Following the international break, the thirteenth round of Eredivisie action got underway on Saturday evening at the Abe Lenstra Stadion where Heerenveen, having seen their remarkable 10-match unbeaten run in all competitions come to an abrupt halt at the hands of Sparta Rotterdam last time out, could only manage a point against a Vitesse Arnhem side who came into this encounter without a win in their last four league matches – Chelsea loanee, Lewis Baker giving the visitors the lead in the 72nd minute before substitute, Henk Veerman snatched a point for the hosts six minutes from time.
Having surprisingly brought to an end Feyenoord’s 22-match unbeaten run in the league last time out, Go Ahead Eagles arrived at the Polman Stadion in Almelo with a spring in their step for a third local derby in their last four league matches – this time against Heracles.
The visitor’s victory over the league leaders had snapped a four game losing streak in all competitions that had previously seen the newly promoted side slide to the foot of the table and be dumped out of the KNVB Beker had the hands of fifth tier amateur outfit, Jodan Boys. However, they came into this encounter just one point behind their hosts – John Stegeman’s side having recorded a surprise victory of their own last time out – taking all three points from a trip to Arnhem, having previously tasted victory all the way back on 14th August when the Almelo-based outfit put three past Willem II at the Polman Stadion.
The new-found confidence of Hans de Koning’s side was in evidence as the visitors took the lead with just 17 minutes on the clock – Jarchinio Antonia, the Eagles’ goal-scoring hero in the victory over Feyenoord, hitting a long ball from Joey Groenbast first time to beat Heracles stopper, Bram Castro.
Despite Brahim Darri rattling Theo Zwarthoed’s crossbar in the 21st minute, it seemed as though the Deventer-based outfit were headed for their first away win in the Eredivisie this season until Samuel Armenteros caught a bouncing ball on the edge of the visitor’s area with a sweet half volley that looped over Zwarthoed’s despairing dive to bring the hosts level 22 minutes from time.
With the momentum having shifted in favour of the home side, it was Armenteros once more who popped up to seal just a third league win this term for the hosts – the Swedish marksmen picking up the ball just outside the visitor’s area and wriggling his way through the Eagles’ rear guard before slotting the ball under the onrushing Zwarthoed for his seventh goal of the season in all competitions.
A little later on Saturday evening, reigning league champions, PSV Eindhoven – having dropped points at home to FC Twente just prior to the international break, continued to see their season unravel as Phillip Cocu’s men were surprisingly held goalless at the hands of struggling, Willem II in Tilburg.
Elsewhere, Excelsior played host to Rotterdam neighbours, Sparta on Saturday night having lost their last seven games in all competitions, while Alex Pastoor’s newly promoted side arrived at the Stadion Woudestein off the back of a home victory over high flying, Heerenveen – Sparta’s first league win since a home victory over NEC on 18th September.
The visitors newfound confidence was clear to see as Sparta hit the front on 22 minutes through Loris Brogno’s sixth goal of the season. However, their out-of-form hosts levelled just four minutes later through Stanley Elbers before Fredy Ribeiro turned the score line on its head on the half hour mark.
Nigel Hasselbaink added a third for the home side twenty minutes into the second period to ultimately seal all three points for the hosts despite Denzel Dumfries setting the home supporter’s nerves jangling with the visitor’s second in the 73rd minute.
At the same time, Groningen secured just their third league win of the season at the expense of an ADO Den Haag side who came into this encounter having recorded just their fourth league win this term against Willem II just prior to the international break.
An Edouard Duplan strike in the 42nd minute sent the sides in on level terms at the Noordlease Stadion after Hans Hateboer had initially put the hosts in the driving seat with just ten minutes on the clock, before a goal from Tom van Weert, nine minutes into the second stanza, ultimately proved just enough to wrap up all three points for Ernest Faber’s men.
