Ajax, Twente & Vitesse all slip up – Week 23 round-up

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Eredivisie

Feyenoord were only winners out of the top four this weekend as the Dutch football fans witnessed a massive THIRTY-ONE goals past through the Eredivisie nets this weekend.

Friday 7th February 2014

VITESSE 0-0 ADO DEN HAAG

Even though they held 74% of the possession, third placed Vitesse had to settle for a point against bottom side ADO Den Haag on Friday night.

It was an aggressive affair as both clubs are desperate for points for different reasons. ADO sacked Maurice Steijn in midweek and taking over, Henk Fraser will appreciate his start with an excellent point.

Poor finishing let the hosts down failing to score with 15 attempts and they best chances coming at the end of the game. ADO should have took the lead on 67 minutes if not for Vitesse ‘keeper Piet Velthuizen. Great play from Roland Alberg and Mike van Duinen set-up Danny Bakker free in the area, and the 19-year-old fired at goal only for Velthuizen to stick out a leg in a last ditch attempt to save and the gamble paid off. Great instinct from the goalkeeper.

In the dying moments of the game, substitute Mike Havanaar hit the post with an effort with ADO ‘keeper Gino Coutinho tipping over Frank van der Struijk’s headed effort a minute later.

Peter Bosz has to wonder whether or not his side in still in the title race, but Fraser will be the happier of the two coaches, with a point to help in the relegation struggle.

Saturday 8th February 2014

PSV 3-2 FC TWENTE

FC Twente’s title hopes were stalled by a resurgent PSV side in a fantastic five-goal thriller on Saturday evening.

It was a dream start for PSV who exploded out the blocks and took the lead after just seven minutes. Colombian right-back Santiago Arias, a summer signing from Sporting Lisbon, bombed down the right-wing, cut inside the box, shrugged off Andreas Bjelland to fire past Nick Marsman in goal.

Both sides played with high-octane pressure all the way up the pitch and on 23 minutes, PSV broke through the Twente defence again. Memphis Depay whipped in a pin-point cross to meet the head of Jürgen Locadia who got in front of Bjelland to double the lead. The Eindhoven crowd was in raptures, and the feel good factor was back in the Philips Stadion.

The second goal fired some life into Twente who could possibly feel their title challenge slipping away. Just past the half-hour mark, Serbian playmaker Dušan Tadić, on-fire as of late with 9 goals and 11 assists this season, nearly reduced the deficit. He intercepted a ball in the final third of the pitch and skipped the challenge of Jorrit Hendrix and smashed a shot from 25 yards that rattled Jeroen Zoet’s crossbar.

The back and forth action returned in PSV’s favour with a decent chance for Depay on 37 minutes. Breaking on the counter has become a specialty for the young PSV side and from a Twente corner, Depay found himself through on goal, but the winger saw his effort creep wide.

Robbert Schilder’s quick throw-in lead them to getting a goal back on 40 minutes. High up the pitch, Schilder caught the PSV defence asleep as the ball was thrown intoQuincy Promes’s path and holding off Jeffrey Bruma’s attention, Promes blasted the ball past Zoet for 2-1.

After the break, even though they still had the lead PSV did not sit-back and searched for a third and in the 52nd minute they had the goal. Left-back Jetro Willems scored the goal of the night, emerging from the left-wing with the ball and finely curling a low shot from the edge of the area past the scrambling Marsman that had misjudged the shot.

The scoring was not finished and nor were Twente as we saw the fifth and final goal on 68 minutes. PSV failed to clear a corner and Kyle Ebecilio took advantage a prod home. The two goal conceded by PSV today will the type of errors that Phillip Cocu and Guus Hiddink will want to cut out in future games.

Twente pressed hard to level the game but to no avail and in the final stages of the games, the Phillips Stadion maybe said goodbye to Tim Matavz, whose rumoured €8m transfer to Rubin Kazan could happen sometime this week.

The Eindhoven crowd were jubilant and it was a great win for Cocu’s side that took them to fifth in the Eredivisie standings with Heerenveen (6th) still to play in Sunday’s games.

