The eleventh round of Eredivisie action began with Roda JC climbing off the bottom of the table following a goalless draw with FC Twente at De Grolsch Veste on Friday night.
Like their hosts, Yannis Anastasiou’s side were unburdened by midweek cup commitments having been eliminated in the previous round and, despite their early season struggles, the Kerkrade-based outfit are now unbeaten in their last four games.
Despite being unable to break the stalemate, the home side could take some consolation from a frustrating evening in front of goal – Rene Hake’s men extending their own unbeaten run in the league to six matches.
Saturday’s Eredivisie action began at the Koning Willem II Stadion where Willem II, spurred on by the fact that Roda’s point in Enschede on Friday night had left the Tilburg-based outfit propping up the table, secured just their second win of the season in all competitions and their first in front of their own supporters at the expense of a Groningen side who entered this encounter having halted a slide of two consecutive league defeats by overcoming AZ Alkmaar last Sunday.
Following a goalless opining period, Thom Haye popped up with his first goal of the season to give the hosts the lead 21 minutes into the second half. However, the visitors were back on level terms just nine minutes later through Mimoun Mahi’s third league goal of the season and seemed set for a share of the points until Bartholomew Ogbeche snatched a winner for the hosts with five minutes to play.
Cup heroes, Sparta Rotterdam couldn’t replicate their remarkable midweek exploits which saw the newly promoted side eliminate reigning league champions, PSV Eindhoven at the second round stage of the KNVB Beker – Alex Pastoor’s men only managing a point from their visit to struggling Heracles on Saturday evening.
The visitors, who, despite their midweek cup heroics, were without a win in their last four matches in the league, hit the front just a minute before the break through Ajax loanee, Zakaria El Azzouzi only to be pegged back by the hosts 23 minutes into the second stanza when Brahim Darri pounced with his second goal in as many matches following his strike in the host’s thrashing of third tier, UNA in the cup on Wednesday evening.
John Stegeman’s side, whose only league win this season had been against Willem II all the way back on 14th August, then looked to have wrapped up all three points when Brandley Kuwas completed the turnaround by finding the net with just nine minutes left to play.
However, with the confidence of their midweek cup triumph still pumping through their veins the visitors earned a share of the spoils when another of Sparta’s midweek goal-scoring heroes, Loris Brogno, equalised just a minute later with his fifth league goal of the season.
Elsewhere, reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven put their midweek cup exit at the hands of Sparta firmly behind them by taking all three points from their meeting with Vitesse Arnhem at the GelreDome on Saturday evening.
Gaston Pereiro fired the champions ahead in the 12th minute and the Uruguayan was on hand once more to secure all three points two minutes into added time at the end of the game to lift Phillip Cocu’s side into the top three as they look ahead to a meeting with Bayern Munich at the Philips Stadion in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening.
Saturday’s Eredivisie action was concluded at the Amsterdam ArenA where a spectacular 48th minute Hakim Ziyech volley from just outside the area was all that separated Ajax from an Excelsior side that arrived in Amsterdam on the back of five straight defeats in all competitions.
Peter Bosz’s men, who entertain Celta Vigo in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening, were by far the superior side – creating chances aplenty throughout the course of the contest but failing to take the majority of them. Lasse Schone was the main culprit on the night – crashing a long range pile driver off Tom Muyters left hand upright in the 51st minute before seeing his penalty kick saved by the Excelsior stopper on the hour mark.
Regardless, the win was enough to see de Godenzonen reduce Feyenoord’s lead at the top of the table to two points ahead of the Rotterdam giants’ meeting with fourth placed, Heerenveen at De Kuip on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday’s Eredivisie action kicked off with De IJsselderby as Go Ahead Eagles, fresh from their humiliating cup exit at the hands of fifth tier outfit, Jodan Boys on Tuesday evening, travelled to the MAC3PARK Stadion to face fierce local rivals, PEC Zwolle.
The hosts, on the other hand, came into this encounter unbeaten in their last three league matches as well as having secured passage into the next round of the KNVB Beker at the expense of second tier promotion chasers, VVV Venlo on Thursday evening and it was Ron Jans’ side who started the brighter – taking the lead with just two minutes on the clock when a long ball from centre half, Bram van Polen found Queensy Menig with sufficient time and space inside the visitor’s area to lob the ball over the onrushing Theo Zwarthoed.
