Ajax scraped a narrow 2-1 win at home against a valiant FC Groningen to head the table four points clear of second placed FC Twente, although the Enschede side has a game in hand.
Thursday 6th February 2014
FC UTRECHT 1-2 PEC ZWOLLE
Ron Jans’s PEC Zwolle came from behind to nail their third win in the a row against a ten-man Utrecht side.
Adam Sorota was given his marching orders on just before the hour mark and Utrecht were made to pay. Referee Jeroen Sanders gave the midfielder a straight red card after a dangerous challenge on Zwolle striker Guyon Fernandez.
The home side made a good start with American striker Juan Agudelo, on-loan from Stoke City, opening the scoring in the 24th minute with a spectacular strike after turning his marker with ease in the penalty area.
Zwolle got a new lease of life when Sorota was shown the red card and Ron Jans’ side had the man advantage. The substitute of Macedonian striker Denis Mahmudov on for young debutant Australian defender Trent Sainsbury was inspired on and the 24-year-old scored an excellent goal within minute of being on.
Just three minutes later, the game had seen a total turnaround as Zwolle grabbed their second. Utrecht failed to clear a corner and the ball fell perfectly for Fred Benson to spin his marker and striker over Robbin Ruiter in goal.
Zwolle held onto to win, however, looking for the fourth win in a run on Sunday, they face the tough task of league leaders Ajax.
FC UTRECHT: Ruiter, Van der Winden (Dorda 46), Van der Maarel, Delpierre (Koevermans 86), Heerings (Markiet 47), Toornstra, Sarota, Ayoub, De Ridder, Oar, Agudelo.
SUBS NOT USED: Verhoeven, Diemers, Queseda, Badjeck.
GOALS: Agudelo 24.
BOOKINGS: De Ridder.
SENT OFF: Sarota.
PEC ZWOLLE: Boer, Van Hintum, Broerse, Sainsbury (Mahmudov 73), Klich (Nijland 72), Karagounis (Benson 47), Van Polen, Drost, Gravenbeek, Saymak, Fernandez.
SUBS NOT USED: Begois, Epe, Patricio, Fennich.
GOALS: Mahmudov 74, Benson 77.
AJAX 2-1 FC GRONINGEN
FC Groningen were unfortunate not to leave the Amsterdam Arena with a point this evening after a tremendous performance, however a Kolbeinn Sigthórsson goal seven minutes from time gave the Amsterdammers the win.
The game started cautiously but we soon saw Ajax dominate the possession and grab a hold of the game and before the half-hour we saw the opening goal.
With 28 minutes gone, Ajax were awarded a penalty by referee Serdar Gözübüyük after Eric Botteghin stuck out a leg to stop Spanish striker Bojan in the area. Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne stepped up to convert, this was his sixth goal of the season in all competitions.
However, Ajax were given a scare when Filip Kostic curled home an unexpected but a delightful left-footed effort before the break that left goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer totally stranded.
The second half was a different story and Groningen started to trouble Ajax and looked more likely to go onto win the game. Kostic was causing all sorts of trouble to the back tracking Ajax defenders but his shot did not match his excellent run and was easily saved by Vermeer.
De Boer rang the changes and brought on three substitutes but Kolbeinn Sigthórsson made the biggest impact and headed home a Christian Poulsen cross on 83 minutes to put a smile on the manager’s face.
AJAX: Vermeer, Van Rhijn, Moisander, Veltman, Riedewald (Poulsen 67), Serero (Duarte 75), Klaassen, Blind, Schöne, Bojan, De Jong (Sigthórsson 67).
SUBS NOT USED: Van der Hart, Van der Hoorn, Fischer, Denswil.
GOALS: Schöne 28P, Sigthórsson 83.
FC GRONINGEN: Bizot, Wijnaldum, Burnet, Botteghin, Kappelhof, Kieftenbeld, Van Nieff (Zeefuik 87), Chery, De Leeuw (Zivkovic 76), Kostic.
SUBS NOT USED: Van der Lei, Adorjan, Lindgren, Hiarlej, Magnasco.
GOALS: Kostic 41.
BOOKINGS: Wijnaldum, Kappelhof, De Leeuw.
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