Sunday’s Eredivisie action began at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion in Kerkrade where bottom side, Roda JC remained at the foot of the standings despite extending their recent good run of form to five matches without defeat – emerging with a point from their lunchtime encounter with AZ Alkmaar.
The hosts hit the front six minutes before the break through Abdul Ajagun but Yannis Anastasiou’s men were denied all three points when Wout Weghorst popped up to equalise for the visitors just short of the hour mark.
Elsewhere, Ajax played host to NEC Nijmegen knowing that a win would take them to the top of the table and Peter Bosz’s men hit the front 19 minutes in – Kasper Dolberg playing a neat give and go with Danish compatriot Lasse Schone before muscling his way through the visitor’s rear guard and thrashing the ball past NEC ‘keeper, Joris Delle.
The home side, who play host to Panathinaikos in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening, doubled their advantage just five minutes later when Hakim Ziyech found Ajax skipper, Davy Klaassen on the right hand side of the visitor’s area with sufficient time and space to pick out Dolberg who made no mistake from just outside the box.
The 19-year-old Danish starlet then completed his hat trick in the 37th minute – heading home a perfectly floated Daley Sinkgraven cross from the left following a quickly taken free kick from Ziyech that caught the visiting defenders napping.
The hosts began the second period as ruthlessly as they had ended the first and made it four with 55 minutes on the clock – Chelsea loanee, Bertrand Traore taking the ball from Davinson Sanchez before cutting inside Wojciech Golla and curling the ball beyond the exposed Delle.
It was all one way traffic and it came as little surprise when Ajax found a fifth – Lasse Schone capping a glorious period of possession with a spectacular long range effort from well outside the area that left Delle grasping at thin air.
Despite having to play with only ten men for the majority of their encounter with FC Twente following the dismissal of Ramon Leeuwin in the ninth minute, Erik ten Hag’s, FC Utrecht still came away from their visit to De Grolsch Veste on Sunday afternoon with a creditable point.
The hosts hit the front with 22 minutes on the clock when Peet Bijen found Hidde ter Avest with a penetrating long ball – the full back having the composure and presence of mind to lob the ball over the onrushing Robbin Ruiter as the Utrecht ‘keeper scrambled in vein to close down the angle at the edge of his area.
However, just four minutes later the visitors snatched an equaliser – a poor defensive clearance found its way to Yassin Ayoub who saw his speculative effort from just outside the area weakly parried onto the head of Richairo Zivkovic by Twente ‘keeper, Nick Marsman – the Ajax loanee making no mistake with the goal at his mercy to ultimately secure an unlikely point for the away side.
The thirteenth round of action was concluded at De Kuip where Feyenoord returned to the Eredivisie summit following a lacklustre three-goal victory over PEC Zwolle.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men, who no doubt had one eye on a mouth-watering trip to Old Trafford in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening, came into this encounter off the back of a surprise defeat at the hands of Go Ahead Eagles – a defeat which had brought the host’s remarkable 22-match unbeaten run in the league to an abrupt halt.
After a slow start, the hosts took the lead when Feyenoord’s inspirational skipper, Dirk Kuyt headed home a pin point Jens Toornstra cross from the right in the 38th minute before Karim El Ahmadi smashed in a spectacular second from well outside the area with 19 minutes left to play.
The victory was rounded off when Eljero Elia cut in from the left and found Kuyt inside the visitor’s area whose well weighted pass found Toornstra with time and space aplenty to lash in a spectacular third from well outside the area and restore the host’s two point cushion at the top of the Eredivisie standings.
SC Heerenveen 1-1 Vitesse Arnhem
Heracles 2-1 Go Ahead Eagles
Willem II 0-0 PSV Eindhoven
Excelsior 3-2 Sparta Rotterdam
FC Groningen 2-1 ADO Den Haag
Roda JC 1-1 AZ Alkmaar
AFC Ajax 5-0 NEC Nijmegen
FC Twente 1-1 FC Utrecht
Feyenoord 3-0 PEC Zwolle
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