NAC BREDA 2-0 RODA JC

NAC Breda jumped up to ninth placed with a 2-0 home win over Roda, who slip back into the bottom three.

It was an even game but Roda failed to make their chances into goals and it was NAC that nearly broke the deadlock just before the hour mark. Mats Seuntjens lofted a perfect ball over the top of the Roda defenders, and the onrushing Rydell Poepon stretched out for the ball but his effort scraped past the post.

NAC finally gained the lead on 73 minutes through substitute Adnane Tighadouini. Poepon knocked the ball down into Tighadouini’s path, who avoided Timo Letschert’s challenge to fire home.

The game was killed off two minutes before full-time by Stipe Perica. Also a substitute, the Croatian chased a ball down the right-wing in a tussle with the emerging Roda goalkeeper Filip Kurto. Perica won the race and got the ball before the ‘keeper and slid the ball home into the empty net.

GO AHEAD EAGLES 2-1 AZ ALKMAAR

Dick Advocaat’s AZ side have been in good form winning defeating Groningen and Vitesse in the last seven days, but after a poor performance on Saturday, they fell to Go Ahead Eagles 2-1.

The Eagles took the lead with the goal of the day in the Eredivisie. Full-back Doke Schmidt found himself free to try a daring long-range shot from 40 yards out that gave Esteban no chance of stopping, hitting the post and into the net.

The 7,938 crowd inside the Adelaarshorst was loud and imposing as usual and AZ failed to get the ball down and play. Swedish striker Denni Avdić replaced the injured Aron Johansson up front and the 25 year-old failed to make an impact for Advocaat’s men.

The three points were clinched late on by a great counter attacking goal as AZ pressed for an equaliser. After a Stephan Andersen kick from the opposite end, Jeffrey Rijsdijk retrieved and dished out the ball to Jarchinio Antonia who was racing through on goal. The 23-year-old sidestepped Esteban and defender Jeffrey Gouweleeuw could not stop the effort on the line.

Roy Beerens  notched a consolation goal for AZ, but it was a bad day at the office for the Alkmaar club.

FEYENOORD 5-1 NEC NIJMEGEN

Ronald Koeman’s Feyenoord hit five past NEC as Jean-Paul Boëtius and Graziano Pellè ran riot all over Anton Janssen’s side.

The away side took the lead but should have had a goal earlier in the first minute if it were not for Feyenoord keeper Erwin Mulder. Michael Higdon, an aerial threat all game, knocked the ball down into the path of Christoph Hemlein. The German lashed a volley into the top corner but a strong palm from Mulder saved his side.

However, ten minutes later he could not stop another volleyed effort. Danish midfielderSøren Rieks opened the scoring after Higdon had again nodded the ball down into the Dane’s path and hit the first-time shot that looped over Mulder’s reach and into the goal.

Minutes later, John Goossens nearly scored the equaliser from a free-kick on the edge of the area but Karl-Johan Johnsson tipped the effort over.

The score was levelled up on 26 minutes after some great play from Boëtius. The winger played the lovely ball through to the overlapping Miquel Nelom on the left, the full-back swung a low cross into the back post where Lex Immers arrived to tap home.

Within nine minutes, Feyenoord has turned the game on its head with their second goal. Daryl Janmaat and Immers combined until the right-back found himself inside the area to pull the ball back from the byline to Graziano Pellè to make it two for the home side.

It should have been 3-1, on 39 minutes after the troublesome Boëtius pirouetted in the area and was subsequently brought down by NEC captain Ryan Koolwijk. Pellè stepped up but Johnsson saved with ease to the keep the score at 2-1 at half-time.

In the second-half, Koeman’s side ran riot. On 55 minutes, Jean-Paul Boëtius got a deserved goal tapping in an Immers cross at the back stick. Then the goal of the game came four minutes later.

Again, Nelom bombing down the left, crossed into the penalty at medium height. Italian hitman Pellè got in front of his marker Lasse Nielsen, and perfectly volleyed beyond Johnsson. A textbook goal that even gained the applause of the visiting fans.

