Category Archives: EREDIVISIE REPORT

EREDIVISIE REPORT: Ajax smash Feyenoord, PSV keep on winning

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The tenth round of Eredivisie action got underway at De Oude Meerdijk on Friday evening where a 64th-minute effort from Stef Gronsveld ultimately proved enough to earn hosts, FC Emmen a share of the spoils against an undermanned VVV Venlo.

Saturday’s action in the top flight of Dutch football began with NAC edging a point clear of the foot of the table after their clash with ADO finished all square in The Hague.

Elsewhere, De Graafschap got back to winning ways by hitting an undermanned Excelsior for four while a Denzel Dumfries effort three minutes from time saw table-topping PSV Eindhoven snatch a last-gasp victory over rock-bottom Groningen to move eight points clear of second-placed Ajax.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action was brought to a close at the MAC3PARK Stadion where a 73rd-minute effort from Mike van Duinen ultimately proved enough to earn struggling PEC Zwolle a share of the spoils against high-flying Heracles.

Sunday’s action got underway in Arnhem where a 66th-minute effort from Matus Bero proved decisive as Vitesse got back to winning ways at the expense of the previously in-form Fortuna Sittard.

Image result for Ajax 3-0 Feyenoord

Elsewhere, a late Willem Janssen effort three minutes from time saw FC Utrecht snatch all three points from under the noses of Willem II in Tilburg while Ajax reduced PSV’s advantage at the top of the standings to five points after hitting an undermanned Feyenoord for three without reply in De Klassieker.

The tenth round of Eredivisie action was brought to a close at the AFAS Stadion where an 84th-minute effort from Sam Lammers saw Heerenveen snatch victory over hosts, AZ Alkmaar by the odd goal in five.

Results

FC Emmen 1-1 VVV Venlo

ADO Den Haag 1-1 NAC Breda

FC Groningen 1-2 PSV Eindhoven

De Graafschap 4-1 Excelsior

PEC Zwolle 1-1 Heracles Almelo

Vitesse Arnhem 2-1 Fortuna Sittard

AFC Ajax 3-0 Feyenoord

Willem II 0-1 FC Utrecht

AZ Alkmaar 2-3 SC Heerenveen

Team of the Week

GK – Lars Unnerstall – VVV

DF – Denzel Dumfries – PSV

DF – Nicolas Gavory – FC Utrecht

DF – Bart Straalman – De Graafschap

DF – Maikel van der Werff – Vitesse

MF – Youssef El Jebli – De Graafschap

MF – Frenkie de Jong – Ajax

MF – Hakim Ziyech – Ajax

FW – Daryl van Miegham – De Graafschap

FW – Michel Vlap – sc Heerenveen

FW – Adenassar El Khayati – ADO

Player of the Week

FW – Hakim Ziyech – Ajax

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: PSV six-y as Ajax four-midable

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Due to the international break, the ninth round of action in the Dutch top flight got underway on Saturday evening with two fixtures kicking off simultaneously that saw reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven tune up for their UEFA Champions League encounter with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday evening by hitting a hapless FC Emmen for six to move eight points clear at the top of the standings ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures while, at the same time, goals from Jeffry Fortes and Jurgen Mattheij saw an undermanned Excelsior edge out Vitesse Arnhem at the Van Donge & De Roo Stadion.

Image result for PSV Eindhoven 6-0 FC Emmen

Saturday’s Eredivisie action was concluded with two more fixtures that saw title-chasing Ajax, who themselves welcome Benfica to the Johan Cruijff ArenA in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday evening, promptly reduce PSV’s advantage at the top of the table back to five points after Erik ten Hag’s men hit Heerenveen for four without reply in Friesland while an own goal from the unlucky Ricardo van Rhijn saw FC Utrecht snatch all three points from under the noses of visiting AZ Alkmaar at the Stadion Galgenwaard.

Sunday’s action in the top flight of Dutch football got underway in Breda where a Mikhail Rosheuvel spot kick sixteen minutes from time ultimately proved enough to earn bottom-of-the-table, NAC a share of the spoils from their derby clash with Willem II.

Elsewhere, goals from Peniel Mlapa and Jay-Roy Grot saw VVV Venlo sweep aside the challenge of visiting ADO Den Haag to edge their way into the top five.

