Ajax have one hand on their third consecutive Eredivisie title after they defeated rivals PSV 3-2 at the Phillips Stadion on Sunday afternoon. Feyenoord dropped out of the race as they were held to a disappointing draw at RKC Waalwijk.
Heerenveen 3 (El Ghanassy 53, Finnbogasson 55, 84P)
Willem II 2 (Ippel 12, Joachim 80)
Marco van Basten’s side will be thanking his lucky stars and Alfreð Finnbogason after his late penalty gave Heerenveen all three points when it looked like they had gave them away. The bottom side, Willem II now look resigned to relegation when glancing at the league table but they did take the lead at Abe Lenstra Stadion.
After just 12 minutes, Willem found themselves ahead. 21 year old midfielder Ricardo Ippel grabbed a rebound from a free-kick and volleyed first time, beneath the crossbar which keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt should have done better with. The break came and Heerenveen were lucky just to be the solitary goal down but they arrived back out a different beast. This showed on 53 minutes as Belgian winger Yassine El Ghanassy calmly finishing from the back post after receiving a Patrick van Aanholt cross. Two minutes later, Heerenveen had competed the turnaround. Icelandic striker Finnbogason grabbed his 22nd in the league this season with an easy tap in. Some sloppy defending by the home side let Tim Cornelisse thread the ball through to Luxembourg striker Aurélien Joachim to grab a 80th minute leveller. The Tilburgers did not hold out to the point for long as captain Philipp Haastrup got caught guilty of hand ball. Taking his tally up to 23 for the league season, Finnbogason placed the penalty home and clinched the win.
AZ Alkmaar 6 (Altidore 28P, 34P, 37, van der Hoorn 45+1OG, Henriksen 61, Jóhannsson 90)
FC Utrecht 0
AZ’s relegation worries were eased after a huge 6-0 win over nine-man Utrecht which included a first-half hat-trick from American international striker Jozy Altidore. Utrecht would have felt their were fighting a losing battle when they had Anouar Kali and Jan Wuytens both sent off before Altidore put AZ 2-0 up after 34 minutes. Kali was sent off for a second yellow after conceding the penalty with a foul on Altidore in the 27th minute, this was the 1500th red card in the league.
To make matters worse for Utrecht, before the second penalty, first choice goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter had to be replaced due to injury and Jeroen Verhoeven found himself beaten five times before the final whistle.
RKC Waalwijk 1 (Duits 55)
Feyenoord 1 (Pelle 13P)
Feyenoord let their title hopes slip through their fingers after only achieving a draw away to RKC. Feyenoord started well and went ahead with Italian forward Graziano Pelle hiting a penalty home for his 23rd of the season.
In the 55th minute, RKC drew level with an individual effort from Sander Duits that shattered Feyenoord hearts and their title dreams.
Feyenoord coach Ronald Koeman stated he was “deeply disappointed in his team” in an TV interview afterwards.
PSV 2 (Lens 41, 67)
Ajax 3 (Sigthorsson 31, Eriksen 50, Boerrigter 77)
Ajax look set to be champions again after defeating PSV 3-2 and now have a five point gap between themselves and second place Vitesse. It was the visitors that took the lead with striker Kolbein Sigthorsson jumping onto a mis-kicked Mark van Bommel ball just after half an hour gone. Ajax maybe should have had a chance to extend the lead with a penalty when young Danish striker Viktor Fischer was grabbed by Van Bommel just inside the box but nothing was given.
Ajax must have been hoping to take the lead in at half time, but this was not to be. Sloppy play by Christian Eriksen in his own half let Georginio Wijnaldum steal in and knock the ball onto Kevin Strootman. Strootman kept his cool, one on one with Jasper Cillessen and slided the ball through to the unmarked Jermaine Lens to finish.
PSV started the brighter at the start of the second half but it was Ajax to hit them on the counter attack and go 2-1 up. It was Christian Eriksen who made up for his first half error on 50 minutes with a wonderful solo effort that he smashed home at Boy Waterman’s front post. PSV pressed as Ajax sat back and defended their lead. On 67 minutes, PSV were back level. The impressive Dries Mertens’ whipping free-kick rattled off the post and Lens was there again to poke home with a well-controlled finish inside the post.
Ajax were furious just a minute later, when they should have definitely been awarded a penalty kick this time. Midfielder Lasse Schone sped past Jetro Willems and the young left-back brought the Dane down in the box, referee Björn Kuipers waved claims away. PSV replaced Willems with Erik Pieters and Ajax switched Christian Poulsen for Derk Boerrigter and on 76 minutes, both were involved in the fifth goal of the match. With his first touch of the game, Boerrigter pounced on a terrible mix-up between goalkeeper Waterman and Pieters to regain the lead.
PSV will need Ajax to drop two games to get back in the title race but with only four games left in the league season, it certainly looks like the title will be heading to Amsterdam again.
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