EREDIVISIE PLAYOFFS: Breda back and Roda staying

Promotion/ Relegation Playoffs

1st Round 1st Leg

Monday 8th May 2017

RKC Waalwijk 1-5 FC Emmen

The end of season free-for-all that is the promotion/ relegation playoffs got underway in free-scoring fashion at the Mandemakers Stadion where visitors, FC Emmen hit their hosts, RKC Waalwijk for five to put themselves firmly into the driving seat ahead of Friday’s return leg.

Despite the two sides ending the campaign separated by just a single point, this proved to be anything but a tight affair and it took the away side just eleven minutes to break the deadlock – Youri Loen lashing the ball past Tamati Williams from just outside the area after being teed up by Issa Kallon

Eleven minutes later, Dick Lukkien’s side doubled their advantage – Kallon the quickest to react when Williams could only partially block a long range effort from Oguzhan Türk seconds after the 31-year-old had capitalised on some poor control by Philippe van Arnhem just inside the home side’s half.

With just one win in their last eight outings, the host’s tepid display was perhaps not wholly unexpected and the visitors dispelled any thoughts of a comeback by Peter van den Berg’s side four minutes after the interval – De Graafschap loanee, Alexander Bannink tucking the ball past Williams from the edge of the box after being picked out by a neat cut-back from the by-line by Frank Olijve before the provider then turned goal-scorer – Gersom Klok stabbing a high ball from Loen back across the face of goal for the untracked, Olijve to side-foot home from just outside the box.

Despite the away side having arrived in Waalwijk with just one win in their last five, by the time Kai Huisman tucked away number five for the visitors ten minutes from time, the tie appeared all but over despite there still being a return leg to play – Klok slipping Huisman in behind the host’s beleaguered rear guard with an incisive through ball before seeing the 22-year-old nick the ball over the onrushing Williams to bag just his second goal of the campaign.

However, Johan Voskamp’s close range header four minutes later served to ensure that, while it is unlikely that van den Berg’s men will be able to overturn such a substantial deficit, Friday’s return leg will at least retain an element of uncertainty.

Helmond Sport 4-2 Almere City

There were six more goals In the evening’s other 1st leg encounter at the Lavans Stadion where hosts, Helmond Sport, despite finding themselves two goals down as the game entered the closing stages, put four past visitors Almere City in the space of the final nineteen minutes to give Roy Hendriksen’s men an unlikely advantage ahead of Friday’s 2nd leg.

Despite having gone four games without a win ahead of this encounter, things appeared to be going the way of the away side who, having ended the season ten points clear of their hosts broke the deadlock shortly before the half hour mark – Gaston Salasiwa prodding the ball past an exposed Stijn van Gassel after being picked out by a low cross from the right by Sherjill MacDonald, and when Ricky ten Voorde doubled the visitor’s advantage from just inside the area with twenty one minutes to play it seemed as though Jack de Gier’s men were in complete control of the tie.

However, when Go Ahead Eagles loanee, Teije ten Den pulled a goal back for the home side just two minutes later – heading a pinpoint Jordy Thomassen cross from the right just under Chiel Kramer’s crossbar to notch his eleventh of the campaign, there followed a remarkable final nineteen minutes which ultimately saw the home side well and truly turn the tie on its head.

Buoyed by the goal, the hosts – who, despite finishing in thirteenth, qualified for the playoffs by virtue of boasting the second best record during the second period of the league season behind eventual Eerste Divisie champions, VVV Venlo, took just three minutes to level the scores when Robert Braber punished the visiting defence for failing to clear their lines following a long throw by Gillian Justiana – the experienced 34-year-old slamming the ball past a static Kramer at the back post.

Despite having gone three without a win ahead of this encounter, nine minutes from time, with the momentum having swung dramatically in their favour, Hendriksen’s men edged themselves into the ascendancy – Thomassen rising highest to head a Joroen Verkennis cross from the right beyond the despairing dive of Kramer before Steven Edwards handed the home side a two-goal cushion ahead of Friday’s return leg by sending Kramer the wrong way from the spot after referee, Jeroen Manschot ruled that Abdel Metalsi had pulled back ten Den on the edge of the box as the on-loan striker looked to get on the end of a Justiana free kick from mid-way inside the visitor’s half.