Meanwhile, Heracles ended the weekend five points and one place better off than VVV after coming from a goal down to hit struggling FC Groningen for four at the Polman Stadion while, with the season’s first instalment of De Klassieker on the horizon, Feyenoord hit PEC Zwolle for three to move within two points of second placed Ajax.

The ninth round of Eredivisie action was brought to a close in Sittard where Fortuna hit fellow newly-promoted side, De Graafschap for three to move three points clear of the drop zone.

Results

PSV Eindhoven 6-0 FC Emmen

Excelsior 2-0 Vitesse Arnhem

SC Heerenveen 0-4 AFC Ajax

FC Utrecht 2-1 AZ Alkmaar

NAC Breda 2-2 Willem II

VVV Venlo 2-0 ADO Den Haag

Heracles Almelo 4-1 FC Groningen

Feyenoord 3-0 PEC Zwolle

Fortuna Sittard 3-1 De Graafschap 

Team of the Week

GK – Justin Bijlow – Feyenoord

DF – Denzel Dumfries – PSV

DF – Angelino – PSV

DF – Branislav Ninaj – Fortuna Sittard

DF – Jurgen Mattheij – Excelsior

MF – Tino Susic – VVV

MF – Gaston Pereiro – PSV

MF – Hakim Ziyech – Ajax

FW – Luuk De Jong – PSV

FW – Lazaros Lamprou – Fortuna Sittard

FW – Hirving Lozano – PSV

Player of the Week

FW – Hirving Lozano – PSV

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: PSV & Ajax easing through the season

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With the second international break of the campaign looming large on the horizon, the eighth round of Eredivisie action got underway on Friday evening at the Stadion Galgenwaard where a Simon Gustafson double saw FC Utrecht overcome the challenge of struggling NAC Breda to edge their way into the top ten ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.

Saturday’s action in the top flight of Dutch football began in The Hague where a lone first-half effort from Elson Hooi ultimately proved enough to see ADO Den Haag edge out visiting Groningen.

Elsewhere, PEC Zwolle continued their recent resurgence by seeing off the challenge of Excelsior courtesy of goals from Mike van Duinen and Thomas Lam while reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven put their midweek UEFA Champions League disappointment behind them by hitting VVV Venlo for four to move eight points clear at the top of the standings.

The day’s action was concluded in Doetinchem where Heerenveen edged their way into the top eight after hitting an undermanned De Graafschap for five.

Sunday’s Eredivisie action got underway at De Oude Meerdijk where a 91st-minute effort from Jose Rodriguez earned Fortuna Sittard a late share of the spoils in a six-goal thriller with fellow Eredivisie new boys, FC Emmen.

Elsewhere, previously in-form Heracles saw their five-match winning streak go up in smoke in spectacular fashion as they were hit for four without reply by a rampant Vitesse Arnhem while an 85th-minute equaliser from Fran Sol saw Willem II snatch a late point against visiting Feyenoord.

Image result for AFC Ajax 5-0 AZ Alkmaar

The eighth round of action was brought to a close at the Johan Cruijff ArenA where buoyed by their impressive performance in Munich in midweek, Ajax hit a hapless AZ Alkmaar for five to end the weekend five points adrift of pacesetting PSV Eindhoven.   

Results

FC Utrecht 2-1 NAC Breda

ADO Den Haag 1-0 FC Groningen

PEC Zwolle 2-0 Excelsior

PSV Eindhoven 4-0 VVV Venlo

De Graafschap 0-5 SC Heerenveen

FC Emmen 3-3 Fortuna Sittard

Vitesse Arnhem 4-0 Heracles Almelo

Willem II 1-1 Feyenoord

AFC Ajax 5-0 AZ Alkmaar

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: Hero RVP turns to villain

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Following a busy week of KNVB Beker action, the Eredivisie returned with its seventh round of fixtures on Saturday evening at the Abe Lenstra Stadion where Tomáš Necid’s third goal in the Czech’s last two outings in all competitions earned ADO Den Haag a share of the points against Heerenveen while, at the same time, second-half goals from Luuk de Jong and substitute, Donyell Malen helped reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven to a third win on the bounce in all competitions on the road against NAC in Breda.

The day’s action was rounded out with two more fixtures kicking off simultaneously as second-half goals from Kasper Dolberg and Hakim Ziyech saw Ajax warm up tor Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting with Bayern Munich by taking all three points from their trip to Eredivisie new boys, Fortuna Sittard while a lone Elías Már Ómarsson effort ultimately proved enough to see a short-handed Excelsior send visiting VVV Venlo home empty-handed.

