Ajax are now six points clear at the top of the Eredivisie after Twente and Feyenoord cancelled each other out in a 2-2 draw and the Amsterdammers battered AZ Alkmaar 4-0.
Sunday 23rd February 2014
FC UTRECHT 1-0 FC GRONINGEN
Jan Wouters’ Utrecht won their first game in nine with a late Johan Martensson strike in a game that they deserved all three points.
In what was a lacklustre opening half, it was Groningen that could have easily opened the scoring had it not be for Utrecht stopper Robbin Ruiter, named man of the match, saving his side.
Just after the interval the hosts had a golden opportunity to take the lead. After Michael de Leeuw had slided in the box to stop a Steve de Ridder shot, the ball ricocheted and stopped in the box by the Groningen man’s hand. Referee Ed Janssen pointed to the spot and De Ridder smashed the resultant kick off the crossbar.
Midway through the second period, Utrecht started to press and looked the more likely to score especially as Jens Toornstra had a chance to score a trademark free-kick, but again hit the woodwork.
As Utrecht attacked, Groningen would get the odd chance to run on the counter but failed to breach Ruiter’s goal as Tjarron Chery then hit the post with just six minutes remaining.
The Stadion Galgenwaard erupted on 88 minutes as the crowd finally saw their team win at the fifth attempt with a long range effort from Johan Martensson. After good work from Toornstra and Tommy Oar combining, Steve de Ridder ended up dishing the ball out to the Swedish midfielder to rifle past Marco Bizot.
The win takes Utrecht up to 13th and gives Wouters a bit of relief from the pressure he has been under as of late. He will look to build on this result next when high-flying FC Twente arrive next Sunday.
UTRECHT: Ruiter, Klaiber (Bjelica 74), Markiet, Delpierre, Dorda, Toornstra, Sarota (Quesada 82), Diemers (Martensson 69), De Ridder, Oar, Agudelo.
SUBS NOT USED: Verhoeven, Cortie, Badjeck, Abena.
GOALS: Martensson 88.
BOOKINGS: Delpierre 27, Oar 65, Agudelo 66.
GRONINGEN: Bizot, Burnet, Botteghin, Hateboer, Kappelhof, Kieftenbeld, Van Nieff (Hiariej 64), De Leeuw (Zeefuik 82), Chery, Kostić, Adorjan (Van der Velden 64).
SUBS NOT USED: Van der Lei, Lindgren, Wijnaldum, Zivkovic.
BOOKINGS: De Leeuw 47, Hateboer 83.
AJAX 4-0 AZ ALKMAAR
After the horror showing on Thursday night in a 3-0 loss to Red Bull Salzburg, Ajax got back to winning ways thumping Dick Advocaat’s AZ Alkmaar by four goals to nil.
The Amsterdammers, obviously itching to repay their fans, were ahead after just four minutes. Daley Blind spied Ricardo van Rhijn sprinting down the right-wing and from there the full-back’s ball into the feet of Siem de Jong ended up in the net.
The hosts suffered a blow on 10 minutes when Viktor Fischer pulled up with a hamstring injury. He was replaced by 20-year-old winger Lesly de Sa.
Advocaat’s men could have equalised minutes later after Victor Elm crossed for Marcus Henriksen but the Norweigan was denied by the feet of Jasper Cillessen. Ajax nearly ended their lead on the half-hour but Lerin Duarte’s free-kick from the edge of the area crept just wide.
After the break, the disappointing Bojan, on-loan from Barcelona was replaced by the highly-rated Ricardo Kishna, a 19-year-old that made his debut as a substitute in Thursday’s Europa League defeat.
The youngster quickly made an impact being involved in the second goal. On 54 minutes, after recieving Blind’s ball, Kishna controlled and carried into the box, laid the ball into De Jong who flicked it Lerin Duarte to score with ease.
Just after the hour mark, Ricardo Kishna notched himself and it was some goal on his Eredivisie debut. On the left side of the area, he burst past Mathias Johansson and fired the shot across the goal to give Costa Rican goalkeeper Esteban no chance.
Duarte notched his second to finish the scoring on 74 mintues with an excellent solo effort that he finished by blasting into the roof of the net.
Ajax will be hard to catch on this performance which was a vast improvement on Thursday showing. They now travel to Salzburg this week to try overcome the three goal deficit.
AJAX: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Veltman, Moisander, Blind; Klaassen, Poulsen, Duarte, Bojan (Kishna 46), De Jong (Sigthórsson 70), Fischer (De Sa 12).
SUBS NOT USED: Vermeer, Andersen, Denswil, Riedewald.
GOALS: De Jong 4, Duarte 54, 74, Kishna 60.
BOOKINGS: De Sa 26.
AZ: Esteban, Viergever, Reijnen (Poulsen 46), Gouweleeuw, Wuytens (Jóhannson 46), Elm, Henriksen, Ortiz (Haye 70), Jóhannsson, Berghuis, Beerens.
SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Gorter, Gudmundsson, Avdic.
BOOKINGS: Ortiz 40, Elm 84.