He action was far from over as the visitors were awarded a penalty on 64 minutes after referee Reinold Wiedemeijer has adjudged Nelom fouled Hemlein in the area. This time, Rieks fired the ball into Mulder hands and the score stayed 4-1.

The final nail in the coffin for NEC came on 78 minutes and it was the impressiveBoëtius grabbing his team’s fifth and his second after a great counter attack.

A great performance for Koeman’s side that moves ahead of Vitesse into third on goal difference.

Sunday 9th February 2014

HERACLES 1-1 CAMBUUR

Heracles and Cambuur shared the points in the opening game of Sunday, it was a late goal for the home side that shattered Cambuur hopes of clearing themselves out of relegation trouble for now.

It was a slow start to the game in the Polman Stadion with both sides failing to create any chances in the opening twenty minutes of the match but the away side took the lead after 23 minutes gone.

A long ball forward was latched on by Cambuur’s on-loan striker Elvis Manu, and the Feyenoord man held off the challenges of Bart Schenkeveld and with Jeroen Veldmate failing to get across in time, the 20-year-old used great composure to finish to give the visitors the lead.

Heracles had their chances but no more so than the horrendous miss of the on-loan Mikhail Rosheuvel in the 47th minute. A cross came in from the left where the AZ man dived for a header which flicked up and smacked off the crossbar from just four yards out. If he had made the choice to stick a boot on it instead he possibly would have scored.

Rosheuval had a better effort a few minutes later, latching on a long ball, and taking Lucas Bijker out of the challenge with his great first touch but his shot was straight at Leonard Nienhuis who parried the shot away.

It was end to end stuff as a few minutes later, Marcel Ritzmaier, on-loan from PSV, smashed a 20 yard shot off the opposite crossbar.

The points were snatched away from the visitors as Heracles got the goal to grab a point with just a minute of the game remaining, a corner was nodded home by Mike te Wierik.

PEC ZWOLLE 1-1 AJAX

The 12,500 present inside the IJsseldelta Stadion will wonder how Ajax got out of the stadium with a point after an action-packed game on Sunday afternoon.

Ron Jans can be proud of his PEC Zwolle side who more than held their own against an Ajax side that were frustrating in front of goal once De Boer’s men took a 1-0 lead after just seven minutes.

Central defender Joel Veltman made a marauding run down the right and after skipping two challenges, Joost Broerse brought the defender down. The in-form Lasse Schöne whipped in a free-kick into the front post where Davy Klaassen nodded in the opening goal.

Siem de Jong really struggled today and must have misplaced his shooting boots as on 21 minutes he produced a terrible miss by his standards. Totally unmarked, the Dutchman volleyed over the bar after Ricardo van Rhijn had supplied the perfect cross for him.

Quarter of an hour later, the score was level. Winter transfer window signing Thanasis Karagounis played a defence splitting through ball onto Guyon Fernandez. The on-loan striker took advantage when Ajax ‘keeper Kenneth Vermeer failed to collect and the Feyenoord man finished in the empty goal.

Diederik Boer saved Zwolle a few times in the match and no more important save then just before the interval when he denied Veldman’s header from the back post after Daley Blind crossed from deep. It was a point blank stop that got the crowd cheering louder than the Fernandez goal.

Ajax really picked up the pace after the break and forced save after save out of Boer. Schune, De Jong and Bojan all deprived of a goal due to the hands of the 6ft 4inch stopper.

Zwolle could see Ajax tiring and on 69 minutes, Jans will wonder how his team did not take the lead. After Fred Benson smashed his shot from outside the area against the foot of the post, the rebound fell perfectly to Jesper Drost, but even with Vermeer out of position the 21-year-old midfielder lashed his shot off the crossbar and out. Frank de Boer gave out a sigh of relief on the touchline.

With 12 minutes to go, Zwolle should have definitely clinched all three points but De Boer can thank Veldman for saving the single point. Karagounis and the onrushing Vermeer ran onto a free ball and the Greek midfielder beat the ‘keeper to the ball. The signing from Atromitos played in Fernandez and as the striker was pulling back to fire the trigger, Veldman dived in and nicked the ball away at the right time.