1st Round 2nd Leg

Friday 12th May 2017

FC Emmen 0-1 RKC Waalwijk

(FC Emmen win 5-2 on aggregate)

Having been hit for five in front of their own supporters in Monday’s 1st leg, visitors RKC Waalwijk at least managed to salvage some pride by not only keeping a clean sheet at the JenS Vesting Stadion but also edging out hosts, FC Emmen – despite being reduced to ten men following the 68th minute dismissal of Roel van de Sande, by virtue of a solitary Johan Voskamp strike just after the half hour mark – Daan Rienstra threading the ball through for Voskamp who then turned Josimar Lima inside out before tucking the ball past Etienne Vaessen.

However, while the 32-year-old’s seventeenth of the campaign proved enough to take the victory on the night, the hosts merciless performance in Monday’s initial encounter between the sides saw Dick Lukkien’s men through to the 2nd round of the competition where they will meet NEC Nijmegen.

Almere City 0-2 Helmond Sport

(Helmond Sport win 6-2 on aggregate)

In the night’s other 2nd leg encounter, visitors Helmond Sport sealed a date with Roda JC in the next round of the competition by virtue of two quick-fire strikes in the space of three minutes shortly before the break at the Yanmar Stadion to effectively close out their 1st round tie with hosts, Almere City with a half of football to spare.

Having hit four in the space of the final nineteen minutes of Monday’s initial encounter between the two sides to turn the tie on its head after initially finding themselves two down in front of their own supporters, Roy Hendriksen’s men dashed any hopes the home side may have harboured of going any further in the competition when Jordy Thomassen broke the deadlock from close range five minutes before the interval with his fifteenth of the campaign to make it two in two for the 24-year-old before Go Ahead Eagles loanee, Teije ten Den helped himself to his second in as many games just three minutes later – the man on a season-long loan from the Deventer-based club being inexplicably afforded the time and space to head a pinpoint cross from the left by Jason Bourdouxhe past an exposed Chiel Kramer in the home goal.

2nd Round 1st Leg

Thursday 18th May 2017

Helmond Sport 0-1 Roda JC

A lone strike by Dani Schahin seven minutes after the break proved enough to save Roda JC’s blushes at the Lavans Stadion and put the Eredivisie side in the driving seat in their tie with second tier, Helmond Sport ahead of Sunday’s return leg at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion – the ball landing at the unmarked German’s feet inches from the goal line after a low drive from Mikhael Rosheuvel from just inside the area had initially been deflected by the left knee of Steven Edwards onto the foot of Stijn van Gassel’s left hand upright.

Yannis Anastasiou’s side managed to maintain their slender advantage despite being reduced to ten men shortly before the hour mark when Adil Auassar was given his marching orders by referee, Martin van den Kerkhof following a wild challenge on Jason Bourdouxhe.

MVV Maastricht 1-1 SC Cambuur

Despite being separated by twelve points in the final standings, there was nothing to choose between MVV Maastricht and SC Cambuur on Thursday evening at De Geusselt.

The hosts were out of the blocks quickly and took the lead with just eight minutes on the clock through Kelechi Nwakali – the 18-year-old Nigerian slamming Ricardo Ippel’s deflected cross from the left past Harm Zeinstra at the back post.

However, the away side, who, following a tumultuous start to the season ultimately finished third in the Eerste Divisie standings after capping a remarkable cup run that saw them take the scalps of both Ajax and FC Utrecht along the way before taking AZ Alkmaar to the limit in their KNVB Beker semi-final encounter in which the side coached by Sipke Hulshoff and Arne Slot were unlucky to eventually lose on penalties, were back on level terms in spectacular fashion just nine minutes later – Sander van de Streek taking a long pass from Robbert Schilder in his stride before curling the ball beyond a static Bo Geens in the MVV net from just outside the area.

With neither side able to add to the scoring thereafter, the pressure will be on Cambuur to make their home advantage count in Sunday’s return leg in Leeuwarden.

Volendam 2-2 NAC Breda

Just two points separated fifth placed, NAC Breda from the side that finished sixth, Volendam so their 2nd Round tie was always likely to be a tight a affair and so it proved as the sides shared four goals between them in an entertaining 1st leg at the Kras Stadion on Thursday evening.

Following a goalless first half the game suddenly sprang to life shortly after the hour mark – Manchester City loanee, Thomas Agyepong heading home a well-weighted cross from the right by Giovanni Korte at the back post.

However, just three minutes later the hosts were back on level terms – Daniel van Son smashing the ball into the top left hand corner of Jorn Brondeel’s net after being found in space just outside the area by Rihairo Meulens.

