EREDIVISIE 2017/18 REPORT: Week Seven

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Following a week to forget for its representatives in continental competition, the seventh week of action in the Dutch top flight got underway on Friday evening with FC Twente securing local bragging rights by emerging victorious over local rivals, Heracles Almelo in the Twentse Derby in front of a raucous home crowd at De Grolsch Veste.

Despite coming up short in Groningen last time out, Rene Hake’s side have shown signs of life in recent weeks by putting together back-to-back wins in in league and cup after opening the campaign with four successive defeats and it was the hosts who were quickest out of the blocks here with Fredrik Jansen opening the scoring with just two minutes on the clock – the 20-year-old sliding the ball home from close range after Haris Vučkić had seen his goal-bound effort from just inside the area cleared off the line by Lerin Duarte, who then prevented the host’s summer acquisition from Newcastle United from doubling their advantage by again clearing the ball off the line eleven minutes before the break.

However, having made the short trip to Enschede on the back of a two-match winning streak in all competitions, Heracles found their way back onto level terms when Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee, Paul Gladon headed home a Brahim Darri cross from the left seven minutes into the second half.

Despite finding themselves pegged back, it was the hosts who would ultimately secure what was just a second league win of the campaign as well as local bragging rights when substitute, Danny Holla curled a well-placed free kick from just outside the area into the top right hand corner of Bram Castro’s net fourteen minutes from time.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action got underway at the Rat Verlegh Stadion where a lone strike from Tom Beugelsdijk ten minutes from time saw in-form ADO Den Haag make it three wins from their last five matches in all competitions at the expense of hosts, NAC Breda, who failed to build upon their remarkable victory at reigning champions, Feyenoord last time out.

However, things could have been different had the home side not been frustrated by the woodwork twice in quick succession in the eighth minute – Giovanni Korte’s curling effort from just inside the area coming back off the underside of Robert Zwinkels’ bar and onto his left hand upright before Mounir El Allouchi’s attempted follow-up then cannoned back off the ADO ‘keeper’s other post.

Sixteen minutes from time it was the turn of the visitors to be frustrated by the woodwork – half time substitute Erik Falkenburg redirecting a Abdenasser El Khayati corner from the right onto Mark Birighitti’s crossbar.

However, Falkenburg’s miss proved only a temporary reprieve for Stijn Vreven’s side as it would be the visitors who would eventually make the breakthrough and take all three points ten minutes from time when Beugelsdijk escaped the attentions of would-be marker, Karol Mets, to stab home an El Khayati cross from the right at the back post.

There was a five-goal thriller at the MAC3PARK Stadion where hosts, PEC Zwolle left it late to turn the tables on undermanned guests, FC Groningen and bag all three points.

Despite having had Reuben Jenssen to thank for keeping the game goalless when the 29-year-old was on hand to clear a goal-bound strike from Stef Nijland off the line with just five minutes gone, it was the visitors who, having arrived in Zwolle on the back of a two-game winning streak in all competitions, would make the breakthrough on the quarter hour mark through Japanese starlet, Ritsu Doan, who showed incredible composure to poke the ball through Diederik Boer’s legs and into the back of the net after being found unmarked at the back post by Mimoun Mahi.

However, it took the hosts, who have lost just once this term, just four minutes to restore parity when Nijland – whose father, Hans, is the Groningen CEO, was in the right place at the right time to tuck the ball into an unguarded net after visiting ‘keeper, Sergio Padt was left stranded after having been called into action twice in quick succession to first deny Younes Namli from range before then preventing Mustafa Saymak from putting away the rebound.

As the game continued to swing this way and that, the visitors restored their advantage in controversial circumstances ten minutes into the second half when Tom van Weert’s close-range header was, despite being fielded in routine fashion by Boer, adjudged by referee, Pol van Boekel – in conjunction with his assistant, to have crossed the line.

Despite being incensed by the decision, on the hour mark John van ‘t Schip’s side were back on level terms once more when New Zealand international, Ryan Thomas popped up at the back post to half-volley the ball past Padt as the away side struggled to clear their lines following a corner from the right.

With the game seemingly set to end with honours even the match suddenly swung in the favour of the home side three minutes from time when van Boekel issued Groningen goal-scorer, van Weert a straight red card after the former Excelsior marksman recklessly clipped the heels of Dirk Marcellis.

Despite finding themselves reduced to ten men, Ernest Faber’s side looked to have escaped with a point until Youness Mokhtar popped up to snatch all three for the hosts in the third minute of added time when Piotr Parzyszek cushioned a Marcellis cross from the right for the in-form 26-year-old to half-volley the ball beyond Padt from just outside the box.