VITESSE 3-1 RKC WAALWIJK
Peter Bosz will be a relieved man after finally watching his Vitesse side end their winless run of five games with a 3-1 victory over RKC Waalwijk.
Vitesse have slipped off the pace in the race for the Eredivisie championship in recent weeks, and found themselves trailing at the break to the relegation-troubled RKC.
Former Celtic midfielder Evander Sno spotted Kenny Anderson making a darting run and played a perfect through ball and Anderson kept his cool to finish past Piet Velthuizen after 14 minutes.
The first half petered out and it was a disappointing show by the hosts that needed a double substitution of Renato Ibarra and Valeri Qazaishvili to make the RKC defence fall to pieces.
The scores were level in the 50th minute. Making his debut for Vitesse since his move from PEC Zwolle in the winter transfer window, Ronald Achenteh whipped in a ball towards the front post from the left wing. Mike Havanaar got in front of Prince Gouano to deliver a sliding finish to make it one goal apiece.
Two minutes later, the game was totally turnaround and Vitesse were 2-1 up. Valeri Qazaishvili spun a beautiful curling left footer past Jan Šeda to send the home crowd wild. RKC manager Erwin Koeman had saw all three points slip away in a matter of minutes.
The third and final goal was taken well by young Chelsea on-loan midfielder Christian Atsu with his third goal of the season. Great link-up play by Ibarra and Davy Pröpper saw the latter force a block from his shot which fell perfectly for Atsu at the back post to volley home with great composure.
A great win for Vitesse and a relief for Bosz, they now face the challenge of trying to claw back Ajax’s eight points lead they have over them.
VITESSE: Velthuizen, Van der Struijk, Kashia (Ibarra 46), Van der Heijden, Achenteh, Pröpper, Vejinovic, Atsu, Labyad, Havenaar (Djurdjevic 89), Traoré (Qazaishvili 46).
SUBS NOT USED: Room, Mori, Piazón, Vink.
GOALS: Havenaar 50, Qazaishvili 52, Atsu 68.
RKC: Šeda, Van Hoevelen, Amieux, Gouano (Van Weert 72), Lamey, Duits, Anderson, Sno, Castelen, De Ridder, Schet (Beauguel 65).
SUBS NOT USED: Van Dijk, Van Mosselveld, Joachim, Braber, Apau.
GOALS: Anderson 14.
BOOKINGS: Van Weert 78, Duits 91.
FC TWENTE 2-2 FEYENOORD
FC Twente fought back from 2-0 down against Feyenoord at De Grolsch Veste in the final game of Week 25 to draw 2-2, which is a result that neither team wanted in the title race.
The hosts created a glorious opportunity to take the lead after just six minutes of play but unfortunately Quincy Promes failed to wear his shooting boots. Great technical play in the middle of the park by Dušan Tadić found Luc Castaignos down the right. The striker fired a low cross across the goalmouth by Promes, arriving at the back post, fluffed the finished and scuffed his effort wide of Erwin Mulder’s post.
Feyenoord took the lead after the 14th minute and it was Graziano Pellè once again with the goal, making it his 19th of the Eredivisie campaign. Jean-Paul Boëtius, a threat throughout the game, whipped the ball in low to the Italian’s feet, Pellè flicked the ball up, spun and fired a left footed volley past Nick Marsman. An excellent finish with tremendous technique from a man, that would be worthy of gracing his presence the Italian national side in this form.
The visitors were upset that referee Serdar Gözübüyük did awarded them a penalty for a Rasmus Bengtsson handball on 21 minutes, but video replays showed it was more ball to hand rather than hand to ball.
In the second half, Feyenoord found a second from Jean-Paul Boëtius on 55 minutes. After a tremendous dribble from Terrence Kongolo down the left wing he over-hit his cross that ended up on the right wing with Ruben Schaken. Schaken played in Immers in the area, and the midfielder teed it up for Boëtius to smash home from the edge of the box.
The goal woke up Twente and immediately they pressed for goals. Promes found Luc Castaignos with a through ball on 68 minutes, and the young striker powered a right footed effort into Mulder’s near post.
Twente pressed for the levelling goal but missed many shots, failing to hit target. However, after Castaignos, Promes and Norwegian substitute Torgeir Borven was unable to test Mulder, it was a Promes corner that provided the equaliser five minutes into injury time. Whipping a vicious testing ball in the area, the Feyenoord defence failed to clear and the opportunity fell perfectly for Cuco Martino to fire a low drive past Mulder to send the stadium into raptures.
Neither team could afford to draw this game in the title race, and they now face even more of an uphill struggle to catch Ajax now.
TWENTE: Marsman, Koppers, Bjelland, Rosales, Bengtsson, Ebecilio, Eghan, Gutierrez, Tadić, Promes, Castaignos.
SUBS NOT USED: Stevens, Schilder, Djordjevic, Corona, Roseler, Martina, Børven.
FEYENOORD: Mulder, Janmaat, Kongolo, De Vrij, Mathijsen, Clasie, Immers, Vilhena, Boëtius, Schaken, Pellè.
SUBS NOT USED: Graafland, Armenteros, Bakkal, Nelom, Te Vrede, Goossens, Van Beek.
GOALS: Pellè 14.
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