Category Archives: EERSTE DIVISIE

Eerste Divisie Report – Week 5: Man City loanee helps NAC stay top of the pile

NAC Breda continues their tremendous form with their fifth win in five with the only 100% record in the division as 35 goals were exchanged in Week 5 of the Eerste Divisie. As always, Will Burns is here with a round-up of all the action.

NAC Breda op stoom in KKD: doelman Müller maakt geen indruk bij PSV-debuut  |
Lewis Fiorini celebrates his goal as NAC Breda sit at the top of the Eerste Divisie.

NAC Breda still leads the pack on 15 points with a 2-1 win at home to Jong PSV on Saturday afternoon. Despite falling behind to an early Nigel Thomas goal, NAC equalised on eight minutes through Moreno Rutten. Although, Huseyin Dogen missed a penalty for the league leaders, Lewis Fiorini, a Scottish midfielder on loan from Manchester City wrapped up the win.

Almere City continued their winning ways defeating Helmond Sport by the 2-0 scoreline after Anass Ahannach and Delvechhio Blackson scored in the second half.

SC Cambuur hammered Jong Utrecht 5-2 and now sit joint third with Roda JC and Telstar in the league. Issa Kallon scored four times in the win with Michael Breij grabbing the other.

The aforementioned Telstar had the biggest win of the week defeating FC Den Bosch 6-1 on Monday evening. Both Sebastian Soto and Ilias Bronkhorst each scored a brace while Glynor Plet and Gyliano van Velzen added the remaining two goals.

Strangely enough, the Eerste Divisie’s top scorer Elias Mar Omarsson failed to keep his goal tally racking up as Excelsior were defeated 3-0 by Jong Ajax on Monday evening.

Full results below.


Friday 25th September

FC Dordrecht 2-0 Jong AZ

Almere City 2-0 Helmond Sport

SC Cambuur 5-2 Jong Utrecht

MVV Maastricht 3-0 TOP Oss

Saturday 26th September

NAC Breda 2-1 Jong PSV

Sunday 27th September

De Graafschap 2-0 N.E.C. Nijmegen

FC Volendam 0-0 Go Ahead Eagles

Monday 28th September

Jong Ajax 3-0 Excelsior

SC Telstar 6-1 FC Den Bosch

Tuesday 29th September

FC Eindhoven 3-3 Roda JC

Ruime overwinning voor SC Cambuur na Issa Kallon show - SC Cambuur
Four goal hero Issa Kallon of SC Cambuur.


With four goals in Cambuur’s 5-2 win over Jong Utrecht, Issa Kallon of SC Cambuur is our Player of the Week award.

You can watch game by game highlights at the official YouTube page of the league by clicking here.

Eerste Divisie Report – Week 4

Almere City and NAC Breda fired themselves to the top of the Eerste Divisie and TOP Oss and FC Dordrecht finally clinched their first point, Will Burns is here with a round-up of all the action.

Young AZ humiliates De Graafschap: ten goals in a crazy match
De Graafschap’s star striker Ralf Seuntjens suffered an horrendous ankle injury in the 7-3 defeat to Jong AZ.

Jong AZ were the biggest winners of the week defeating De Graafschap by a wild 7-3 scoreline on Monday evening. The highly-rated duo of Moahmed Taabouni and Zakaria Aboukhlal both scored a brace while Thijs Oosting, Hakon Evjen and Tijani Reijnders grabbed the other goals for Alkmaar’s B side.

De Graafschap replied three times with Ralf Seuntjens, Elmo Lieftink and Daryl van Mieghem replying to no avail. Unfortunately for Seuntjens, he left the game on a stretcher due to an ankle injury. After the final whistle, head coach Mike Snoei stated the injury was “bad, it’s very bad.”. Worrying news for the side from Doetinchem.

Roda JC were impressive on Friday night smashing four past FC Dordrecht goalkeeper Anthony Swolfs. De Koempels began the scoring through an 34th minute Ronald Alberg penalty and Jordy Crouz added a second a minute later. Goals from Amir Absalem and Stefano Marzo rounded out the scoring in the 4-0 rout.

Sydney van Hoojidonk managed to nab another goal on Monday night in NAC Breda’s 2-0 win over Jong Utrecht. Nick Venema netted the other goal as Breda climbed back over Almere City to top the division.

Almere temporarily sat in first place with their 1-0 win away at N.E.C. Nijmegen with a goal from central defender Damon Mirani.

Full results below.


Friday 18th September

Helmond Sport 0-1 FC Volendam

Jong PSV 1-2 FC Eindhoven

Go Ahead Eagles 0-3 Jong Ajax

Roda JC 4-0 FC Dordrecht

Saturday 19th September

TOP Oss 2-2 SC Cambuur

Sunday 20th September

N.E.C. Nijmegen 0-1 Almere City

Monday 21st September

Jong AZ 7-3 De Graafschap

Jong Utrecht 0-2 NAC Breda

Tuesday 22nd September

Excelsior 1-2 sc Telstar

FC Den Bosch 2-0 MVV Maastricht

Jong AZ geeft titelkandidaat De Graafschap oplawaai (7-3) | NOS
Jong AZ starlet Zakaria Aboukhlal is knocking on Arne Slot’s door.


With two goals and a hat-trick of assists, Zakaria Aboukhlal of Jong AZ is wins our Player of the Week award.

You can watch game by game highlights at the official YouTube page of the league by clicking here.