Having scored eleven goals in their last two outings in all competitions, league leaders, PSV Eindhoven continued their recent free-scoring form by hitting struggling Willem II for four on Saturday evening at the Philips Stadion to move four points clear at the top of the standings ahead of Sunday’s fixtures.

Following a goalless opening period that saw the visitors carve out the majority of the chances, Phillip Cocu’s charges re-emerged with renewed purpose after the break and broke the deadlock just four minutes into the second half – Steven Bergwijn releasing Hirving Lozano with a deflected through-ball which afforded the Mexican international the time and space to beat an onrushing Timon Wellenreuther from just inside the area.

The home side would double their advantage six minutes later when Marco van Ginkel’s back post header following a Lozano cross from the right found an unmarked Gastón Pereiro, who had the simple task of nodding the ball into the net from a few yards out.

Having set up the host’s second, the PSV skipper was then on hand to tee up Lozano for his second and the home side’s third just three minutes later with a lovely half-volley that found the head of the 22-year-old just outside the box before the man on loan from Chelsea rounded off the night’s scoring by sending Wellenreuther the wrong way from the spot twenty minutes from time after referee, Jeroen Manschot ruled what appeared to be a seemingly routine block at the feet of Jürgen Locadia by the visitor’s German ‘keeper, a foul.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action was concluded at the Van Donge & De Roo Stadion where the fairy tale continued for new boys VVV Venlo – Maurice Steijn’s men recording their third league win since returning to the top flight of Dutch football at the expense of hosts, Excelsior.

Having snapped a dismal run of form that had seen Mitchell van der Gaag’s men lose four of their last five outings last time out in Alkmaar, the hosts were looking to record back-to-back victories for the first time this season.

However, it was the visitors who continued to make light of their transition from the second tier to the first by taking the lead in the 32nd minute through Clint Leemans, who, having pounced upon a poor clearance by Excelsior ‘keeper, Ögmundur Kristinsson just outside the host’s area, lobbed the ball over the stranded Iceland international and into the back of an unguarded net.

The away side, who, aside from securing passage through to the 2nd round of the KNVB Beker at the expense of fourth tier amateur outfit, SV Blauw Geel ‘38, had gone four games without a win themselves prior to making the trip to Rotterdam, made sure of all three points twenty minutes from time when Ralf Seuntjens popped up at the back post to head home a Leemans free kick.

Sunday’s Eredivisie action got underway at the AFAS Stadion where injury-ravaged Feyenoord returned to form by hitting hosts, AZ Alkmaar for four.

However, things could have been different had an early Wout Weghorst goal not been ruled out by referee, Bas Nijhuis whose assistant mistakenly deemed Joris van Overeem to have strayed into an offside position when replays clearly confirmed the 23-year-old to have been level with former team mate, Ridgeciano Haps when receiving a long raking pass from Rens van Eijden before teeing up the home side’s in-form forward in the eighth minute.

Having served a domestic ban following his sending off in the loss to PSV Eindhoven, Steven Berghuis wasted little time in announcing his return by putting the visitors into the ascendancy with just eleven minutes gone – Sam Larsson flicking a Jens Toornstra through-ball onto the outstretched left boot of the former AZ man whose resultant volley from just inside the area was later confirmed to have crossed the line after crashing off the underside of Marco Bizot’s crossbar before an onrushing Tonny Vilhena arrived to poke the ball home from close range.

Following a summer of speculation and inactivity it has taken Sam Larsson a fair amount of time to force his way into the plans of coach, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, however, having been handed a first start since making the switch to De Kuip from Friesland at the end of August, the Swedish international continued to press his claim for an extended run in the side when he doubled the visitor’s advantage seven minutes later with a long range drive from just outside the area which capped a mesmerizing run by the talented 24-year-old that had been inadvertently set in motion by a wayward pass from Guus Til on half-way.

With Weghorst having again been denied – this time by a goal-line clearance from Sofyan Amrabat following a Marko Vejinovic corner from the left just after the half hour mark, the visitors effectively put the game to bed four minutes before the break when Berghuis inflicted yet more agony on his old club – the 25-year-old pouncing upon on a poor piece of distribution by Stijn Wuytens before stealing a march on the host’s back line and firing the ball beyond an exposed Bizot to bag his sixth of the campaign.

Having slipped up in front of their own fans at the hands of Excelsior last time out, John van den Brom had been looking for a reaction from his side against the reigning champions. However, having conceded two early goals for the second week in succession, the hosts never really looked like getting back into the game and any lingering thoughts of a come-back were dispelled thirteen minutes into the second half when an unmarked Vilhena slid home a Berghuis cross from the right to leave the defending champions three points adrift of league leaders, PSV ahead of the international break.

