Week one is in the books and here is Steven Davies with a full rundown of the action.
The 61st season of the Eredivisie kicked off on Friday 5th August with PEC Zwolle travelling to Nijmegen to face NEC – now under the stewardship of German, Peter Hyballa. The visitors hit the front shortly after the half hour with new signing, Anass Achahbar teeing up Ajax loanee, Queensy Menig with a deft back heel. However, Ron Jans and his charges were pegged back just after the hour when new signing, Reagy Ofosu beat the offside trap and scored on his debut to leave honours even at the Goffertstadion.
On Saturday, it was the turn of the first of the two promoted teams, with Go Ahead Eagles – having negotiated a tough promotion/relegation playoff campaign against first, VVV and then De Graafschap – travelling to The Hague to face ADO. However, it was not to be a fairy tale return to the Dutch top flight for Hans de Koning’s Eagles, who, despite looking dangerous in front of goal on numerous occasions throughout the match, conceded a penalty just after the quarter hour which Japanese international, Mike Havenaar duly converted before adding a second with twenty minutes remaining. ADO, now under the guidance of Zeljko Petrovic following the departure of Henk Fraser to Vitesse, then added a third through Tyronne Ebuehi with eight minutes left on the clock as the Eagles chased the game in vain.
After adding the Johan Cruijff Schaal to their burgeoning trophy cabinet following last weekend’s triumph over KNVB Beker winner’s, Feyenoord in the season opening showpiece, reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven began the defence of their title with a trip to Utrecht and were shocked when Sebastien Haller put Erik ten Hag’s men a goal to the good just after the quarter hour.
However, second half strikes by first, Davy Propper in the 51st minute and then Gaston Pereiro with 10 minutes to play, ensured that normal service was resumed and that Phillip Cocu’s men left the Stadion Galgenwaard with all three points.
Having staved off demotion and potential financial oblivion over the summer, FC Twente could not however withstand a stubborn Excelsior side who took all three points from their visit to De Grolsch Veste on Saturday evening.
Kevin Vermeulen put the visitors into the ascendancy after only 13 minutes had elapsed in Enschede before Leeroy Owusu doubled the Rotterdammers lead just after the hour mark and, despite Jari Oosterwijk pulling a goal back for Rene Hake’s men with eight minutes remaining, Excelsior – now under the tutelage of Mitchell van der Gaag – were good value for their victory.
The visitors were also celebrating in Saturday’s late fixture where Henk Fraser’s Vitesse put four past Erwin van de Looi’s, Willem II in Tilburg.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel – making his re-debut for the club where his career began – put the Arnhem outfit in front after 21 minutes before a calamitous own goal by Willem II’s Greek goalkeeper Kostas Lamprou followed by a brace from Chelsea loanee, Nathan gave the visitors a healthy advantage going into the break. The Tilburg side did manage to add some respectability through a solitary header from Spanish striker, Fran Sol after 54 minutes but a miraculous comeback failed to materialise.
Sunday’s Eredivisie action began at the Noordlease Stadion in Groningen where Ernest Faber’s men were thrashed by an impressive individual display by Eljero Elia – who netted a hat trick in a 5-0 away triumph for Feyenoord.
It was the so often enigmatic Elia’s initial shot which, having been poorly dealt with by Groningen ‘keeper Sergio Padt, presented an open goal for Tonny Vilhena after 19 minutes had elapsed. Elia then smashed a crisp half volley past the helpless Padt following a Toornstra cross from the right before curling a well-placed strike into the top left hand corner from just inside the edge of the box on the stroke of half time.
Groningen offered little by way of attacking intent throughout the match and it came as little surprise when Elia completed his hat trick – tucking in the rebound after Padt had initially denied Vilhena on 56 minutes after which he left the stage with a dislocated finger – before new signing, Nicolai Jorgensen got off the mark for the Rotterdammers with his first goal in Feyenoord colours with seven minutes left to play.
It ended all square in Alkmaar where AZ and Heerenveen shared four goals. Markus Henriksen gave John van den Brom’s side the lead just after the half hour but the Frisian outfit – now under the guidance of former Willem II coach, Jurgen Streppel pegged the home side back through 21-year-old Swede, Arber Zeneli to send the sides in all square at the break.
Former Heracles striker, Wout Weghorst restored the home side’s advantage early in the second half – scoring a goal on his AZ debut from the penalty spot. However, the visitors responded once more with a strike from a former AZ player – Stijn Schaars ensuring the spoils were shared with eight minutes remaining.
After squeezing past PAOK in the Third Qualifying Round of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, Peter Bosz took his Ajax side to Het Kasteel in Rotterdam to face the second of the clubs to have won promotion to the Eredivisie for the 2016/17 season – Sparta.
A double by Ajax skipper Davy Klaassen was enough to secure passage through to the playoff round of the UEFA Champions League where the four-time European Cup winners will face the Russian side, Rostov for a place in the group stages of the tournament, and it was Klaassen again who popped up with a bullet header from an El Ghazi cross from the right to give his side the lead after just 5 minutes of play.
Alex Pastoor lead Sparta to the Eerste Divisie crown last term following six years in the wilderness and the new boys showed that they would be no push-overs this season when they pegged de Godenzonen back just three minutes later when a Sanusi free kick took a deflection from Gudelj to deceive Jasper Cillessen who fumbled the ball into the Ajax net.
However, Ajax weren’t to be denied and, despite the dismissal of Joel Veltman for two bookable offences with six minutes remaining, second half strikes by Daley Sinkgraven and Colombian, Mateo Cassierra ensured all three points went back to Amsterdam.
The first round of action was rounded out in Kerkrade, where Roda (under new coach, Yannis Anastasiou) and Heracles ended with honours even at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion – Czech, Jaroslav Navratil giving the home side the advantage just after the half hour mark before Adil Auassar equalised for the visitors with 18 minutes left to play.
NEC Nijmegen 1-1 PEC Zwolle
ADO Den Haag 3-0 Go Ahead Eagles
FC Utrecht 1-2 PSV Eindhoven
FC Twente 1-2 Excelsior
Willem II 1-4 Vitesse Arnhem
Groningen 0-5 Feyenoord
AZ Alkmaar 2-2 Heerenveen
Sparta Rotterdam 1-3 AFC Ajax
Roda JC 1- 1 Heracles
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