Hot on the heels of an eventful week of cup action, the tenth round of Eredivisie action got underway on Friday evening in Enschede where, despite having secured a place in the final 16 of the KNVB Beker following a three-goal victory over Ereste Divisie outfit, FC Eindhoven on Tuesday evening, FC Twente found themselves on the end of a three-goal hammering at the hands of a resurgent Excelsior.
There was little indication of what was to come when Fredrik Jensen got the jump on Jurgen Mattheij before hitting the by-line and pulling the ball back for Tom Boere to tap in what was the 24-year-old forward’s third goal in his last two games – the former FC Oss marksman having bagged a brace in the cup on Tuesday evening, to open the scoring for the hosts with just two minutes on the clock.
Despite winning both of his games since stepping in to take temporary charge of first team affairs following the resignation of Rene Hake just over a week earlier, a third win in as many outings would ultimately prove elusive for interim coach, Marino Pusic and his side who found themselves back on level terms when a Hicham Faik free kick from well outside the area left Jorn Brondeel grasping at thin air four minutes before the break.
Despite failing to register a single home victory this term, Mitchell van der Gaag’s men came into this encounter unbeaten on their travels this season and that sequence would be extended further when first, Milan Massop rose highest to head a Faik corner from the right past Brondeel sixteen minutes from time before an unmarked Khalid Karami popped up to slam home a Mike van Duinen cross from just inside the area with ten to go to put the seal on a fourth away win from five this term and move the tiny Rotterdam-based outfit to the fringes of the UEFA Europa League play-off places ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.
Saturday’s Eredivisie action got underway in Kerkrade where reigning champions, Feyenoord were left frustrated after being held by struggling Roda JC.
Despite their recent struggles, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side looked to be on track to secure their first win in the league since a four-goal romp in Alkmaar at the start of the month when Steven Berghuis’ speculative effort from well outside the area took a wicked deflection off Tsiy-William Ndenge that proved sufficient to wrong-foot Hidde Jurjus with just eleven minutes on the clock.
However, the visitors, who came into this encounter eight points adrift of top-of-the-table PSV Eindhoven, failed to build on their early advantage and just six minutes later found themselves back on level terms when Feyenoord loanee, Simon Gustafson slipped in Dani Schahin with a perfectly timed through-ball for the German striker to turn Karim El Ahmadi inside out and slip the ball beneath the onrushing Brad Jones to ultimately secure a point that lifted the struggling hosts off the foot of the table.
In a game that failed to produce much in the way of chances for either side thereafter it was the visitors who came closest to taking all three points when a Sam Larsson free kick shaved the outside of Jurjus’ left hand upright twenty minutes in.
Meanwhile, in a meeting of two sides looking to put distance between themselves and the bottom three, it was hosts, Heracles who emerged with all three points to pull themselves level on points with guests, VVV Venlo after hitting Maurice Steijn’s side for three at the Polman Stadion.
The hosts were quickly out of the blocks and could have taken the lead with just thirteen minutes gone when a curling right footed effort from just outside the area by Jamiro Monteiro cannoned off the foot of Lars Unnerstall’s left hand upright before two goals in the space of four minutes set John Stegeman’s side on the road to victory when first, a marauding run down the left by Brandley Kuwas resulted in the home side taking the lead in the strangest of ways when the 25-year-old’s low drive deceived the visitor’s German ‘keeper at his near post with 35 minutes gone before Kristoffer Peterson picked up where Kuwas left off by outpacing the under-siege, Moreno Rutten down the left before unleashing a low drive that left the former Fortuna Dusseldorf ‘keeper red in the face as the ball squirmed between his legs on its way into the back of the net to double the home side’s advantage five minutes before the break.
Things might have been different for the away side had Lennart Thy’s volley from the midway inside the area following a Torino Hunte cross from the left shortly after the interval found the net instead of the foot of Bram Castro’s right hand upright.
However, despite making a speciality out of staging late comebacks since their return to the Dutch top flight, when Peterson headed home his second of the evening from close range after Unnerstall could only parry a dipping Kuwas drive from well outside the area into the path of the 22-year-old Swede twenty one minutes from time, any thoughts the visitors may have harboured of staging yet another fightback were put firmly on ice.
Ajax arrived in Tilburg riding a four-match winning streak in all competitions that had seen them find the net on a remarkable sixteen occasions and Marcel Keizer’s troops could have taken a huge stride towards a fifth successive victory late in the first half only for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to see his header come back off Mattijs Branderhorst’s left hand upright after the veteran marksman had been picked out by a pinpoint Hakim Ziyech in-swinger from the right.
However, despite missing talismanic Spanish forward, Fran Sol – who underwent surgery to remove a tumour earlier in the week, it was hosts, Willem II who edged ahead ten minutes into the second half when referee, Dennis Higler ruled Lasse Schone guilty of pulling back Thom Haye just inside the area leaving Slovenian forward, Etien Velikonja to step up and send Andre Onana the wrong way from the resultant spot kick.
