half-time was goal-less.

The hosts pressed after the break and took the lead in controversial fashion that referee Ed Janssen under huge protests from the ADO players. Hakim Ziyech whipped in a free-kick from the right-wing which sailed into the arms of ADO goalkeeper Gino Coutinho low on the ground. Tom Beugelsdijk was marking Kenny Otigba who was heading towards the ball and both players momentum sent Otigba into the ball to knock it home. Coutinho did have two hands on the ball but the goal was given.

The advantage was doubled ten minutes later, when a spot-kick was awarded when Bilal Basacikoglu was weakly pushed over by Aaron Meijers. This gave Alfred Finnbogason the opportunity to score his 20th goal in just 18 games, which he duly took, coolly chipping the ball down the middle of the goal.

ADO applied pressure to try and get back into the game but the points were cemented deep into stoppage time. Heerenveen absorbed the attacks and sent Rajiv van la Parra on the counter attack to make it three.

PEC ZWOLLE 3-1 RODA JC

Jon Dahl Tomasson suffered his first league defeat as Roda manager as they fell to an improving PEC Zwolle side in a quiet an even game. The away side failed to keep possession early on and in the 19th minute, New Zealand international Ryan Thomas gave Zwolle the lead. After Roda were unable to clear a corner, the ball fell to Thomas who slid home from close range.

As the first-half petered out and it looked like Thomas had scored the only goal of the game until after the half-time break. Tomasson’s side pressed for an equaliser and found the goal just after the hour mark after some great play from man-of-the-moment Guus Hupperts. Hupperts weaved his way past defenders into the box and foundMitchell Donald at the back post to tap into an empty net.

Roda looked more likely to grab a second but against the run of play, Zwolle were awarded a penalty on 77 minutes, after Thomas was adjudged to be bundled over by Bart Biemans by referee Bjorn Kuipers. It was a poor decision from the ref as video replays showed that Thomas had gone down easy from a shoulder nudge. Guyon Fernandez converted the spot-kick sending Filip Kurto in the opposite direction.

The points were cemented two minutes into stoppage time when substitute Fred Benson fired home Zwolle’s third. After Kurto had stopped Mateusz Klich and Thanasis Karagounis’s close range effort, Benson finished to send the home side home happy.

HERACLES 1-2 NAC BREDA

NAC Breda defeated Heracles by two goals to one to leapfrog them into the top ten and win their first game in three matches. Breda had goalkeeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar to thank in the opening half-hour after the hosts began the better of the two sides.  However, at the other end Remko Pasveer gifted NAC the lead in the 38th minute with Jordy Buijs getting his third goal of the season. The Heracles ‘keeper failed to catch a corner and Buijs prodded home the opening goal.

Jan de Jonge’s men pressed for an equaliser but watched his side concede another just after the hour mark. Mats Seuntkens turned Jason Davidson on the right-wing and whipped in a pin-perfect cross to Rydell Popeon in the middle of the area to head past Pasveer.

Ten minutes later, Heracles did get a goal back through top scorer Bryan Linssen. Simon Cziommer surged into the right area of the box and looped a ball towards goal where Linssen rose above everyone to make it 2-1.

Linssen nearly got his eighth goal of the campaign to equalise near the end of the game, but Rouwelaar again, kept his team in it to fire his team into the top ten.

AZ ALKMAAR 2-0 FC GRONINGEN

Two first-half Nemanja Gudelj goals gave AZ a great 2-0 win over FC Groningen. It was a great start for Dick Advocaat’s men as Gudelj opened the scoring in just the third minute of play. From a Celso Ortiz free-kick, the ball fell kindly in the area for the Serbian midfielder to strike off Groningen defender Eric Botteghin and past Marco Bizot in the visitors’ goal.

AZ smelt blood and attacked Groningen relentlessly until the Serbian made it two in the 17th minute, and it was a great volleyed effort. After Steven Berghuis curled a low ball into the box, Gudelj acrobatically hit a right foot smash past Bizot.

Groningen improved after the internval but were unable to breach the AZ defence, and now the Alkmaar side has won two of its last three Eredivisie matches to climb to sixth place with 30 points, moving the club two points clear of their opponents today.

FC UTRECHT 1-1 AJAX

League leaders Ajax failed to take advantage of Vitesse’s slip-up on Friday with a 1-1 draw on their own against the struggling FC Utrecht. In Friday night’s game second placed Vitesse were held at fourth placed Feyenoord giving Ajax a chance to extend their lead at the top of Eredivisie. However, Frank de Boer’s side dropped two points at Jan Wouters’ FC Utrecht side who were on a four-game losing streak before kick-off.

The hosts were roared on by the 19,245 inside the Stadion Galgenwaard and they nearly went ahead after just 8 minutes. Right-back Mark van der Maarel surged forward and combined with Stoke City’s Juan Agudelo, who back-heeled the ball back into Van der Maarel’s path who shot over. A minute later, Utrecht had another opportunity though captain Jens Toornstra, after the midfielder had beat Joël Veltman he unfortunately dragged his shot wide.

Ajax got themselves together after the two scares and started creating their own chances and central defender Niclas Moisander came close on 19 minutes. Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne curled a free-kick into the box from the right-wing and the Finnish defender rose above everyone and powered a header towards goal, only for Robbin Ruiter in the Utrecht goal to tip over.

The defending Eredivisie champions took the lead in the 25th minute and it was Daley Blind, the goalscorer. Blind started his career as a left-back but he is really excelling in his new found holding midfielder role and he lashed a low drive into the corner of the goal from 25 yards, the Utrecht crowd was silenced.