Not content with simply clawing their way back on level terms, the home side then hit the front with another effort from the top draw – Nick Runderkamp chipping a square pass from Meulens into the air before volleying the ball past a helpless Brondeel from just inside the area five minutes from time.

Yet, Stijn Vreven’s men weren’t finished and, with a minute of the ninety left to play, found an equaliser thanks to Cyriel Dessers’ twenty third of, what has been, a prolific campaign in front of goal for the 22-year-old – the Belgian taking a Danny Verbeek pass in his stride on the left hand side of the area before holding off the attentions of Erik Schouten and rifling the ball past Hobie Verhulst in the Volendam net.

FC Emmen 1-3 NEC Nijmegen

Having arrested a run of seven successive defeats by posting back-to-back victories under interim coach, Ron de Groot, NEC Nijmegen made it three wins in three by hitting hosts, FC Emmen for three at the JenS Vesting Stadion in the 1st leg of their 2nd Round tie on Thursday evening.

FC Emmen were out of the blocks quickly and rocked their illustrious guests by taking the lead with just four minutes on the clock – Alexander Bannink slamming a rasping right-footed effort past Joris Delle to notch his second goal in his last three outings after Issa Kallon’s low cross from the left had found the 27-year-old in acres of space on the edge of the area.

The home side were good value for their lead and it wasn’t until nine minutes into the second half that the Eredivisie outfit restored parity thanks, in no small part, to a big slice of luck – Gregor Breinburg posting his fifth of the season after seeing his long range drive palmed onto the inside of home ‘keeper, Dennis Telgenkamp’s near post by the 30-year-old who could only watch on helplessly as the ball ricocheted into the back of his net.

With host’s brave resistance broken, the Eredivisie side’s class began to show just as Emmen’s confidence began to ebb away and, fourteen minutes later, de Groot’s men doubled their advantage through Jay-Roy Grot’s sixth goal of the season – the 19-year-old rolling the ball in off Telgenkamp’s left hand upright after being teed up by Julian von Haacke just outside the host’s area.

With two minutes of the ninety remaining, the away side put themselves firmly into the driving seat ahead of Sunday’s return leg in Nijmegen by making it three through Liverpool loanee, Taiwo Awoniyi’s third goal in as many games – the 19-year-old Nigerian curling the ball beyond the despairing dive of Telgenkamp from the edge of the area.

2nd Round 2nd Leg

Sunday 21st May 2017

Roda JC 1-1 Helmond Sport

(Roda JC win 2-1 on aggregate)

A 90th minute strike by substitute, Gyliano van Velzen was enough to spare ten man, Roda JC’s blushes and earn the Eredivisie side passage into the 3rd round of the promotion/ relegation playoffs despite the brave efforts of visitors, Helmond Sport.

Despite being a goal-down from Thursday’s initial encounter between the sides, the visitors were undaunted by their host’s vociferous home backing and were handed the opportunity to square the tie with just eleven minutes on the clock when referee, Siemen Mulder ruled that Mohamed El Makrini had brought down Robert Braber in the host’s area only for Steven Edwards to see his resultant penalty saved by Benjamin van Leer in the Roda net.

Having ridden their luck somewhat, the hosts then found themselves reduced to ten men a minute before the break – referee, Mulder giving Mikhael Rosheuvel his marching orders after the 26-year-old threw himself recklessly into a challenge with Jason Bourdouxhe just inside the visitors half and the host’s misery was compounded five minutes after the restart when Edwards made amends for his earlier miss from the spot by teeing up Furhgill Zeldenrust with a well weighted ball that – having caught out Martin Milec, allowed the 27-year-old to steal in behind the Roda full back and bag his seventh of the campaign.

Despite being pitted against the lowest ranked of all the teams in contention for a place in the top flight next term, Roda’s Eredivisie status appeared to be in grave jeopardy until two substitutes combined in the 90th minute to spare Yannis Anastasiou’s side’s blushes – Gyliano van Velzen stabbing the ball past Stijn van Gassel from close range after Nathan Rutjes had diverted a Dani Schahin cross from the left into the path of the 23-year-old.

SC Cambuur 1-2 MVV Maastricht

(MVV Maastricht win 3-2 on aggregate)

MVV Maastricht left it late to stun hosts, SC Cambuur – Ron Elsen’s side snatching a place in the 3rd round of the promotion/ relegation playoffs by virtue of a last gasp strike by substitute, Thomas Verheijdt three minutes into added time.

