EREDIVISIE REPORT: Week Twelve

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With the international break on the horizon, the twelfth round of Eredivisie action began at Het Kasteel on Friday evening where Heerenveen’s incredible 10-match unbeaten run in all competitions surprisingly came to an end at the hands of Sparta Rotterdam.

Jurgen Streppel’s men had not tasted defeat since succumbing to NEC Nijmegen on 20th August and, when Jerry St. Juste put the visitors ahead in the ninth minute things seemed to be going to plan once more for the away side.

Image result for Sparta Rotterdam 3-1 SC Heerenveen

However, within ten minutes, Alex Pastoor’s side had turned the score line on its head through strikes from first, Stijn Spierings and then Ajax loanee, Zakaria El Azzouzi.

With the visitors forced to chase the game in the closing stages, Aussie, Craig Goodwin added a third for the hosts in the 69th minute to seal the home side’s first league victory since dispatching NEC on 18th September.

Another incredible run of results came to an end in Saturday’s early evening fixture – hosts, ADO Den Haag squeezing past the visiting, Willem II thanks to a lone strike by Tom Beugelsdijk eleven minutes after the half time break, to record a first league win since defeating Excelsior on 19th August and end a run of eight Eredivisie matches without a win.

After succumbing to German powerhouse, Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening, reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven saw their chances of progression in European club football’s elite competition come to an end and now face a battle with Russian dark horses, Rostov to earn a place in the UEFA Europa League in the New Year.

Add to this the fact that Phillip Cocu’s men were unceremoniously dumped out of the KNVB Beker at the hands of Sparta Rotterdam a week earlier and the champion’s indifferent form in the league – especially on home soil, all pointed to PSV needing to kick start their season before it was too late.

However, the men from Eindhoven have uncharacteristically struggled for victories at the Philips Stadion – the hosts having won on only two occasions in Eindhoven in the Eredivisie this term, having netted just three times in front of their own fans in the league this season.

So the visit of Rene Hake’s FC Twente brought with it a chance for Philip Cocu’s side to get their season back on track – the visitors who, despite being a formidable prospect in front of their own fans, having only won twice on their travels this season ahead of this encounter.

Yet, following a goalless opening period, it was the away side who struck first – Manchester City Loanee, Enes Unal latching onto a perfectly weighted through ball from centre half, Stefan Thesker before slotting the ball past PSV ‘keeper, Remko Pasveer to notch his eighth goal of an already impressive campaign for the 19-year-old eight minutes after the interval.

However, the visitors were denied a third away win of the season just nine minutes later when Uruguayan, Gaston Pereiro stepped in from the right and hit a low drive that visiting ‘keeper, Nick Marsman could only parry into the path of Mexican centre half, Hector Moreno who salvaged a point for the hosts from close range.

Separated by two points and with just two Eredivisie victories apiece this term – NEC Nijmegen and FC Groningen couldn’t be separated when the two came head to head at De Goffertstadion on Saturday evening.

The visitors looked to be on course for only their second away victory in the league this season when former Excelsior marksman, Tom van Weert put Ernest Faber’s men ahead with just twelve minutes left to play. However, Peter Hyballa’s side earned a share of the spoils just five minutes later when 17-year-old, Ferdi Kadioglu rescued a point for the hosts.

While there were no goals in Saturday’s late fixture between PEC Zwolle and Roda JC at the MAC3PARK Stadion, the point proved priceless for the visitors who (temporarily) moved off the bottom of the table at the expense of Go Ahead Eagles. The stalemate also saw Yannis Anastasiou’s men extend their recent unbeaten run four matches following a dire opening to the campaign which saw the Kerkrade outfit fail to record a single victory in their opening nine games of the season in all competitions.

Sunday’s Eredivisie action began at the Stadion Galgenwaard where FC Utrecht extended their recent unbeaten streak to five matches in all competitions by dispatching struggling Excelsior who arrived in Utrecht on the back of a six game losing streak of their own – goals from Yassin Ayoub and Nacer Barazite just after the half time break setting the hosts on their way to victory despite a late Stanley Elber’s strike seven minutes from time for the visitors.

Ajax arrived at the AFAS Stadion for their North Holland derby with AZ Alkmaar unbeaten in their last 14 games in all competitions and having all but secured progression to the latter stages of the UEFA Europa League following victory over Celta Vigo on Thursday.