Having been at fault for the home side’s opening goal, Schone took it upon himself to claw his side back into the match with a deceptive long range drive from just outside the area that left Branderhorst rooted to the spot twenty minutes from time.
Despite once more being named on the bench, Siem de Jong has been in a rich vein of goal-scoring form of late – the Dutch international having come off the bench to add a touch of the emphatic to the score line in Ajax’s four-goal victory at De Kuip last Sunday before bagging a brace in his side’s stroll against Amsterdam –based amateur outfit, De Dijk on Wednesday evening and, having replaced Donny van de Beek just after the hour, the 28-year-old was once on hand to bag his fourth goal in his last three outings when a Huntelaar cut-back found the man who arrived from Newcastle United at the end of August unmarked just inside the area with time and space to stroke the ball into the corner of Branderhorst’s net.
The result was put beyond doubt a minute into added time when David Neres capped another impressive personal display by seizing upon some poor handling by the host’s 23-year-old ‘keeper to bag the visitor’s third of the night after Branderhorst failed to hold onto a low Huntelaar drive from midway inside the area to leave Keizer’s resurgent troops two points off PSV Eindhoven ahead of the league leaders’ clash with Vitesse Arnhem on Sunday afternoon.
At the same time, PEC Zwolle kept the top two in sight by seeing off the challenge of ADO Den Haag at the MAC3PARK Stadion.
Having lost just once in all competitions this term, John van ‘t Schip’s side have been a revelation since the 53-year-old took up the coaching reins from Ron Jans over the summer and when a deflected through-ball from Ryan Thomas fell invitingly at the feet of Piotr Parzyszek, the 24-year-old Polish forward’s rising drive from the edge of the area set the home side on course for their third win on the bounce with just seven minutes on the clock.
Indeed, despite being taken to extra time by Tweede Divisie outfit, Kozakken Boys on Tuesday evening the home side showed few signs of fatigue and the result was never really in doubt after stand-out performer, Younes Namli bagged his second in as many games – the 23-year-old capping a marauding run by placing his low drive beyond the reach of Robert Zwinkels in the visitor’s goal to double the host’s advantage just four minutes later.
Sunday’s Eredivisie action got underway at the GelreDome where a brace a-piece from Hirving Lozano and Jürgen Locadia helped PSV Eindhoven restore their five-point lead at the top of the Eredivisie standings at the expense of hosts, Vitesse Arnhem.
Just eighteen minutes had elapsed when a marauding Joshua Brenet slipped in Hirving Lozano who, in breaking the deadlock with a well-placed low finish, also made a little piece of history – the Mexican international becoming the first player to score in seven of his first eight Eredivisie matches.
However, it wouldn’t be all plain sailing for the league leaders who, despite dominating much of the opening half, found themselves back on level terms just before the break when the unlucky Jürgen Locadia skewed his intended clearance beyond a static Jeroen Zoet and into the back of his own net via the foot of the Dutch international ‘keeper’s left hand upright following an Alexander Büttner corner from the left in the 45th minute.
Yet, following the break, it would take Locadia just four minutes to make amends – the mercurial forward unleashing an unstoppable right footed drive from well outside the area to leave former PSV ‘keeper, Remko Pasveer rooted to the spot.
The 23-year-old then linked up with Lozano to bag the visitor’s third seven minutes later – Locadia drifting in from the left and cutting inside Fankaty Dabo before curling the ball beyond the reach of Pasveer from just inside the area, before the Mexican bagged his second of the afternoon by capitalising on a poor clearance by Matt Miazga to beat an exposed Pasveer from close range just before the hour mark.
Despite Chelsea loanee, Mason Mount finding the net just four minutes later with a delightfully taken volley following a pinpoint through ball from Dabo – a minute after the 18-year-old had come on to replace Thulani Serero, there was to be no comeback for the hosts who now turn their attention to a must-win encounter with Zulte-Waregem in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening.
Having begun the day bottom of the pile after previous incumbents, Roda secured an unlikely point at home to reigning champions, Feyenoord on Saturday evening, Sparta Rotterdam, despite being reduced to ten men late on, managed to hold on to ultimately edge out visitors, Groningen for a victory that saw Alex Pastoor’s side not only move off the foot of the table but out of the bottom three altogether.
The home side began the match in determined fashion and, despite seeing Samir Memisevic go close to breaking the deadlock with just eleven minutes on the clock when the Bosnian defender’s looping header following a Ritsu Doan corner from the right forced Roy Kortsmit to paw the ball onto his own crossbar, the hosts edged ahead twenty two minutes in when Robert Mühren was left with the simplest of finishes – the man on loan from Zulte-Waregem poking the ball into an empty net after Sergio Padt could only parry Deroy Duarte’s downward header at the back post into the 28-year-old’s path.