Having been hit for seven in front of their own fans by a rampant PSV Eindhoven last time out, FC Utrecht looked set to bounce back in the best possible way on Sunday afternoon when an audacious back-heel from Gyrano Kerk was stabbed home from close range by Cyriel Dessers twenty one minutes from time to put Erik ten Hag’s side on course for all three points at the GelreDome.

Despite bagging a memorable three points at the Amsterdam ArenA a week earlier, Thursday’s trip to the south of France had seen Vitesse Arnhem comprehensively outplayed by Nice in their second UEFA Europa League outing of the campaign.

Yet, Henk Fraser’s side managed to end a demanding week by clawing their way back onto level terms to earn a share of the spoils in the 76th minute when Chelsea loanee, Mason Mount tucked home a Thomas Bruns cross from the right just two minutes after coming off the bench to replace Bryan Linssen.

At the same time, a David Neres double in the space of three first half minutes earned Ajax’s under-fire coach, Marcel Keizer a stay of execution and set the away side on course for a much needed win at the expense of high-flying Heerenveen in a game which also saw the Eredivisie’s last remaining unbeaten record go up in smoke.

However, things could have been different had 17-year-old centre half, Kik Pierie put the hosts ahead instead of volleying the ball off Andre Onana’s left hand upright following a Martin Ødegaard free kick with thirty three minutes gone.

The home side were again unlucky not to take the lead just two minutes later when a free kick from former Dutch international Stijn Schaars found its way through the visitor’s poorly constructed wall to collide with Onana’s left hand upright.

Having already tumbled out of both European competitions, Ajax’s recent struggles in the league, which saw last season’s UEFA Europa League finalists drop two points in The Hague before losing at home to Vitesse Arnhem last time out had led to speculation that Sunday’s match at the Abe Lenstra Stadion could well be Keizer’s last at the helm.

However, when David Neres put the visitors into the ascendancy in the 38th minute – having been sent clear by an incisive through-ball from former Heerenveen forward, Klass-Jan Huntelaar, before doubling the away side’s advantage just three minutes later when a flick-on by Huntelaar allowed the 20-year-old Brazilian to steal a march on the host’s rear guard before forcing the ball past an onrushing Martin Hansen, despite all of the home side’s early pressure, Jurgen Streppel’s men were suddenly left staring down the barrel of their first defeat of the campaign.

Buoyed by their two-goal advantage, the visitors emerged for the second half with an added spring in their step and could have added to their lead five minutes after the break only for Donny van de Beek to see his volley from the edge of the box cannon back off Hansen’s crossbar after being picked out by Amin Younes.

However, a third goal did eventually arrive for Keizer’s men when referee, Serdar Gözübüyük awarded the visitors a penalty after seeing Lucas Woudenberg blatantly pull Huntelaar to the ground as the two battled to get on the end of a Hakim Ziyech corner from the left, leaving to Lasse Schone to seal all three points for the away side with a quarter of an hour to play before summer recruit, Maximilian Wöber netted his first for the club following his €7.5 million switch from Rapid Vienna – the centre half capping a goal-mouth scramble by stabbing the ball past Hansen from close range at the third time of asking seven minutes from time.

The seventh round of Eredivisie action was concluded at Het Kasteel where visitors, Roda JC belatedly posted their first points of the season at the seventh time of asking to climb off the foot of the table.

With just a solitary victory over fourth tier outfit, Capelle in the 1st round of the KNVB Beker to celebrate thus far this season, Robert Molenaar’s troops had found themselves rooted to the foot of the table prior to their clash with fellow strugglers, Sparta Rotterdam – who themselves were looking to snap a run of two successive defeats.

The game itself was ultimately settled when the visitors bagged a pair of goals in the space of six first half minutes – Tsiy William Ndenge heading home an Adil Auassar corner from the right shortly before the half hour mark before Dani Schahin escaped the attentions of Julian Chabot, turned Nicholas Marfelt inside out and drove the ball hard and low past Roy Kortsmit in the home goal to double the away side’s advantage ten minutes before the break.

Despite Robert Muhren pulling a goal back for Alex Pastoor’s side with a well-taken volley just outside the box twelve minutes from time, try as they might, the hosts could not avert a third successive defeat which saw them end the seventh week of action third from bottom.

Results: Week 7

FC Twente 2-1 Heracles Almelo

NAC Breda 0-1 ADO Den Haag

PEC Zwolle 3-2 FC Groningen

PSV Eindhoven 4-0 Willem II

Excelsior 0-2 VVV Venlo

AZ Alkmaar 0-4 Feyenoord

Vitesse Arnhem 1-1 FC Utrecht

SC Heerenveen 0-4 AFC Ajax

Sparta Rotterdam 1-2 Roda JC

 

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