The second round the 2017/18 campaign got underway at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion where, despite being under new management, it was more of the same for the home side as cup-holders, Vitesse Arnhem made it two wins from two at the expense of hosts, Roda JC – Robert Molenaar’s side falling to a second-straight defeat.

Having shipped four in their trip to PEC Zwolle on the opening weekend, the hosts were far more organised here and looked like taking their clean sheet into the half time interval until Slovenian marksman, Tim Matavz capitalised on a poor back-pass by centre half, Frederic Ananou to curl the ball beyond an exposed Hidde Jurjus and give Henk Fraser’s side the lead five minutes before the break.

Despite falling behind, Molenaar’s charges refused to let their heads drop and, thanks in no small part to a hefty slice of luck, found an equaliser nineteen minutes into the second half – referee, Jochem Kamphuis ruling Milot Rashica to have brought down Mikhail Rosheuvel as the Roda forward streaked towards the by-line leaving last week’s two goal hero, Simon Gustafson to see his resultant spot-kick hit the foot of Remko Pasveer’s right hand upright before going in off the back of the former PSV glovesman.

However, despite being pegged back, it took just five minutes for the visitors to restore their advantage – Thomas Bruns curling a perfectly placed free kick from just outside the area beyond the reach of Jurjus.

The away side dispelled any hopes of a comeback by their hosts ten minutes from time – Guram Kashia rising highest to head an Alexander Büttner corner from the right past a static Jurjus.

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Saturday’s Eredivisie action got underway in Enschede where newly promoted VVV Venlo continued to make light of their step up to the top flight of Dutch football by making it two wins in as many games at the expense of hosts, FC Twente.

Despite their encouraging performance against reigning champions, Feyenoord last time out and seeing Marko Kvasina hit the foot of Lars Unnerstall’s right hand upright with just two minutes gone here, the hosts found themselves playing catch-up after just twenty three minutes – Vito van Crooij running onto a Lennart Thy flick-on before flashing the ball past Jorn Brondeel in the home goal to bag his second in as many games.

The away side doubled their advantage four minutes before the break – centre half, Jerold Promes stabbing home from close range after being found by Ralf Seuntjens’ cushioned header following a well-worked corner routine on the right by the away side.

Despite ultimately failing to post any points for the second week in succession, Rene Hake’s men did manage to claw their way back into the contest early in the second half when, having bagged 34 goals in all competitions last term, former FC Oss marksman, Tom Boere cut the deficit in half with his first goal since making the step up from the second tier on the hour mark – the 24-year-old nodding the ball past Unnerstall after being found on the edge of the box by a pinpoint cross from first half substitute, Jeroen van der Lely.

Having each suffered set-backs on the opening weekend, both AZ Alkmaar and ADO Den Haag were keen to get their respective seasons back on track. However, it was the hosts who came out on top over their undermanned guests when the two sides clashed at the AFAS Stadion on Saturday evening.

Having been lucky to have escaped falling behind when Ron Vlaar was on hand to clear a goal-bound Melvyn Lorenzen effort off the line after AZ ‘keeper, Marco Bizot had been stranded in no-man’s land denying ADO’s Norwegian forward, Bjorn Johnsen with just eight minutes on the clock, John van den Brom’s side were handed the perfect start when referee, Danny Makkelie gave the returning Wilfried Kanon his marking orders just before the half hour mark – the Ivory Coast international picking up his second booking of the match for pulling Vlaar to the ground as the AZ skipper attempted to meet a corner from the left, leaving Wout Weghorst to force the resultant spot-kick past Robert Zwinkels.

Despite being reduced to ten men the away side refused to let their heads drop and it was only when the hosts doubled their advantage twenty minutes from time that the home side could be sure of taking all three points – Guus Til rising highest to head home a Marko Vejinovic corner from the right past a static Zwinkels.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action was concluded in Friesland where hosts Heerenveen left it late to salvage a point from their clash with Heracles.

Having weathered a torrid opening period that was dominated by their hosts, John Stegeman’s side, buoyed by their victory over Ajax seven days earlier, edged ahead against the run of play a minute into added time at the end of the half when Robin Pröpper’s deflected volley following a Brandley Kuwas corner from the left found its way between the despairing dive of Wouter van der Steen and the home ‘keeper’s left hand upright.

Despite Joost van Aken beating Bram Castro with a close range header twenty minutes from time, the centre half saw his effort ruled out by referee, Edwin van de Graaf, who adjudged Iranian international, Reza Ghoochannejhad to have pushed Jeff Hardeveld in the back before teeing up van Aken to finish leaving the away side seemingly on course for their second win in as many games to open the new campaign until the third minute of added time when substitute, Nemanja Mihajlovic nodded a van der Steen clearance past Castro to snatch a point for Jurgen Streppel’s side.

Sunday’s Eredivisie action got underway at the newly rechristened Van Donge & De Roo Stadion where reigning champions Feyenoord edged past Rotterdam neighbours Excelsior to make it two wins from two to continue their perfect start to the defence of their title.

In a game of few chances the outcome was ultimately decided in the eighteenth minute when, having ghosted past Jurgen Mattheij, Tonny Vilhena slipped in Jean-Paul Boëtius with a perfectly weighted through ball for the 23-year-old to slot the ball past an exposed Alessandro Damen in the home goal.