The hosts went close to doubling their advantage just two minutes later in the most unusual of circumstances when, in his attempt to intercept a Loris Brogno cross from the right, Memisevic unwittingly struck Padt’s left hand upright with the Groningen ‘keeper left rooted to the spot.
However, having lost five games on the bounce prior to securing a vital point in their clash with local rivals, Excelsior last time out, the hosts once more had that sinking feeling when Ludovit Reis restored parity by capping a marauding run with a well struck drive from range that left Kortsmit grasping at thin air nine minutes before the break.
Yet, when referee, Bas Nijhuis pointed to the spot after adjudging Memisevic to have nudged Mühren over in the box, it was left to Loris Brogno to step up and beat Padt from the resultant spot kick and restore the host’s advantage in the 43rd minute after which the home side would ultimately hang on to secure just their second league victory of the campaign.
However, things could have been different for the visitors had Groningen substitute, Lars Veldwijk found the net instead of seeing his right footed effort cannon back off the foot of Kortsmit’s right hand upright in the first minute of added time at the end of the game before fellow replacement, Jesper Drost then saw his looping header strike the Sparta ‘keeper’s crossbar just seconds later.
Even the late dismissal of second half substitute, Mark Veenhoven, who was given his marching orders in the fourth minute of added time by Nijhuis after the 19-year-old sent Veldwijk tumbling with a reckless challenge from behind as the Groningen substitute appeared to be away and clear, failed to prevent the hosts securing a priceless victory in their battle to avoid the drop.
Meanwhile, a Nick Venema effort twelve minutes from time saw FC Utrecht stop the rot to earn a point at home to struggling NAC Breda.
Despite taking the lead through a well taken volley by skipper, Willem Janssen following a Zakaria Labyad corner from the right nineteen minutes in, the home side, who came into this encounter having lost three of their last four games in all competitions, saw their lead disappear just three minutes later when Manchester City loanee, Thierry Ambrose diverted an incisive pass from another man on loan from the blue half of Manchester, Angelino, into the path of Mounir El Allouchi, who raced through to draw the visitors back onto level terms.
Having fired Breda to promotion last term, Cyriel Dessers very nearly came back to haunt his old club when the former NAC forward saw his header come back off Nigel Bertrams’ left hand upright shortly before the half hour mark.
Having been bundled out of the KNVB Beker by newly promoted VVV Venlo on Wednesday evening, things went from bad to worse for Erik ten Hag’s side three minutes after the restart when Ambrose picked out an unmarked Giovanni Korte to edge Stijn Vreven’s side ahead when the 24-year-old’s sliding effort at the back post was adjudged by referee, Christiaan Bax to have marginally crossed the line before being clawed away by home ‘keeper, David Jensen.
The home side were again frustrated by the woodwork eighteen minutes from time when Janssen saw his header come back off the bar following a corner from the left.
However, just seven minutes after coming on as a substitute, 18-year-old forward, Nick Venema was on hand to spare the home side’s blushes by capping a swift Labyad-led counter attack by rolling the ball into an empty net after the 24-year-old had drawn the attentions of an exposed Bertrams to leave the young relacement with the simplest of finishes and ten Hag’s men might have snatched all three points nine minutes from time only for Janssen to see a second header cannon back off the NAC ‘keeper’s crossbar eight minutes from time.
In a game that could have gone either way, the final chance fell to the visitors who very nearly found a winner in the most unusual of circumstances when substitute, Paolo Fernandez’s cross from the left was unwittingly diverted against the foot of Jensen’s left hand upright by Utrecht replacement, Mark van der Maarel in the third minute of added time.
The tenth round of Eredivisie action was concluded in Friesland where a late double from Guus Til saw AZ Alkmaar come from behind against hosts, Heerenveen to take all three points at the Abe Lenstra Stadion.
Despite coming into this encounter on the back of four straight defeats in all competitions the hosts were out of the blocks quickly and looked to be on track to record their first win since an away success against Willem II at the end of September when Real Madrid loanee, Martin Ødegaard teed up 20-year-old, Michel Vlap to open the scoring in the twenty first minute following a neat give and go between the pair just inside the area.
However, Jurgen Streppel’s side would not only find themselves pegged back seventeen minutes from time when a Jonas Svensson cut-back from the by-line found Guus Til who forced the ball home from the edge of the box, but ultimately left empty handed when a low cross from Alireza Jahanbakhsh found the 19-year-old unmarked at the back post to bag his second of the match and fourth of the season in the 90th minute.
Results: Week 10
FC Twente 1-3 Excelsior
Roda JC 1-1 Feyenoord
Willem II 1-3 AFC Ajax
Heracles Almelo 3-0 VVV Venlo
PEC Zwolle 2-0 ADO Den Haag
Vitesse Arnhem 2-4 PSV Eindhoven
Sparta Rotterdam 2-1 FC Groningen
FC Utrecht 2-2 NAC Breda
SC Heerenveen 1-2 AZ Alkmaar
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