Only seven minutes, the scores were tied. Belgian striker Steve de Ridder, formerly of Southampton, deceived the Ajax defence to make it 1-1. A long ball from Ruiter was flicked on by Tommy Oar, the ball fell into the box, De Ridder slipped past Veltman, skipped the ball past Jasper Cillessen and slipped the ball into the empty net.

The Belgian nearly made it two early in the second half with a tremendous volleyed effort that gave Cillessen no chance of saving, but the ball smashed off the crossbar.

Fully aware of Friday’s result in the backs of their mind, Frank de Boer’s men pressed for a winner and on 57 minutes, they should have took the lead. Great link-up play from Thulani Serero and Viktor Fischer, eventually fed Fischer through on goal but the young Dane placed his shot the wrong side of the post.

Ajax had one last chance before the final whistle decided the draw, with Schöne lashing a volley from the right side of area direct from a long ball from Blind, but the midfielder’s effort smashed off the post and away to safety.

De Boer takes his side back to Amsterdam to face Groningen on Thursday night and with Vitesse facing the tough test of AZ Alkmaar on Tuesday, he knows that the champions could have another opportunity to pull away from the chasing pack, and this time the opportunity must not be missed.

FC Twente doet weer mee na moeizame zege op Cambuur

FC TWENTE 3-1 SC CAMBUUR

FC Twente came from behind to defeat Cambuur 3-1 to further claim third place with a game in hand and just four points off the top of the league. It was a tough game for Michel Jansen’s side especially when Cambuur headed to Enschede full of confidence after turning over Heerenveen 3-1 last weekend. Last week’s hero for Cambuur, new Nigerian striker Bartholomew Ogbeche controversially won his team a penalty that gave the visitors the lead. Tussling with Rasmus Bengtsson, Ogbeche linked arms with the defender while trying to pull himself back to his feet from a tackle and referee Pol Van Boekel pointed to the spot. Cambuur captain Ramon Leeuwin successful converted the spot-kick on 24 minutes.

Twente pressed for an equaliser with Luc Castaignos coming closest in the first half. Quincy Promes played the 21-year-old through on goal one-on-one with Leonard Nienhuis, but as the striker stretched for the ball he could only poke his effort against the post.

After the break, Twente were pushing the visitors into their own half and within 9 minutes of the restart the scores were level. The inspirational Dušan Tadić placed a right-wing free-kick into the box and Luc Castaignos powered a header past Nienhuis for 1-1.

Six minutes later, on the hour mark Twente had the lead. Tadić played a short corner low into substitute Shadrach Eghan on the edge of the area, the Ghanaian hit a low curling shot that bounced past Nienhuis to make it 2-1.

All three points were clinched 11 minutes from the end with another headed goal, this time Rasmus Bengtsson the scorer. Promes whipped in a corner to the front post and the big Swedish defender nodded home.

Twente now look to continue to their good run of nine games unbeaten away to Heerenveen on Tuesday evening.

NEC NIJMEGEN 1-1 GO AHEAD EAGLES

NEC and Go Ahead Eagles shared the points in a poor game, but it was a result that saw the home side lift off the bottom of the Eredivisie standings. The Nijmegen side will be disappointed not to grab all three points after leading for the majority of the game. They took an early lead with English striker Michael Higdon notching his eighth goal in 16 appearances after just five minutes gone.

Go Ahead did not grab an equalising goal until just before the hour mark with Deniz Türüç smashing home the goal of the weekend from 30 yards out.

RKC WAALWIJK 2-0 PSV

In what has become a bogey ground for PSV, the Mandemakers Stadion has haunted the Eindhoven side again. Former Celtic midfielder Evander Sno hit a double to give Phillip Cocu yet another embarrassing defeat. It was a case of the same old story for PSV with a total of 8 shots on target and 12 off with no goals. It is strange to say that PSV are struggling to score goals when you think of years past, but with only three goals in the last four goals, Cocu’s side could definitely do with something different up front.

PSV’s most dangerous man was Memphis Depay and he came the closest to scoring throughout, in fact he has 12 shots in total himself, and with only four being off target, that made all PSV’s shots on target being Depay’s.

The Eindhoven dominated with 69% of the possession and the majority coming in the first half, and PSV were unlucky not to be awarded a spot-kick on 23 minutes. Depay again causing trouble in the RKC area, and after he turned Michael Lamey inside out, the defender tugged Depay’s shirt and pulled him down but referee Bas Nijhuis deemed it not to be a foul.

After the interval, it was more of the same for PSV but Cocu had ordered his side to play higher up and it cost them on 54 minutes. Bursting out on the counter attack, Aurelien Joachim and Damiano Schet combined to play in Evander Sno down on the right-wing. The 26-year-old midfielder cut inside, kept his shot low and nutmegged PSV goalie Jeroen Zoet to send the Mandemakers Stadion into raptures.

Philip Cocu brought out attacking pair Zakaria Bakkali and Florian Jozefzoon to try and inject some energy in front of goal but the more PSV attacked, RKC sprung the counter.

It was all over deep into stoppage time when substitute Daniel de Ridder slipped in fellow sub Jean-David Beauguet on the left. The Frenchman pulled the ball back to Sno on the edge of the box who confidently side-footed a first-time effort past Zoet to end the game for PSV.

RESULTS

Feyenoord 1-1 Vitesse

Heerenveen 3-0 ADO Den Haag

PEC Zwolle 3-1 Roda JC

Heracles 1-2 NAC Breda

AZ Alkmaar 2-0 FC Groningen

FC Utrecht 1-1 Ajax

FC Twente 3-1 SC Cambuur

NEC Nijmegen 1-1 Go Ahead Eagles

RKC Waalwijk 2-0 PSV

STANDINGS

140202 - Eredivisie

Table courtesy of Fifa.com

WillBurns

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