On the final whistle, Jans was all smiles and De Boer was miserable but he should be smiling, as Ajax are now five points clear at the top of the league and he should feel relieved that he got out of the IJsseldelta with something. However, second placed FC Twente have a game on hand against a poor Groningen side on Wednesday night.

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RKC WAALWIJK 5-2 FC UTRECHT

In a game that had virtually everything RKC put Jan Wouters in major trouble as they beat his Utrecht side by five goals to two.

The Utrecht manager is now under major pressure after seeing his side slip down to 14th in the league and just three points off the relegation places.

The goal fest began after an error from Yassin Ayoub played in Romeo Castelen. Ayoub flicked a header backwards thinking he was playing it to safety, but Castelen lashed a first-time half-volley that dipped under Robbin Ruiter’s crossbar after just eight minutes of play.

The game was tied four minutes later as Jens Toornstra converted a penalty after on-loan defender Prince-Désir Gouano was punished for a handball in the area.

The scoring stopped until 11 minutes from time, where the game got incredibly wild with five goals in just fourteen fun-filled minutes. Daniel de Ridder gave the hosts the lead with a 25 yard strike after the Utrecht defence failed to close him down.

Utrecht collapsed and a minute later, Kenny Anderson added a third to the tally. Straight from the kick-off Utrecht’s Steve de Ridder made it 3-2 with a wonderful solo effort.

On 86 minutes, Utrecht had a glorious chance to level the game to 3-3 after Jonas Ivens was deemed to handballed Steve de Ridder shot on goal, however, Toornstra smashed his spot-kick off the post. It got for Toornstra with just a minute of normal remaining, French striker Jean-David Beauguel latched on a Toornstra backpass and made it 4-2.

Luxembourg international Aurélien Joachim made it five in third minute of stoppage time and Beauguel and Daniel de Ridder combined to play the striker in. The Luxembourgian rounded Ruiter and  slotted home.

Utrecht need to get points and quick and in all honesty, Jan Wouters might be lucky to still be on the bench next weekend when they visit AZ Alkmaar.

FC GRONINGEN 1-3 HEERENVEEN

In the ‘Derby van het Noorden’, a zany six minutes of madness cost Erwin van de Looi’s Groningen the game in the final game of Week 23.

Early on Kenny Otigba and Maikel Kieftenbeld had fouls unpunished; however, they both saw the red card before the full-time whistle.

The home side looked good going forward and should have took the lead on 26 minutes when Eric Botteghin emerged forward and drove a powerful low shot towards the Heerenveen goal. Unfortunately for the Brazilian defender, Swedish keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt pulled off a great save to tip wide.

As always Heerenveen are the most dangerous on the counter attack and today proved no different. On 33 minutes, straight from a Marco Bizot goal-kick, Marten de Roon headed back up the field into the feet of Alfred Finnbogason. The Icelander fired a ball forward for Rajiv van la Parra to run onto, the young winger then lashed the ball past the stunned Bizot for the opener.

Groningen fell to pieces and three minutes later, they found themselves two goals down. Again on the counter, Van la Parra and Hakim Ziyech combining with one-twos until Ziyech finished.

Things were getting messy for Van de Looi’s men and it was 3-0 and they were down to ten men on 39 minutes. Alfred Finnbogason skipped past Bizot and was ready to turn and finish into the goal until Kieftenbeld saved with his hands on the goal-line, the striker converted the resulting spot-kick.

Referee Bas Nijhuis had to dish out the red again with just under twenty minutes of time remaning which level the teams up. As Groningen’s Michael de Leeuw was running through on goal, Kenny Otigba was last defender and the Hungarian seemed to clip the midfielder’s heels.

Groningen grabbed a 86th minute consolation goal after Genaro Zeefuik was felled by Stefano Marzo in the area and Michael de Leeuw put away the penalty kick. Marco van Basten was angry with two minutes remaning after his side had a penalty claim waved away but in all fairness the game was for him after 39 minutes. Heerenveen leapfrog back into fifth at PSV’s expense.

STANDINGS

140209 - Eredivisie

Table courtesy of Fifa.com

WillBurns

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