In addition to their midweek cup humiliation, Hans de Koning’s side came into this encounter on the back of two straight league defeats and the likelihood of a fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions appeared very much on the cards when Youness Mokhtar wriggled free of the Eagles’ back four five minutes later and unleashed a rasping effort that rattled Zwarthoed’s crossbar from just outside the area.
However, against the run of play the visitors found themselves back on level terms shortly before the half time interval when a Darren Maatsen cross from the left wasn’t dealt with by van Polen – the centre half’s poorly headed clearance falling perfectly for Eagles’ centre half, Sander Fischer to volley spectacularly past former Eagle, Mickey van der Hart in the Zwolle net.
Buoyed by their equaliser, the visitor’s began the second half on the front foot but, with van der Hart’s crossbar still shaking from a wicked Marcel Ritzmaier free kick a minute earlier, the hosts retook the lead when Mustafa Saymak found time and space just outside the visitor’s area to line up a well-placed long range strike that left Eagles ‘keeper, Zwarthoed rooted to the spot.
Any hope the visitors may have harboured of finding an equaliser evaporated two minutes from time when Fischer was shown a straight red card by referee, Serdar Gozubuyuk for pulling back substitute, Anass Achahbar when the former Feyenoord man found himself clean through on goal.
To rub salt into the undermanned visitor’s wounds, Danny Holla slammed home the resultant free kick to seal all three points as well as local bragging rights for the hosts.
Much has been made of the fact that league leaders, Feyenoord have lost just one game in all competitions this term. However, Heerenveen arrived at De Kuip on Sunday afternoon having lost just one game themselves this season and stunned the home crowd by taking the lead with just five minutes on the clock when Iranian international, Reza Ghoochannejhad turned in a right wing cross from Arber Zeneli from close range.
However, the league leaders were back on level terms with 26 minutes on the clock when, following a prolonged period of possession, a through ball from Jens Toornstra found Danish marksman, Nicolai Jorgensen, who, having held his line perfectly to remain onside, beat former Feyenoord ‘keeper Erwin Mulder with a low drive to the far post.
Then in the shadow of half time, Jerry St. Juste brought down Bilal Basacikoglu in the area forcing referee, Pol van Boekel to point to the spot. However, the normally reliable Dirk Kuyt saw his penalty saved by Mulder but the Feyenoord skipper’s blushes were spared when Rick Karsdorp tucked in the rebound to send the hosts in a goal up.
However, the hosts, who make the long trip to the Ukraine to face Zorya Luhansk in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening, were denied a tenth league victory of the season on the hour mark when Swedish-born Kosovar international, Zeneli smashed a spectacular long range strike beyond the reach of Feyenoord ‘keeper, Brad Jones to earn Jurgen Streppel’s men a share of the spoils.
Utrecht came into their encounter with NEC Nijmegen at the Stadion Galgenwaard on Sunday afternoon with two wins from their last two league matches and took the lead when visiting ‘keeper, Joris Delle unwittingly turned a Nacer Barazite effort into his own net following a piercing run and cross from Ajax loanee, Richairo Zivkovic ten minutes before the half time break.
However, the hosts failed to make it three wins from three when 17-year-old substitute, Ferdi Kadioglu brilliantly drew the away side level just after the hour mark.
The eleventh round of Eredivisie action was concluded in The Hague where AZ Alkmaar tuned up for a trip to Tel Aviv in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening by recording their first win in the league since posting an away victory in Zwolle on 18th September – a lone Robert Muhren strike three minutes from time being just enough to see off the challenge of ADO Den Haag.
FC Twente 0-0 Roda JC
Willem II 2-1 FC Groningen
Heracles 2-2 Sparta Rotterdam
Vitesse Arnhem 0-2 PSV Eindhoven
Ajax 1-0 Excelsior
PEC Zwolle 3-1 Go Ahead Eagles
Feyenoord 2-2 SC Heerenveen
FC Utrecht 1-1 NEC Nijmegen
ADO Den Haag 0-1 AZ Alkmaar
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