Eerste Divisie Report – Week 2

With 36 goals banged in last week, we saw 31 this week in just six games. As always, Will Burns is here with all the action.

Almere City records bizarre 4-6 win over Excelsior, NAC wins with debut  Immers | NOW | News1 English
Almere City celebrated a 6-4 win over Excelsior Rotterdam on Sunday.

Excelsior and Almere City played out an amazing ten-goal game on Sunday morning but what was more amazing is that seven of those goals were scored in the first half… and three in three minutes at the end of the game.

Almere took a three minute lead through a Thomas Verheydt header although Excelsior responded in style with a Reuven Niemeijer goal just two minutes later. Last week’s player of the week Elias Mar Omarsson hit two first half goals on 16 and 18 minutes to give Excelsior a 3-1 lead.

However, we saw a first half comeback from Almere as Faris Hammouti and Jearl Margaritha notched in 24th and 25th to level the game up. Six goals before the half-hour mark – crazy.

The first-half action was not finished as Verheydt added his second to give Almere a 4-3 lead at the break. The goals dried up until five astonishing minutes at the end of the game.

Xian Emmers added a fifth in the 86th minute to drive the nail in the coffin for Excelsior but from the kick-off Omarsson grabbed his hat-trick to give the socially distanced home fans some hope.

However, from the resulting kick-off Almere finished the game off with their sixth goal from Tim Receveur. A truly crazy finish to a crazy game.

Cambuur evenaart clubrecord met monsterzege

SC Cambuur experienced a huge 7-1 win away to MVV Maastricht on Saturday evening. Goals from Robin Maulun, Mees Hoedemakers, Robert Muhren (2), Jamie Jacobs and Jarchino Antonia handed Cambuur their biggest win since defeating Jong Ajax 6-0 in April 2019.

Full results below.


Saturday 5th September

FC Eindhoven 2-3 SC Telstar

MVV Maastricht 1-7 SC Cambuur

Roda JC 3-0 TOP Oss

Sunday 6th September

Excelsior 4-6 Almere City

FC Den Bosch 2-1 FC Dordrecht

Helmond Sport 0-2 NAC Breda


So yeah let’s give him it again! Icelandic striker Elias Mar Omarsson added a hat-trick in the 6-4 loss to Almere City to the two goals he scored last week against Jong PSV. Five goals in the two games.

Well done Elias.

Eerste Divisie Report – Week 1

Well, after a break of what feels like forever, football in the Netherlands returned this weekend and no less than a total of 36 goals were exchanged in the ten games in the opening matchday and Will Burns is here with all the action.

NAC Breda and Excelsior start with a resounding victory in the season in  KKD | NOW | News1 English
NAC hit Jong AZ for six.

NAC Breda and Excelsior hit the most goals over the weekend in a pair of 6-1 wins on Saturday.  Excelsior smashed a very inexperienced Jong PSV with first half goals from Ahmad Mendes Moreira and Joel Zwarts with a further four going past goalkeeper Maxime Delanghe in the second half. Thomas Oude Kotte added a goal just after the break, followed by an unfortunate own goal from Justin de Haas. A double from Icelandic centre forward Elias Mar Omarsson rounded out the scoring with PSV striker Damian Timan notching nothing but a consolation.

While NAC blew away Jong AZ by also hitting them for six. Breda exploded out of the blocks with goals from Huseyin Dogan, Mounir El Allouchi and Finn Stokkers before half-time. Spanish defender Roger Riera added a fourth before the hour mark and former Manchester United youth striker Joshua Bohui scored the fifth.  AZ got a goal back through Thijs Oosting but Nick Venema scored NAC’s sixth and final goal.

It was a bad weekend all round for the Eredivisie reserve sides as Jong Ajax were thumped 4-0 by Roda JC on Sunday afternoon and Jong Utrecht saw defeat 2-1 to FC Eindhoven on opening night.

Robert Muhren continued his incredible scoring rate for SC Cambuur on Friday night in a 2-0 win at home to N.E.C. Nijmegen. His 75th minute penalty was Muhren’s 27th goal in just 30 games for The Yellow-Blues and Sven Nieuwpoort also notched in the opening day victory.

The unthinkable happened on Sunday as we saw a pair of goalless draws as FC Dordrecht held Go Ahead Eagles at home as Almere and MVV ended in a 0-0 stalement.

The weekend was rounded out on Monday with De Graafschap’s resounding 4-2 win over FC Den Bosch.  Full results below.


Friday 28th August

Jong Utrecht 1-2 FC Eindhoven

SC Cambuur 2-0 N.E.C. Nijmegen

Saturday 29th August

Jong PSV 1-6 Excelsior

Top Oss 1-2 Helmond Sport

NAC Breda 6-1 Jong AZ Alkmaar

Sunday 30th August

SC Telstar 2-2 FC Volendam

Jong Ajax 0-4 Roda JC

FC Dordrecht 0-0 Go Ahead Eagles

Almere City 0-0 MVV Maastricht

Monday 31st August

De Graafschap 4-2 FC Den Bosch


Elias Mar Omarsson for Excelsior wins our inaugural weekly award after notching two against Jong PSV in a masterful 6-1 away win. The Icelandic striker notched twelve in 28 outings last year and looks to be on course to smash that total this year already.


DUTCH FOOTBALL IS BACK!  The Dutch first division gets underway this Friday night as the twenty (…well 16) teams of the Eerste Divisie begin their journey vying for promotion to the Eredivisie writes Will Burns.

