The Eredivisie returned this past weekend and Steven Davies is on hand with a comprehensive rundown of week nine’s action.
With the second international break of the season having come and gone, the ninth round of matches in the Eredivisie got belatedly underway on Saturday evening at the Stadion Galgenwaard where FC Utrecht, with just one win in the league all season, welcomed Erik ten Hag’s former club, Go Ahead Eagles – who arrived in Utrecht with four points from the last six.
While ten Hag could look back fondly on his lone season in charge in Deventer which culminated in the Eagles gaining promotion via the promotion/relegation playoffs in 2013, there was little room for sentimentality here, with the home side in particular, desperately in need of a win to kick start what has been a faltering campaign thus far for last season’s KNVB Beker finalists.
However, it was the visitors who began the game on the front foot and squandered a host of opportunities before the home side took the lead against the run of play four minutes before the half time interval – Sebastien Haller turning sharply on the edge of the area before unleashing a rasping drive that visiting ‘keeper Theo Zwarthoed could only parry into the path of Giovanni Troupee who managed to get enough on the rebound to send the ball looping into the back of an unguarded net.
Following a slow start to the match, the home side began the second stanza much the brighter thanks to their half time lead and doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute – Ajax loanee, Richairo Zivkovic, having found himself one on one with Zwarthoed, managed to beat the ‘keeper but not the bar before Rico Strieder tucked away the rebound.
With Hans de Koning’s men forced to throw caution to the wind in order to get back into the contest, it came as little surprise when the home side capitalised – catching the visitors on the counter attack with 25 minutes left to play – Haller finding Zivkovic, who broke the Eagles’ offside trap before slotting the ball past Zwarthoed to seal all three points for the home side.
However, the Eagles did almost grab a consolation via the unlikeliest of sources – Willem Janssen almost putting the ball in his own net when his seemingly innocuous back pass sent home ‘keeper Robbin Ruiter scrambling to clear the ball off his own goal line with nine minutes left to play.
At the same time, honours were left even at Het Kasteel where Sparta Rotterdam and Willem II shared four goals.
A double from Spanish marksman, Fran Sol either side of half time briefly saw the visitors look like recording their first victory in the league since beating Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA on 20th August. However, Alex Pastoor’s side, who had lost just one of their last four league games coming into this match, rallied to earn a share of the spoils – Aussie, Craig Goodwin getting the hosts back into the contest with 21 minutes remaining before Thomas Verhaar popped up in the last minute to complete the comeback.
With one eye on a daunting trip to the Allianz Arena to face Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening, reigning champions, PSV Eindhoven were surprisingly held at home by Heracles – Samuel Armenteros capitalising on some ponderous play in defence by Siem de Jong to steal in and prod the ball past an irate Jeroen Zoet six minutes before half time before the hosts tied up the scores just two minutes later when a vicious header from Luuk de Jong (in his 100th appearance for PSV) could only be parried by visiting ‘keeper, Bram Castro into the path of Gaston Pereiro – the Uruguayan making no mistake from close range.
With just one loss in their last eleven games in all competitions, in-form AZ Alkmaar welcomed an inconsistent Vitesse Arnhem to the AFAS Stadion on Saturday night.
With two wins and two losses in the league coming into this encounter, Henk Fraser’s men were in need of a good start and they got just that – Chelsea loanee, Lewis Baker putting the visitors ahead on 23 minutes before Ricky van Wolfswinkel doubled the men from Arnhem’s advantage from the penalty spot just before the hour.
However, that inconsistency would rear its ugly head once more – Robert Muhren pulling the home side back into the contest with twelve minutes to go before earning the men from Alkmaar a share of the spoils with his second with three minutes left to play.
With just one loss in their nine competitive matches in all competitions this term, SC Heerenveen are one of the form teams in the country and Jurgen Streppel’s charges continued their winning ways by putting three past fierce local rivals FC Groningen at the Noordlease Stadion on Saturday night.
Arber Zeneli gave the visitors the lead as early as the 7th minute before the hosts found themselves reduced to ten men when Australian defender, Jason Davidson was given his marching orders by referee, Richard Liesveld nine minutes before half time.
Sam Larsson doubled the visitor’s advantage with 17 minutes left to play before the hosts found their numbers reduced further still – Samir Memisevic receiving a second yellow card from referee, Liesveld just three minutes later.
Iranian international, Reza Ghoochannejhad rubbed salt into the wounds of Groningen’s nine men – making it three with eight minutes left to play.
Sunday’s Eredivisie action began with another pair of local rivals coming head-to-head, this time at De Grolsch Veste in Enschede, where Twente played host to PEC Zwolle.