John van den Brom’s men meanwhile, welcomed their visitors from Amsterdam unbeaten in their last three matches in all competitions following a goalless draw in Tel Aviv on Thursday and very nearly took the lead with just four minutes gone when Joel Veltman turned the ball against the frame of his own goal in an attempt to clear a dangerous cross from Alireza Jahanbakhsh after the Iranian had intercepted a sloppy piece of distribution from Ajax ‘keeper, Andre Onana.

However, the hosts did take the lead nine minutes later when a Levi Garcia cross was inadvertently redirected by Veltman into the path of an unmarked Wout Weghorst who gleefully slotted the ball past the exposed Onana to notch his fifth league goal of the campaign.

Despite the visitor’s recent good run of form on all fronts, Peter Bosz has had to weather a number of off-field issues which has seen both Anwar El Ghazi and Nemanja Gudelj suspended by the club for various infractions, yet, following a poor first half display, de Godenzonen re-emerged for the second period a different side altogether and equalised just two minutes after the resumption – Amin Younes, having intercepted a poor pass out of defence by Stijn Wuytens, slotting in Chelsea loanee, Bertrand Traore who lifted the ball over AZ ‘keeper, Sergio Rochet to level the score.

With the momentum of the match having shifted in favour of the away side, Younes was heavily involved once more when the visitors took the lead just after the hour mark – Lasse Schone picking out the German with a perfectly weighted through ball before the 23-year-old was denied twice in quick succession by the reflexes of Rochet who was eventually beaten at the third time of asking by Ajax skipper, Davy Klaassen.

However, with the hosts seemingly out for the count, John van den Brom’s charges suddenly got off the mat to grab an equaliser – a long ball from Ron Vlaar finding Jahanbakhsh with sufficient time and space on the right to pick out an unmarked Weghorst whose second goal of the game earned AZ an unlikely share of the spoils with eleven minutes to play.

Elsewhere, Heracles came out on top in a meeting of two out of form sides at the GelreDome on Sunday afternoon.

Having fallen behind to a Ricky van Wolfswinkel strike twelve minutes into the second half, John Stegeman’s side, who hadn’t tasted success in the Eredivisie since a home success over Willem II on 14th August remarkably turned the score line on its head to secure all three points against a Vitesse side who came into this encounter without a win in their last three league matches – Brahim Darri getting the visitors back on level terms just after the hour mark before Samuel Armenteros secured the win from the spot.

Image result for GO AHEAD EAGLES 1-0 FEYENOORD

Sunday’s Eredivisie action was concluded in remarkable fashion at De Adelaarshorst where bottom-of-the-table, Go Ahead Eagles ended Feyenoord’s incredible 22-match unbeaten run that had stretched all the way back to February – Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men having last tasted defeat in the Eredivisie at the hands of PEC Zwolle on Valentine’s Day.

Following a tough trip to the Ukraine to face Zorya which, despite having been reduced to ten men following the first half dismissal of Eric Botteghin, yielded a valuable point that edged Feyenoord closer to the latter stages of the UEFA Europa League, the league leaders arrived in Deventer without a number of familiar faces including Tonny Vilhena, who lost his mother earlier in the week and ‘keeper Brad Jones, whose injury saw an Eredivisie debut handed to Swedish ‘stopper, Par Hansson.

The visitor’s recent European excursions and unfamiliar starting line-up perhaps contributed to a rare indifferent performance from the previously all-conquering Rotterdam giants which saw Hans de Koning’s Eagles, who came into this encounter off the back of four straight defeats in all competitions, grow in confidence as the match wore on and deservedly take the lead on the half hour mark when Darren Maatsen picked the pocket of Jan-Arie van der Heijden on the edge of the visitor’s area before squaring the ball across the face of Hansson’s goal for an unmarked Jarchinio Antonia add the ultimately decisive finish.

RESULTS

Sparta Rotterdam 3-1 SC Heerenveen

ADO Den Haag 1-0 Willem II

NEC Nijmegen 1-1 FC Groningen

PSV Eindhoven 1-1 FC Twente

PEC Zwolle 0-0 Roda JC

FC Utrecht 2-1 Excelsior

AZ Alkmaar 2-2 AFC Ajax

Vitesse Arnhem 1-2 Heracles

Go Ahead Eagles 1-0 Feyenoord

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