Henk de Jong’s SC Cambuur should run out as favourites to clinch promotion, when the season kicks off this Friday night.  In the cut-short 2019/20 campaign, the boys from Leeuwarden lead the division and much thanks to the goals of loanee Robert Muhren from Belgian outfit Zulte Waregem. One vital piece of business this summer was securing Muhren down for another season. If he can repeat his tremendous feat of scoring 26 goals last term in 29 games, Cambuur should produce a strong challenge for that top spot again.

SC Cambuur tipt Ronald Koeman: Mühren in Oranje | Nederlands ...
SC Cambuur hitman Robert Muhren scored 26 goals in 2019/20.

However, to ease the burden on Muhren they have signed Maarten Pouwels from Go Ahead Eagles on a permanent basis.  The 21-year-old managed to score four times in 13 appearances for the Eagles last term, he should get plenty chances to outlast that figure this time round.  They have kept the majority of their core as midfielder Jamie Jacobs, defenders Doke Schmidt, Sven Nieuwpoort and Calvin Mac-Intosch, goalkeeper Sonny Stevens and wingers Jarchinio Antonio and Issa Kallon are still in Leeuwarden to help mount a serious challenge.

Levering NAC-shirts loopt opnieuw vertraging op, club probeert ...
Stokkers and Dogan need to start hitting the target more often for NAC to succeed.

NAC Breda have strengthened during the break and look a sturdy contender for the ascension to the top league.  Experienced in the Eredivisie, Dion Malone and Thom Haye have joined on frees from ADO Den Haag.  Haye making last years’ loan move a permanent one, while Scottish youth international midfielder Lewis Fiorini has flown in from Manchester City.  The striking power of Finn Stokkers and Huseyin Dogan needs to improve.  They notched just 11 league goals last season, if Breda are to mount a serious challenge, they will need to find the net more consistently.

Despite losing highly-rated winger Anthony Musaba to French giants AS Monaco, N.E.C. Nijmegen should still be a contender.  New coach Rogier Meijer has brought attacking players Rangelo Janga (loan from FC Astana), Anton Fase (free transfer from AZ) and Elayis Tavsan (free from Sparta Rotterdam) into the squad to soften the blow of Musaba’s departure.

The Nijmegen side also lost Mike Tresor Ndayishimiye to Willem II and defenders Bas Kuipers and Josef Kvida to Go Ahead and Greek side Pafos FC respectively but the permanent capture of former Jong Ajax midfielder Jordy Bruijn from SC Heerenveen is a real coup for N.E.C.

Van Wonderen gematigd tevreden over eerste oefenpot Go Ahead ...
Kees van Wonderen leads Go Ahead into the new season.

Go Ahead Eagles, following a sixth-finish under Jack de Gier last year, sees Kees van Wonderen take the helm in Devanter.  The Eagles overhauled their midfield options which were high on Paul Bosvelt’s (Technical Director) agenda. Jay Idzes (FC Eindhoven) and Erkan Eyibil (FC Mainz) have been drafted in joining Kevin van Kipperslius, Scotsman Frank Ross, Bradly van Hoeven and former Den Bosch favourite Luuk Brouwers to bolster the squad that saw a substantial turnover of staff over the protracted off-season.

Elsewhere, there is some debate who will wear the number one shirt following Hobie Verhulst’s move to AZ. Ex-Volendam keeper Mitchel Michaleis arrived to compete with 20-year-old Jay Gorter for the starting berth in-between the sticks. The playoff should be the target for van Wonderen’s side and a vital piece of the playoff puzzle will come from the goals of Frenchman Antonin Rabillard. The 24-year-old found the goal 11 times in 28 outings last season, and the Eagles will be hoping he builds on what was an impressive first season at the club.

Sterk spelend De Graafschap verslaat sc Heerenveen met ruime ...
Experienced defensive midfielder Rick Dekker is now plying his trade at De Graafschap.

Mike Snoei will lead De Graafschap into the new season with an abundance of new talent in his squad. After claiming fees for Leeroy Owusu (Willem II) and Branco van den Boomen (Toulouse), Snoei used the resources to bring in highly-rated goalkeeper Rody de Boer on loan from AZ and experienced midfielders Rick Dekker from PEC Zwolle and Johnatan Opoku from VVV.  They have retained the services of Ralf Seuntjens up top with Joey Konings joining him from Heracles in attack. Konings will look to revitalize his career after failing to nail down a permanent forward slot in Almelo.  Right-back Julian Lelieveld arrives from Vitesse on a free to benefit the options in defence.

Hij was ooit deel van een 'gouden generatie' bij Anderlecht ...
He’s back. Francesco Antonucci returns to play for FC Volendam this season.

With one of the youngest squads in the division, Wim Jonk’s FC Volendam may struggle to match their third-place last year, with minimal new blood injected into his team.  The former Dutch midfielder saw Francesco Antonucci return to the club after impressing last term. The 21-year-old Belgian playmaker was loaned in from AS Monaco last year but Feyenoord intervened in the summer to purchase the players and allowed Jonk to loan him back to Volendam for further playing time.  Scoring 11 times in only 20 appearances inspired Jonk to pull out all the stops to bring the midfielder back. However, losing left-back Gijs Smal to FC Twente was a blow and Jonk is yet to replace him.