The hosts came into this encounter unbeaten in their last three league matches and began the brighter – referee, Dennis Higler pointing to the spot when South African midfielder, Kamohelo Mokotjo was brought down in the area by Zwolle centre half, Philippe Sandler with just eight minutes on the clock. Mateusz Klich made no mistake with the resultant penalty kick to put the hosts into the ascendancy.
After a wretched start to the campaign for Ron Jans’ side, things had finally begun to look up following a much needed home victory over ADO Den Haag just prior to the international break and the visitors were back on level terms five minutes before the break – Youness Mokhtar shrugging off the attentions of home centre half, Peet Bijen before cutting in from the left and slotting the ball past Twente glovesman, Nick Marsman.
Shell shocked, Rene Hake’s men rallied in the second stanza and created a host of opportunities which included Enes Unal rattling Mickey van der Hart’s crossbar in the 69th minute.
However, the Manchester City loanee, would eventually find his breakthrough – the Turk smashing in a first time strike from just inside the area following a perfect ball from fellow Manchester City loanee, Bersant Celina with 13 minutes left on the clock.
At that point, the home side may have felt that the points were safe but the Enschede outfit were stunned for a second time six minutes from time when substitute, Django Warmerdam cut in from the right and unleashed a howitzer from well outside the area that beat the despairing dive of home ‘keeper, Marsman to earn the visitors a share of the spoils.
Roda came into their meeting with Excelsior at the Stadion Woudestein on Sunday afternoon without a win anywhere this term and having not scored a goal since a last gasp equaliser by Tom van Hyfte at the Amsterdam ArenA on 13th August.
So when Danish midfielder, David Boysen popped up shortly before the hour mark to not only end the goal scoring drought but also ultimately the seemingly eternal search for a victory for the men from Kerkrade in 2016/17, it came as a welcome relief for Yannis Anastasiou’s beleaguered side who climbed off the foot of the table as a result.
League leaders, Feyenoord came into their meeting with NEC Nijmegen having made history as the first side this century to have won their first eight Eredivisie matches and were looking to make it nine in a row ahead of next Sunday’s Klassiker at De Kuip.
However, Peter Hyballa’s charges weren’t about to roll out the welcome mat for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s table topper’s – Mohamed Rayhi hitting Julian van Haacke’s deflected pass first time from the edge of the area to deceive former NEC stopper, Brad Jones and put the hosts into the ascendancy after just eight minutes of play at De Goffertstadion.
The visitors, with one eye not only on the visit of Ajax but also on a UEFA Europa League encounter with Zorya Luhansk at De Kuip on Thursday evening, had to wait until eleven minutes from time to get back on level terms – substitute, Steven Berghuis rattling Joris Delle’s right hand upright before Dirk Kuyt was denied by a combination of both the French ‘keeper and his other post before Nicolai Jorgensen eventually scrambled the ball over the line.
The league leaders weren’t finished and managed to preserve their 100% record in the league a minute into added time – a Berghuis header from the edge of the area falling to goal scorer, Jorgensen whose half volley rebounded off Dalle’s left hand upright and into the path of substitute, Michiel Kramer who secured a ninth successive victory for the Rotterdam giants from close range.
Feyenoord’s last gasp victory in Nijmegen put the pressure on second placed Ajax who in turn responded by dispatching ADO Den Haag with the minimum of fuss at the Kyocera Stadion in the final match of the weekend.
The visitors, who face a tricky trip to Spain to face Celta Vigo in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening, took the lead in the 20th minute when Lasse Schone teed up skipper, Davy Klaassen with a perfectly weighted chip into the ADO area, which the Dutch international slotted past Lithuanian international ‘keeper, Ernestas Setkus.
De Godenzonen doubled their advantage seven minutes into the second half – Amin Younes escaping the clutches of two men before sliding in a perfectly weighted pass for Chelsea loanee, Bertrand Traore who ensured that Peter Bosz’s men would travel to De Kuip five points adrift of their fierce rivals from Rotterdam.
On the other hand, things are looking dire for Zeljko Petrovic’s men who have now lost their last five league games on the spin – their excellent early season form now a rapidly fading memory.
FC Utrecht 3-0 Go Ahead Eagles
Sparta Rotterdam 2-2 Willem II
PSV Eindhoven 1-1 Heracles
AZ Alkmaar 2-2 Vitesse Arnhem
FC Groningen 0-3 SC Heerenveen
FC Twente 2-2 PEC Zwolle
Excelsior 0-1 Roda JC
NEC Nijmegen 1-2 Feyenoord
ADO Den Haag 0-2 AFC Ajax
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