With both sides having failed to make the breakthrough in a goalless first half it appeared that the home side were on course to progress into the final round of the competition when half time substitute, Martijn Barto flicked Jamiro’s perfectly weighted through ball beyond Bo Geens to notch his eighteenth of the season in all competitions just short of the hour mark.

However, with ten minutes to go the away side clawed their way back onto level terms in spectacular fashion – Steven Pereira out-muscling Marvin Peersman and fashioning the space behind the host’s back line to latch onto an speculative punt by Kelechi Nwakali with an audacious bicycle kick which caught Harm Zeinstra well off his line before substitute, Thomas Verheijdt headed home a pinpoint diagonal from Joeri Schroijen in the third minute of added time to seal a date with local rivals, Roda JC in the final round of the competition.

NAC Breda 2-0 Volendam

(NAC Breda win 4-2 on aggregate)

A first half brace from Cyriel Dessers in the space of eighteen minutes proved enough to see NAC Breda past visitors, Volendam and into the 3rd round of the promotion/ relegation playoffs where Stijn Vreven’s side will now face NEC Nijmegen for a place in the top flight next season.

Having left it late to level matters in Thursday’s initial encounter between the two sides, Vreven’s men were far quicker out of the blocks in front of their own fans – hotshot, Cyriel Dessers making it an impressive twenty four goals for the campaign with just six minutes on the clock – the Belgian putting the home side into the ascendancy with a low drive after Giovanni Korte had initially fashioned an opening by cutting in from the right and picking out Fabian Sporkslede, whose pull-back then found the 22-year-old in acres of space just inside the visitor’s area.

The home side doubled their advantage just eighteen minutes later with Dessers on hand once more to bag his fourth goal in as many games to ultimately secure the host’s passage into the final round of the competition – the young Belgian rising highest to head a pinpoint free kick from Manchester City loanee, Manu Garcia past Hobie Verhulst from close range in the 24th minute.

NEC Nijmegen 1-0 FC Emmen

(NEC Nijmegen win 4-1 on aggregate)

NEC Nijmegen made it four wins from four by virtue of a solitary first half strike by Kevin Mayi which – following a dominant display in Thursday evening’s initial encounter between the sides, set the seal on a comprehensive overall victory for Ron de Groot’s men over second tier outfit, FC Emmen on Sunday afternoon at De Goffertstadion.

Having failed to bag a win (or point, for that matter) since a home victory over Heracles on the 5th March, the interim appointment of Ron de Groot following the dismissal of coach, Peter Hyballa has worked wonders in Nijmegen and, when 24-year-old, Kevin Mayi put the home side into the ascendancy with 26 minute on the clock, de Groot’s men – having snapped a seven game losing streak, were on course to record a fourth win is as many outings – Gregor Breinburg out-muscling Alexander Bannink just inside his own half before finding Mayi with a pinpoint diagonal that visiting centre half, Tim Siekman failed to deal with – allowing the Frenchman to stroke the ball past the exposed Dennis Telgenkamp from the edge of the box.

3rd Round 1st Leg

Thursday 25th May 2017

NAC Breda 1-0 NEC Nijmegen

A solitary strike by Belgian goal-machine, Cyriel Dessers six minutes from time proved just enough to give NAC Breda the advantage in their tie with NEC Nijmegen ahead of Sunday’s return leg at De Goffertstadion.

Despite dominating the opening period and seeing a Dario Dumic header come back off Jorn Brondeel’s left hand upright after an Ali Messaoud cross from the left had caused chaos in the host’s area with NAC’s Belgian shot-stopper having to be on his toes to scoop the ball out from underneath his own crossbar, the visitors were lucky not to end up a man-down – referee, Dennis Higler waving a red card in the direction of Wojciech Golla, after the centre half looked to have pulled back Cyriel Dessers with the host’s prolific marksman clean through on goal, before reversing his decision on the advice of the video referee.

The second half proved to be a similar story with the visitors dominating for large periods but ultimately failing to make the breakthrough with Liverpool loanee, Taiwo Awoniyi coming the closest for de Groot’s side – the 19-year-old Nigerian seeing his header come back off Brondeel’s crossbar before the hosts snatched what could well prove to be a crucial strike in the Breda-based outfit’s quest to reclaim top flight status at the second time of asking following their demotion in 2015 – Giovanni Korte capitalising on a poor pass from Michael Heinloth before slipping in Dessers who then coolly tucked the ball past the exposed, Joris Delle to notch his fifth in as many games and leave NAC in the driving seat heading into Sunday’s crucial 2nd leg in Nijmegen.