Richelor Sprangers - Fotos | imago images
Telstar will pin their hopes on Haiti striker Richelor Sprangers to score goals this season.

Excelsior lost influential midfielder Rai Vloet to Heracles but coach Marinus Dijkhuizen will turn to new arrivals Reuven Niemeijer or Mitchell van Rooijen to fill the void.  Telstar were forced to part with top scorer Reda Kharchouch as his 20 goals in the last campaign saw him attract attention of Sparta Rotterdam. Big hopes will be placed on the shoulders of Haitian striker Richelor Sprangers to do the business in front of goal.

We are in for another interesting season in the Eerste Divisie, which fills our Friday nights with excitement and goals galore.  We will see more young talents emerging with Jong Ajax, Jong PSV, Jong AZ and Jong Utrecht, obviously unable to clinch promotion, looking to take points off the promotion hopefuls in the process.

Get ready for the new Eredivisie season with our FREE DOWNLOADABLE document.  The only comprehensive season preview available in English on the web… and it’s yours for free! COMING SOON!

Eerste Divisie: Back the flying Go Ahead Eagles to keep soaring

After experiencing a 100% success on the Eredivisie last weekend, Will Burns ventures into the Dutch First Division to find a great value bet to try and boost the profits.

stegeman john go ahead

MVV Maastricht vs. Go Ahead Eagles

Friday, 19:00BST

Go Ahead Eagles legend John Stegeman (pictured above) has had a dream start with two wins out of two since returning to the club as head coach. The 41-year-old starred as a player in 1997 and went on to make 86 appearances scoring 19 goals and he’ll be more than happy at his sides’ start to the new campaign.

Stegeman’s attacking style is proving to being very successful with leading the Eagles to a 5-0 thumping of Jong Utrecht on opening day and followed up last weekend with a 2-1 win away to FC Eindhoven. Two results that have seen them top of the table after just two outings. They have seen a total of 34 goal attempts with 19 shots on target so far and this attacking prowess will be one that MVV has not experienced yet this season.

MVV were defeated 2-0 on the first day of the season at home to TOP Oss but had a turn of fortune away to Telstar winning 1-0 last weekend. Their squad does not host the talents that Go Ahead hold do and I see the 2/1 being offered for an away win as being far too high.

Solid at the back led by former Heracles defender Jeroen Veldmate protecting goalkeeper Hobie Verhulst who made a summer switch from FC Volendam. Attacking the wings is Czech international Jaroslav Navrátil who supplies former Crawley Town striker Thomas Verheijdt up top.

My good colleague Steve Davies (a long time Go Ahead fan) would not let me post this article without including his tip which again looks a cracking bet – he selects summer signing Richard van der Venne to get on the score sheet. The 26-year-old midfielder has been playing in an advanced role for Stegeman and has notched in both games this season already. If you wish to combine the two bets, 888Sport provide this service but that is not an official recommendation.

Will Burns’s Recommendation

Go Ahead Eagles to win

£10 on 3.00 Bet365

Steve Davies’ Recommendation

Richard van der Venne to score anytime

£5 on 3.20 888Sport

Season Record


Profit – £23.25


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Eerste Divisie: Super Mario at the double for Roda JC… again!


We saw a total of 36 goals over the ten Eerste Divisie games this weekend, Will Burns is here with all the action.

Roda JC mario engels

Go Ahead Eagles are the frontrunners at the top of the table after two games, however only on goal difference as TOP Oss, RKC Waalwijk and Roda JC, like the Eagles, have won both of their games.

John Stegeman’s Go Ahead defeated FC Eindhoven 2-1 thanks to goals from Istvan Bakx and Richard van der Venne. Debutant Portuguese winger Marcelo Lopes replied for Eindhoven.

TOP Oss smashed Jong PSV 4-1 as Huseyin Dogan (2), Norichio Nieveld and Bryan Smeets got on the scoresheet.

Five goals were shared as RKC defeated FC Den Bosch 3-2. Mario Bilate grabbed a brace in his first goals for the club since moving from FC Emmen in the summer.

Mario Engles (mobbed in the picture above) hit a double last week against Jong Ajax and managed another two in a 2-1 win over Almere City this week to give Roda JC their second win. I said in the Eerste Divisie season preview that the German would make an impact this season but I did not expect him to notch four goals at this stage.


Friday 24th August

Almere City 1-2 Roda JC

FC Den Bosch 2-3 RKC Waalwijk

FC Eindhoven 1-2 Go Ahead Eagles

Helmond Sport 2-2 FC Twente

Jong Ajax 5-2 FC Dordrecht

SC Cambuur 2-1 Jong AZ Alkmaar

Sparta Rotterdam 2-0 FC Volendam

Telstar 0-1 MVV Maastricht

TOP Oss 4-1 Jong PSV

Monday 27th August

Jong Utrecht 1-2 N.E.C. Nijmegen


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Eerste Divisie: Stegeman makes an flying start at Go Ahead Eagles


The first week of the Eerste Divisie is complete and as usual it was a weekend full of goals with only one goalless draw across the fixtures. Will Burns is on hand to describe the action.

Image result for gino bosz

The big winners this week were Go Ahead Eagles who thrashed Jong FC Utrecht by five goals. It was the dream start for new coach John Stegeman as Richard van der Venne notched the opener on 22 minutes and defender Gino Bosz doubled the scoring by half-time. Thomas Verheijdt, Maarten Pouwels and Paco van Moorsel completed the rout after the break to send the De Adelaarshorst faithful home optimistic about the new campaign ahead.