Sunday got underway in Almelo where two goals in the opening seven minutes from first, Brandley Kuwas and then Kristoffer Peterson ultimately proved enough to see in-form Heracles record a fifth-straight win in all competitions, at the expense of visiting FC Emmen.

Elsewhere, a goal from super-sub, Ahmad Mendes Moreira fourteen minutes from time saw struggling FC Groningen climb off the foot of the table after snatching a share of the spoils against an undermanned FC Utrecht while an 88th minute effort from second-half replacement, Zian Flemming earned PEC Zwolle a late point against AZ Alkmaar and an own goal from the unlucky Fernando Lewis a minute from time saw De Graafschap snatch all three points against nine-man Willem II in Doetinchem.

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The weekend was brought to a close at De Kuip where Robin van Persie capped a come-from-behind victory for hosts, Feyenoord with an incredible free-kick three minutes from time to see off a dogged Vitesse Arnhem, who, having seen the former Arsenal and Manchester United man handed his marching orders a minute into added time, would end the game with just nine men when Danilho Doekhi was sent to join the previously dismissed Thomas Bruns four minutes later.

Results

SC Heerenveen 1-1 ADO Den Haag

NAC Breda 0-2 PSV Eindhoven

Fortuna Sittard 0-2 AFC Ajax

Excelsior 1-0 VVV Venlo

Heracles Almelo 2-1 FC Emmen

FC Groningen 1-1 FC Utrecht

AZ Alkmaar 2-2 PEC Zwolle

De Graafschap 2-1 Willem II

Feyenoord 2-1 Vitesse Arnhem

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: PSV go five ahead of Ajax in De Topper

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The sixth round of Eredivisie action got underway on Friday evening at the Polman Stadion where in-form Heracles made it three wins on the bounce by hitting an undermanned De Graafschap for four.

Saturday’s top-flight action got underway in Sittard where a 77th-minute effort from Jose Rodriguez ultimately proved enough to earn Fortuna a share of the spoils in an eight-goal thriller with visiting Willem II.

Elsewhere, VVV Venlo made it back-to-back victories by smashing an undermanned NAC Breda for three while the 92nd-minute effort from substitute, Jizz Hornkamp earned Heerenveen a late share of the spoils in a six-goal thriller with Excelsior at the Van Donge & De Roo Stadion.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action was brought to a close in Arnhem where a 65th-minute effort from Abdenasser El Khayati ultimately proved enough to see ADO Den Haag put last week’s seven-goal humbling at the hands of PSV Eindhoven behind them by bagging a point on the road against ten-man Vitesse.

Sunday’s action in the Dutch top-flight began at De Kuip where a lone Robin van Persie goal three minutes from time saw Feyenoord snatch all three points from under the noses of a dogged FC Utrecht.

Elsewhere, a solitary first-half effort from Rick Dekker ultimately proved just enough to secure PEC Zwolle’s second victory of the campaign, on the road in Emmen while AZ Alkmaar edged their way back into the top five by hitting nine-man Groningen for three.

Image result for psv 3-0 ajax

The weekend was brought to a close at the Philips Stadion where three goals in the space of fourteen first-half minutes saw reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven sweep aside the challenge of title rivals, Ajax in De Topper to move five points clear at the top of the standings.

Results

Heracles Almelo 4-0 De Graafschap

Fortuna Sittard 4-4 Willem II

VVV Venlo 3-0 NAC Breda

Excelsior 3-3 SC Heerenveen

Vitesse Arnhem 1-1 ADO Den Haag

Feyenoord 1-0 FC Utrecht

FC Emmen 0-1 PEC Zwolle

FC Groningen 1-3 AZ Alkmaar

PSV Eindhoven 3-0 AFC Ajax

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: PSV in Seventh Heaven!

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With no Friday fixture following the international break, the fifth round of Eredivisie action got underway on Saturday evening with reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven tuning up for their UEFA Champions League encounter with Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Tuesday evening by hitting a hapless ADO Den Haag for seven in The Hague while VVV Venlo withstood a late fightback from hosts, De Graafschap to pick up their second win of the campaign.