With a crucial trip to Russia to come on Thursday evening, FC Utrecht – in what was already their seventh competitive outing of the season, tuned up for the return leg of their UEFA Europa League play-off tie with Zenit St. Petersburg by making short work of visitors, Willem II on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts effectively had the points in the bag inside the opening seven minutes as Erik ten Hag’s side hit their guests with two early goals – Zakaria Labyad slotting the ball beyond the reach of visiting ‘keeper, Timon Wellenreuther to put the home side into the ascendancy with just two minutes on the clock after inadvertently playing a game of pinball on the edge of the area with Lukas Görtler, who, somewhat unwittingly, picked up an assist for the part his back played in the build-up before the German forward then played a more deliberate role in teeing up Belgian strike-partner, Cyriel Dessers to double the home side’s advantage just five minutes later – Görtler drawing a save from the onrushing Wellenreuther after being sent clear by a well weighted ball over the top by Urby Emanuelson which the 21-year-old German could only parry into the path of Dessers, who was left with the simple task of rolling the ball into the back of an empty net.

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At the same time Ajax were busy getting their season back on track at the expense of visitors, FC Groningen.

Having lost twice in what has been a week to forget for Marcel Keizer’s troops, the home side quickly set about asserting their authority and the home side could have taken the lead just after the quarter hour but Hakim Ziyech saw his effort from just outside the area cannon back off the foot of Sergio Padt’s right hand upright.

Having made a number of alterations with Thursday’s return leg in Norway in the back of his mind, Keizer opted to hand Klaas-Jan Huntelaar his first start since returning to the club and the coach’s faith was repaid by the veteran marksman as he opened the scoring seven minutes before the break – Ziyech bending in a perfectly weighted cross for the Dutch international to gleefully nod the ball beyond a static Padt.

The hosts doubled their advantage three minutes into the second half – Ziyech taking a Vaclav Cerny square ball in his stride before ghosting past Etienne Reijnen and slotting the ball beyond an exposed Padt from the edge of the box.

However, just when it looked as though the home side could begin to focus on overturning their one-goal deficit in their UEFA Europa League play-off tie with Norwegian champions, Rosenborg, Ernest Faber’s men cut their host’s advantage in half – Oussama Idrissi picking up the ball wide on the left from Ruben Jenssen before cutting inside Ajax skipper, Joel Veltman and curling the ball delightfully into the top left hand corner of Andre Onana’s net.

Despite seeing their advantage cut in half, it took the hosts just six minutes to dispel any hope the away side may have harboured of taking anything away from their trip to Amsterdam – substitute, Lasse Schone taking the ball from Cerny before rolling Jenssen and unleashing a vicious effort from just inside the area that left Padt rooted to the spot.

Having been hit for three by newly promoted VVV Venlo in their first outing of the new campaign, Sparta Rotterdam were keen to get their season back on track in front of their own fans.

However, when Youness Mokhtar put PEC Zwolle into the ascendancy with just thirteen minutes on the clock at Het Kasteel the home faithful may have feared the worst – Piotr Parzyszek redirecting Mustafa Saymak’s low cross from the right into the path of an unmarked Mokhtar, who was left with the simple task of rolling the ball beyond an exposed Roy Kortsmit from the edge of the box.

Yet there was to be no repeat of last Saturday’s horror show in Limburg as the hosts were back on level terms just nine minutes later through Zulte Waregem loanee, Robert Mühren – Loris Brogno putting aside his own disappointment after being left on the bench by coach, Alex Pastoor last time out by turning Philippe Sandler inside out on the right edge of the area before putting the goal on a plate for new-boy, Mühren, who he found unmarked a few yards out after his initial cross had been headed clear by Dirk Marcellis.

Despite falling behind early on, having clawed their way back onto level terms, the home side could count themselves unlucky not to have taken all three points when, after escaping the attentions of Bram van Polen, Brogno saw his rasping left-footed drive from just outside the area cannon back off Diederik Boer’s left hand upright seven minutes into the second half.

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While fellow new-boys, VVV Venlo have taken to their new surroundings like a duck to water, the same cannot be said for play-off winners, NAC Breda who were hit for four for the second week in succession since their return to the top flight of Dutch football on Saturday afternoon.

It took just seventeen minutes for PSV Eindhoven to break their host’s resistance – Steven Bergwijn capitalising on a poor clearance by Menno Koch, following a back-post header from Jurgen Locadia, to rifle the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the area.

However, following their meek display in Arnhem last time out, Stijn Vreven’s side dug in and found their way back on level terms from the spot four minutes before the break – referee, Pol van Boekel handing Manchester City loanee, Thierry Ambrose the opportunity to net his second goal in as many games since making the transition from the blue half of Manchester after the 20-year-old French forward was pulled to the ground just inside the area by PSV new-boy, Derrick Luckassen

Despite going in at the break on level terms, once Chelsea loanee, Marco van Ginkel had re-established the visitor’s advantage on the hour mark Phillip Cocu’s troops never really looked in danger of taking anything less than all three points from their trip to the Rat Verlegh Stadion – the PSV skipper rising highest at the back post to head a Hirving Lozano out-swinger from the right beyond the despairing dive of home ‘keeper, Andries Noppert.

Having marked his league debut with a goal, Mexican import, Lozano made it two in as many games by adding a third for the visitors just nine minutes later – Bergwijn capitalising on some loose play on half way to pick out Lozano on the left before the 22-year-old punished the home defence for affording him so much time and space by cutting inside and beating Noppert with a low drive from just outside the area.

Having fallen out-of-favour with PSV coach, Cocu, Luuk de Jong did make his presence felt after replacing Gaston Pereiro shortly before the hour mark by teeing up Jorrit Hendrix to stroke home the away side’s fourth from just outside the area three minutes from time.

Results: Week 2

Roda JC 1-3 Vitesse Arnhem

FC Twente 1-2 VVV Venlo

AZ Alkmaar 2-0 ADO Den Haag

SC Heerenveen 1-1 Heracles Almelo

Excelsior 0-1 Feyenoord

FC Utrecht 2-0 Willem II

AFC Ajax 3-1 FC Groningen

Sparta Rotterdam 1-1 PEC Zwolle

NAC Breda 1-4 PSV Eindhoven



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