On Monday night, Almere City defeated Jong AZ as the era of Michele Santoni began. The Italian left his role as Technical Coach for Cagliari in the summer to up sticks to the Netherlands and began life with a 3-2 win. It was eventful game that saw Almere three goals to the good before half-time with goals from Niek Vossebelt, Tim Receveur and Stijn Meijer. Almere left-back Moustpha Seck was shown red for a foul in the area and AZ’s Jelle Duin missed the spot-kick. AZ got a goal back against the ten-men through Tijani Reijnders and Ferdy Druijf scored in stoppgae time but there’s where the comeback ended.

In the Eindhoven derby, Jong PSV came from behind to dispatch FC Eindhoven 2-1 at De Herdgang. The visitors took an early lead when Siebe van der Heyden rose like a salmon to beat Dirk Abels to head home a 6th minute free-kick. However, Zakaria Aboukhlal equalised in first-half stoppage to level the game up with a long range effort that took a deflection. Full-back Jordan Teze found himself in unfamiliar territory to hit PSV’s winner.

Former Eredivisie champions FC Twente had a successful start to the campaign at home to fellow relegated side Sparta Rotterdam. German loanee striker Ulrich Bapoh notched after ten minutes played but former Nottingham Forest target man Lars Veldwijk equalised in the 16th. Tom Boere converted a penalty before half-time to wrap the game up for Twente.

Elsewhere, SC Cambuur clawed back a 2-0 deficit away to N.E.C. to take a point back to Leeuwarden with two late goals. Anass Achahbar, formerly of Feyenoord, and Sven Braken gave Nijmegen to lead only for Frank Sturing to score in the wrong goal three minutes from time. Full-back Emmanuel Mbende was the hero notching five minutes in stoppage time to make it 2-2 and send the away fans home in jubilation.

Image result for mario engels

Roda JC dispatched last year’s champions Jong Ajax thanks to two goals from German winger Mario Engels (pictured above) in a 2-1 victory.

There was further wins for RKC Waalwijk, TOP Oss and FC Den Bosch before the weekend was over while FC Dordrecht and Helmond Sport played a goalless draw.


Friday 17th August

FC Dordrecht 0-0 Helmond Sport

Go Ahead Eagles 5-0 Jong FC Utrecht

Jong PSV 2-1 FC Eindhoven

MVV Maastricht 0-2 TOP Oss

N.E.C. 2-2 SC Cambuur

Roda JC 2-1 Jong Ajax

FC Twente 2-1 Sparta Rotterdam

FC Volendam 1-2 FC Den Bosch

RKC Waalwijk 1-0 Telstar

Monday 20th August

Jong AZ 2-3 Almere City


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Eerste Divisie 2018/19 Preview

The Eerste Divisie has undergone a revamp this summer and has been renamed the Keuken Kampioen Divisie due to a new sponsorship taking over, Will Burns looks at the season ahead.

Looking at the twenty teams involved in the 2018/19 Eerste Divisie campaign, the league looks strong with many contenders for promotion. Some big names like FC Twente, Sparta Rotterdam, N.E.C. Nijmegen, Go Ahead Eagles, Roda JC, SC Cambuur and RKC Waalwijk are in the competition this year in what looks to be an unpredictable season (as usual) for the Dutch first division.

Image result for tom boere fc twente

As expected, on paper FC Twente look to have one of the strongest squads with Oussama Assaidi, Xandro Schenk, Peet Bijen, Wout Brama, Haris Vuckic, Tim Holscher and Jari Oosterwijk all lining up for The Tukkers. If the former youth prodigy Oosterwijk can’t get new promoted head coach Marino Pusic goals then Tom Boere surely will. Boere scored 33 goals in 38 appearances for TOP Oss in the 2016/17 season and if he can replicate that performance he’ll surely fire his team into promotion contention.

The oldest club in the Netherlands, Sparta Rotterdam fell out of the Eredivisie last year and Henk Fraser takes over the reins from Dick Advocaat. De Kasteelheren themselves have an abundance of talent well capable of mounting a challenge from promotion. With Lars Veldwijk, Ragnar Ache, Edouard Duplan and Mohamed Rayhi in the attack, Sparta fans should be treated to plenty of goals. Dries Wuytens and Bart Vriends provide some solid top flight experience at the back and Suently Alberto and Giliano Wijnaldum (younger brother of Liverpool’s Georginio) should benefit from working with them while Adil Auassar should create chances for fun. One big story coming out of the Het KasteelI was the turnaround of Royston Drenthe. The former Real Madrid and Everton man has opted to come back to football after retiring last January to take up a rap career under the moniker of ‘Roya2Faces’.

Jack de Gier is once again linked up with N.E.C. Nijmegen returning from a two-year stint at Almere City. He has some great talent at his disposal from the goalkeeper Gino Coutinho to the forward line with Anass Achahbar up top. In defence, Guus Joppen, Robin Buwalda, Rens van Eijden, Josef Kvida and Leroy Labylle are an array of resource with Eredivisie experience for the back-line. In the middle of the park, Joey van den Berg has the ability to run the show for most games. One blow for De Gier is losing winger Randy Wolters to injury until the new year but one guy that I feel will stand out is. He signed on from Heracles in the summer but I feel has too much quality to playing in the second tier Brahim Darri week in, week out.