MVV Maastricht 0-0 Roda JC

Thursday evening’s other 1st leg encounter proved to be even more closely contested than the its predecessor with neither hosts, MVV Maastricht, nor visitors, Roda JC able to break the deadlock in a tense Limburgse derby at De Geusselt that will sadly be remembered more for events off the field as those on it in a match that was marred by crowd trouble during the half time interval.

Image result for Roda JC 1-0 MVV Maastricht

3rd Round 2nd Leg

Sunday 28th May 2017

Roda JC 1-0 MVV Maastricht

(Roda JC win 1-0 on aggregate and retain their place in the Eredivisie)

A lone first half header by Daryl Werker proved enough to preserve Roda JC’s Eredivisie status as Yannis Anastasiou’s side edged their way past undermanned local rivals, MVV Maastricht in the return leg of their 3rd round tie on Sunday afternoon at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion.

Following a goalless 1st leg that was marred by crowd trouble, another vociferous atmosphere greeted the combatants in Kerkrade and, backed by a partisan home support, it was the hosts that eventually broke the deadlock in the tie when Daryl Werker put the hosts into the ascendancy in the 26th minute – the 22-year-old centre half rising highest to head home a Adil Auassar corner from the right at the back post.

The visitors were desperate to secure an Eredivisie return for the first time in seventeen years – MVV having not tasted top flight football since their demotion at the turn of the century. Yet, try as they might, Ron Elsen’s men failed to find the breakthrough and, with frustration mounting, tempers flaring and time ebbing away on the Maastricht-based outfit’s top flight dream, referee, Ed Janssen – having taken time out to review video footage of what appeared a seemingly innocuous tussle on half way between MVV centre half, Nick Kuipers and Roda’s Mitchell Paulissen, effectively ended the visitor’s promotion hopes by bizarrely opting to give an incredulous Kuipers his marching orders just short of the hour mark, leaving the undermanned away side with a proverbial mountain to climb that ultimately proved too steep.

Image result for NEC Nijmegen 1-4 NAC Breda

NEC Nijmegen 1-4 NAC Breda

(NAC Breda win 5-1 on aggregate and are promoted to the Eredivisie)

A hat-trick by Belgian hot-shot, Cyriel Dessers fired NAC Breda back into the top flight of Dutch football after a two-year absence at the expense of ten-man NEC Nijmegen, who now head in the other direction after capitulating in the wake of the second half dismissal of substitute, Mohammed Rayhi in Sunday afternoon’s other return leg at De Goffertstadion.

Having arrived in Nijmegen a goal-up from Thursday evening’s initial encounter between the sides, the visitors were handed an early opportunity to add to their overall advantage when referee, Kevin Blom pointed to the spot – the experienced 43-year-old official having opted to consult a video replay of a coming together between Lorenzo Burnet and Giovanni Korte just inside the host’s area, after which Breda’s Belgian goal machine, Cyriel Dessers made no mistake – sending Joris Delle the wrong way from the resultant penalty to double the away side’s aggregate advantage.

However, the home side managed to claw their way back into the tie in similar fashion just after the half hour mark – Blom awarding the hosts a spot kick of their own after once more consulting with the video referee following a challenge by Bart Meijers on the host’s Liverpool loanee, Taiwo Awoniyi from which Gregor Breinburg sent visiting ‘keeper, Jorn Brondeel the wrong way.

The turning point in the tie arrived during a frantic three minute spell early in the second half – Dessers notching his second of the game – despite the best efforts of Delle, at the third time of asking to give the away side a two-goal cushion on aggregate seven minutes after the resumption before substitute, Mohammed Rayhi was given his marching orders by Blom three minutes later following a rash two-footed lunge on Arno Verschueren in the 55th minute – the 22-year-old having only been on the field ten minutes after replacing Arnaut Groeneveld during the half time interval.

Things soon unravelled for the hosts thereafter as Giovanni Korte added a third nineteen minutes from time – Manchester City loanee, Manu Garcia dinking the ball delightfully over the host’s back line for Korte to half volley the ball beyond an exposed Joris Delle from the edge of the box.

With the promotion party already in full swing amongst the sizeable travelling contingent, the away side put the seal on a comprehensive victory when Dessers grabbed his hat trick three minutes later – the 22-year-old bagging number twenty nine of what has been a prolific season in front of goal for the Belgian marksman by tapping the ball into an empty net after another man on loan from the blue half of Manchester – Thomas Agyepong, had initially seen his rasping drive cannon off Delle’s right hand upright.


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