Go Ahead Eagles john stegeman

The less said about the 2017/18 campaign, the better for Go Ahead Eagles and Total Dutch’s Steve Davies (an Eagles fan). Despite spending the previous campaign in the Eredivisie, the season never really got going for the Deventer boys. The management change of Leon Vlemmings with Jan van Staa failed to produce an upturn in form with the Eagles eventually stumbling to a 17th place finish – the club’s worst for over a decade. Unsurprisingly, the summer saw an overhaul of both the playing squad and technical staff with John Stegeman raising many an eyebrow by taking a step down from a successful spell at Heracles to take charge of his beloved Eagles. The 41-year-old was a huge success in Almelo leading Heracles up to from 14th to sixth in the Eredivisie so he could most certainly be the man for the job. Stegeman will have almost a completely new squad to choose from with notable arrivals. Goalkeeper Hobie Verhulst has made the switch from FC Volendam, full-back Roland Baas and Czech winger Jaroslav Navrátil has followed Stegeman from Heracles. Former Heraclieden defender Jeroen Veldmate, turned down the opportunity to play in the top flight with newly promoted FC Emmen to make the switch to De Adelaarshorst. The optimism is as high as it has been for a number of years, so expect the men from Deventer to be back in the more familiar surroundings of the promotion/relegation play-off picture come the end of this season.

Roda JC managed by former Leeds United defender Robert Molenaar, will also be in the running. ‘The Terminator’ known for his side’s tough tackling and in-your-face football will have his team organised and hard to beat. They do not possess as much quality as many other teams but German right-winger Mario Engels will be a force to reckon with. Fast, strong with a clinical finish, the 24-year-old has fantastic ability from set-pieces and may steal the show in many games.

Former Twente boss René Hake still resides at SC Cambuur, a job he gained last January and steered the Leeuwarden side into eighth place. His business in the summer has not really strengthened the side into contenders and another year of missing out on promotion looks likely. The same can be said for RKC Waalwijk. After an incredibly disappointing finish in 18th last year, new RKC boss Fred Grim has not had the funds to increase hopes of reaching the playoffs.

Image result for jong ajax eerste divisie champions

Jong Ajax and Jong PSV will be using the league as usual to nurture their talents ready for the heights of the Eredivisie and European football and taking points away from the promotion hopefuls.

When it comes to predicting who could finish as champions, I would need a crystal ball the size of De Kuip to come up with a conclusion for such a crazy league.


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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.

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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.

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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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Eerste Divisie Report: Week 3


It’s a certainty that the Jupiler League has already seen some spectacular, surprising matches and this past Friday was not much different with VVV-Venlo going on a goal frenzy and NAC finally living up to the challenge writes Thomas Jacobs.

After two losses Robert Maaskant’s NAC really needed a win and they had the perfect opponent in Jong Ajax, who have been defending like statues this season. The three points were absolutely vital as the NAC-fans where – already – starting to get irritated with the club. Not only NAC, but MVV Maastricht as well have not earned any points after two matches. With an away-game in Oss in hindsight, it is going to be hard to get any points at all.

On the top of the table there are four sides with 100% records. Achilles ’29, Jong PSV, FC Volendam and FC Emmen are having a perfect season so far and latter is the first team who tried to keep their winning streak going, but in and against Den Bosch they never got any chance to do that. Just before the half-hour mark, Jordy Thomassen scored the first goal of many for FC Den Bosch. The home side were a lot stronger and via Arda Havar and Malcolm Esajas they eventually won the match easily with 3-0. A walk in the park for Den Bosch manager René van Eck.

"Droomstart? We zijn pas twee duels onderweg"

Another team who kept their perfect start in tact was Achilles ’29, but this is seen as one of the biggest surprise in the league. Mentally wise a great boost, because both games where won after sensational comebacks. The third team they faced was RKC Waalwijk, who tied their first two games. In a really boring game chances where a rarity for both teams, 0-0 was therefore a logical, but quite disappointing end result. Leaving Achilles remains unbeaten and RKC Waalwijk with three points out of the same amount of matches.

Already two of the four teams with the perfect record did not manage to win their third match and Jong PSV was not an exception in this rule. Visitors VVV-Venlo were on rampage and nothing could stopped them that day. Especially their creative mastermind Gianluca Nijholt was on fire, he scored the first goal of the match – a brilliant screamer which smashed off both posts before crossing the line. The 25-year-old, who has attracted interest from De Graafschap, was also responsible for the third VVV-goal. Manager Maurice Steijn eventually left Eindhoven with three points in the bag after a simple, big 5-1 victory against Jong PSV.

The last club who didn’t lose a point in the first matches was FC Volendam. They already played against NAC Breda (4-1) and FC Den Bosch (2-0) and where full of confidence when they faced another relegated side in FC Dordrecht. ‘Dordt’ where the hosts, but Volendam took care of business. With the always dangerous, fast Gyliano van Velzen and ’goal scorer for fun’ Jack Tuyp it was already 2-0 at half-time. Latter was responsible for both goals. After the break, Dordrecht immediately pulled one back but this was not enough. On the hour mark, it was Kees Kwakman who made it 3-1. Therefore, FC Volendam are the only club with a 100% record after three matchdays.

Eindhoven – Rotterdam will be played in the Eredivisie this Sunday  (PSV – Feyenoord), but the rehearsal between the two cities took place in Rotterdam this Friday. Sparta hosted a match against FC Eindhoven. Latter was the better side, but just before half time it was even Sparta who came undeserved ahead via Loris Brogno. In the first five minutes of the second half they even scored two more goals. Paco van Moorsel and Thomas Verhaar eventually gave Sparta the flattered 3-0 win.

NAC Breda played their second home match, after the 1-4 loss against FC Volendam on the first matchday. They didn’t started well, but  took the control of the match eventually. Jong Ajax couldn’t get any big chances, and it was no surprise the hosts won the game. Goals from Mats Seuntjens, Kevin Brands and debutant Sjoerd Ars all fell in the first half. A simple 3-0 victory for Maaskant and his boys.

MVV Maastricht didn’t started well this season. Having nil points after two matches. Apparently, third time is the charm, because they finally earned the points they needed. FC Oss was their first ‘victim’ of the season.  MVV started the match with a good attacking style and within thirty minutes they were 0-2 ahead. Just a few minutes after the second goal, FC Oss were awarded a penalty and came back in the match. Stef Peeters made sure MVV would win the game with the third goal for the away side, clinching the three points.

In Velsen there was the match between rivals SC Telstar and Almere City. SC Telstar were the better team and came ahead twice via two free kicks from Mohammed Ajnan. He wasn’t the only one who scored twice that match. Sven Braken, who played for MVV last season, scored both Almere-goals, one of them was in dying seconds of the match. 2-2 was a result both parties could be happy with.

Eight of the nine matches have been covered. The ‘last one’ was between Helmond Sport and Fortuna Sittard. After a good start from the home team, it was Fortuna Sittad who took the lead just before half time via Lars Hutten. Fortuna Sittard-striker Lekesiz scored their second goal just after a hour. A good win + a clean sheet for Fortuna: 0-2.

Player of the week:

Gianluca Nijholt. Scoring twice against Jong PSV. The attacking midfielder from VVV-Venlo was  -without a doubt – the best player in the match versus PSV which they won 1-5, but also in this matchday.


Friday 21st August

NAC 3-0 Jong Ajax

Telstar 2-2 Almere City

Dordrecht 1-3 FC Volendam

Helmond Sport 0-2 Fortuna Sittard

Achilles ’29 0-0 RKC Waalwijk

Jong PSV 1-5 VVV-Venlo

Sparta Rotterdam 3-0 FC Eindhoven

FC Den Bosch 3-0 FC Emmen

FC Oss 1-3 MVV Maastricht



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Eerste Divisie Report: Week 2


After losing their first match, NAC Breda and Go Ahead Eagles went into ‘Matchday Two’ looking for a win. Both teams needed the three points even though it’s just the start of the season. FC Volendam and FC Dordrecht hoped to hold their 100% record, just like FC Emmen. With 27 goals in eight matches there was more than enough spectacle, but even more spectacular was the match in Limburg between Fortuna Sittard and Achilles ’29  writes Thomas Jacobs.

With the unfortunate draw last week against FC Den Bosch, Fortuna Sittard looked to gain three points at home against Achilles’29. Before kick-off, the visitors looked like the perfect team to beat, and five minutes after the half-time break, Sittard gained a comfortable 2-0 lead. Gokhan Lekesiz, who missed a penalty last week, netted twice. Achilles’29 became stronger after the second goal, and Sittard buckled as just after the hour mark, Freek Thoone got Achilles back in the game with a lucky goal before Levi Raja Boaen notched the equaliser with ten minutes to go. Just when it looked like there would not be a winner, Eef van Riel notched to make 3-2. Achilles grabbed a fourth in injury time via Hielke Penterman. With this sensational comeback, Achilles’29 start their season with six points in two games, taking them to the top of the table.

With a 4-1 win over NAC Breda last week, FC Volendam have also started fantastically. This week, Den Bosch were the opponents and Volendam ran out the better team as 2-0 winners with Jack Tuyp and Kevin van Kippersluis with the goals. This was impressive as Volendam had Rafik El Hamdi sent off after two yellow cards.

NAC travelled to FC Eindhoven and returned home to Breda with a 2-1 defeat. After just one shot on target in the first half, the second half was more exciting. A Kevin Brands free-kick gave Breda the advantage but FC Eindhoven debutant Anil Koc grabbed the equaliser with his first touch. Two minutes later, Anthony van den Hurk notched the winner. After two games, NAC are standing at the bottom of the table with zero points.

Just like NAC Breda, Go Ahead Eagles began the season with a loss. This week, it was the first match in the Eagles’ renewed stadium ‘De Adelaarshorst’ and Telstar was the opponent. Eagles striker Leon de Kogel scored twice after just eighteen minutes. Telstar looked lacklustre and unable to create any chances. Eagles kept attacking and they ran out 5-0 winners with Mohamed Hamdaoui, Orhan Dzepar (on his debut) and Kenny Teijsse scoring the other goals.

FC Emmen hosted FC Dordrecht and in an evenly balanced match, the hosts won 1-0. Erixon Danso gave the home side the lead on the hour mark and Dordrecht tried for the equalizer, but every time Dennis Telgenkamp was on hand to protect the points for Emmen.

The first half between VVV-Venlo and FC Oss went back and forth, till the 39th minute when VVV defender Jason Bourdouxhe received a red card, and FC Oss were awarded a penalty. Seku Conneh made no mistake and FC Oss were a goal in front. After half-time, there was a magical moment from Leandro Resida. With an perfect chip he beat the goalkeeper and made it 1-1. However, it only lasted for a few minutes as Alvin Fortes scored the winner, and FC Oss went home with the three points in the bag.

In their first game of the season, Sparta Rotterdam drew 1-1 away to RKC Waalwijk. Thomas Verhaar scored a stunning goal near the end of the first-half to send Sparta into half-time with the lead. However, Arsenio Valpoort scored the undeserved equalizer in the 87th minute, giving his team a point to cherish.

In Maastricht, Jong PSV tried to win back-to-back games against MVV. Stef Peeters gave MVV the lead but in the second half, PSV turned the match around into a 3-1 lead after goals from Sander Heesakkers, Clint Leemans and Boris Cmiljanic. Pieter Nys gained a consolation and MVV was close to get nailing a point, but Luuk Koopmans did not let that happen.

The last match of the weekend was played between Jong Ajax and Helmond Sport on Monday evening. Ajax, playing with numerous players of the first team, started well and it resulted in a 1-0 lead after sixteen minutes with Croatian Robert Muric scoring. It was a contender for ‘goal of the week’ with a phenomenal long range effort in the top corner. Helmond Sport surged forward and in the 67th minute, Steven Edwards scored the deserving equalizer.


Leon de Kogel (Go Ahead Eagles)

The big striker was very important for his side with two goals after eighteen minutes. It was the start of an easy 5-0 win over SC Telstar.


Friday 14th August

Fortuna Sittard 2-4 Achilles ’29

FC Eindhoven 2-1 NAC Breda

VVV-Venlo 1-2 FC Oss

RKC Waalwijk 1-1 Sparta Rotterdam

MVV 2-3 Jong PSV

FC Volendam 2-0 FC Den Bosch

FC Emmen 1-0 FC Dordrecht

Sunday 16th August

Go Ahead Eagles 5-0 SC Telstar

Monday 17th August

Jong Ajax 1-1 Helmond Sport


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Eerste Divisie Report: Week 1


All the games of the first matchday of the Jupiler League have been played and without a doubt the contest between relegated NAC Breda and FC Volendam brought the biggest surprise writes Thomas Jacobs.

Divine Naah did not help Breda after he received two yellow cards after unsportsmanlike fouls. After the half-time break, Volendam took advantage of the player advantage as they travelled home with the three points and a big 4-1 win.

Although it was a surprising result, it was was the most spectacular match of the day. That was Almere City playing host to VVV-Venlo as both teams managed to score three goals each in an exciting game, where no one really deserved to win and finished level at 3-3.

In Dordrecht, FC Eindhoven rolled into town hoping to start the competition with a win. Where the Eindhoven side deserved the win, an even took the lead, it was Dordrecht who ended with the three points. They played on the counter, which was successful for a 3-1 win.

While Dordrecht stole the win, Fortuna Sittard virtually handed their points to FC Den Bosch. After an unlucky own goal from Den Bosch they were ahead 2-1 and were awarded a penalty. Gökhan Lekesiz stepped up to take it but missed. It was miss was deemed crucial as Den Bosch scored the equaliser just minutes after the failed spot kick. In the dying minutes, Den Bosch thought they had stole all three points, but the referee chalked off a goal due to a foul.

The goal of the weekend came in the FC Oss and FC Emmen game. Boy Deul – who was one of the five to watch in our season preview magazine – put his team ahead with a stunning shot from 20 meters firing into the top corner. Emmen won the game eventually by 3-0 after a red card for FC Oss defender Jeffrey Ket hampered the sides chances of a comeback.

Helmond Sport also began with a win with a great goal from Stanley Elbers was enough to clinch all three points. MVV was desperately looking for the equalizer, but every time the hosts ‘keeper Wouter van der Steen was in the way to save the points for his side.

Semi-pro club Achilles ’29 were the hosted Jong Ajax and after a sensational comeback they won the game 2-1. With just ten minutes to go, Joey Dekkers scored the winner with a beauty.

On Monday evening, Telstar were hoping to start the competition with a win but in a boring first half, it was RKC Waalwijk who opened the scoring. However, Telstar grabbed the important equalizer and the match ended in 1-1, in which both teams – should be – happy with the points shared.

The second game on Monday saw Jong PSV and relegated Go Ahead Eagles go head-t0-head. After 25 minutes, Jong PSV took the lead with an stunning volley from young midfielder Olivier Rommens. However, the match fizzled out with only one shot on target in the whole second-half. Jong PSV deservedly won their first match while Eagles did not have the power and creativity to create the equalizing goal. The Eagles will need to improve to if they wish to gain promotion back to the Eredivisie. In a remarkable fact: Jong PSV have now faced six relegated sides at home in their first two professional seasons and have not lost one (winning four and drawing two).


Wouter van der Steen (Helmond Sport)

With crucial stops in the 1-0 win against MVV, he really saved the third points for his team.


Friday 7th August

FC Den Bosch 2-2 Fortuna Sittard

Almere City FC 3-3 VVV-Venlo

Helmond Sport 1-0 MVV Maastricht

FC Oss 0-3 FC Emmen

FC Dordrecht 3-1 FC Eindhoven

NAC Breda 1-4 FC Volendam

Achilles ’29 2-1 Jong Ajax

Monday 10th August

Jong PSV 1-0 Go Ahead Eagles

Telstar 1-1 RKC Waalwijk


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