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Elsewhere, a double from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and a goal from Dušan Tadić saw the second of the Netherlands’ UEFA Champions League hopefuls, Ajax prepare for their meeting with AEK Athens on Wednesday evening by hitting struggling FC Groningen for three at the Johan Cruijff ArenA to move to within two points of pacesetting PSV while two goals in the space of two minutes saw Willem II come from two-down to salvage an unlikely point late on against visiting Excelsior.

Sunday’s Eredivisie action got underway at the AFAS Stadion where a Steven Berghuis effort five minutes before the break ultimately proved enough to earn Feyenoord a point against AZ Alkmaar.

In the day’s other games, a scrambled effort from Branislav Ninaj nine minutes from time ultimately proved the difference as Fortuna Sittard edged out hosts, NAC Breda in a five-goal thriller to post the club’s first victory since returning to the top flight of Dutch football while second-half goals from substitute, Luciano Slagveer, and Glen Bijl saw FC Emmen come from a goal down to post their second victory since achieving Eredivisie status at the expense of an undermanned FC Utrecht.

Meanwhile, Kristoffer Peterson’s second of the afternoon followed by a Mohammed Osman effort two minutes from time eventually put Heracles out of sight in an eight-goal thriller with Heerenveen before the fifth round of Eredivisie action was brought to a close at the MAC³PARK Stadion where a first-half double from Tim Matavž saw Vitesse Arnhem get back to winning ways at the expense of struggling PEC Zwolle.

Results

De Graafschap 1-2 VVV Venlo

ADO Den Haag 0-7 PSV Eindhoven

Willem II 2-2 Excelsior

AFC Ajax 3-0 FC Groningen

AZ Alkmaar 1-1 Feyenoord

SC Heerenveen 3-5 Heracles Almelo

FC Utrecht 1-2 FC Emmen

NAC Breda 2-3 Fortuna Sittard

PEC Zwolle 0-2 Vitesse Arnhem

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: PSV hit Willem II for six as Ajax are four-midable

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The fourth week of action in the Eredivisie got underway on Friday night at De Oude Meerdijk where a late Fabian Serrarens effort two minutes from time earned visiting De Graafschap a late share of the spoils against another newly-promoted side, FC Emmen.

Saturday began in Venlo where a 69th minute effort from substitute, Patrick Joosten saw hosts, VVV claim a point against visiting Heerenveen.

Elsewhere an incredible four-goal performance from Abdenasser El Khayati helped ADO Den Haag secure a second win in as many games away at Excelsior while reigning Eredivisie champions PSV Eindhoven made it six wins on the bounce in all competitions by hitting a hapless Willem II for six.

Saturday’s action was brought to a close in Sittard where Andrija Novakovich’s deflected 74th minute strike ultimately proved sufficient to see newly-promoted Fortuna share the spoils with visitors, FC Utrecht to post just their second point since making their return to the top flight of Dutch football.

Sunday’s Eredivisie action got underway in Groningen where a lone Vito van Crooij effort nineteen minutes into the second half proved just enough to see PEC Zwolle bag their first points of the campaign and move off the foot of the table.

Elsewhere, Ajax followed up securing a place in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League by hitting Vitesse for four without reply in Arnhem while, despite taking a 2nd minute lead through Myron Boadu, early season pacesetters, AZ Alkmaar ultimately slipped to a first league defeat of the campaign after goals from Mohammed Osman, Kristoffer Peterson and Lerin Duarte sealed a come-from-behind victory for hosts, Heracles in Almelo.

The fourth round of action in the Dutch top flight was brought to a close at De Kuip where Feyenoord edged into third place in the standings by hitting visiting NAC Breda for four to secure their third win in as many games.

Results

FC Emmen 1-1 De Graafschap

VVV Venlo 1-1 SC Heerenveen

PSV Eindhoven 6-1 Willem II

Excelsior 2-4 ADO Den Haag

Fortuna Sittard 1-1 FC Utrecht

Fc Groningen 0-1 PEC Zwolle

Heracles Almelo 3-2 AZ Alkmaar

Vitesse Arnhem 0-4 AFC Ajax

Feyenoord 4-2 NAC Breda

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: PSV get Luuky, Ajax hit five and an eight-goal thriller

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Week three of the Eredivisie got underway on Friday in The Hague where a double from Abdenasser El Khayati and a goal from Melvyn Lorenzen saw ADO Den Haag past visiting Fortuna Sittard to post their first points of the campaign at the third time of asking.

Saturday began with Ajax tuning up for the return leg of their Champions League play-off tie against Dynamo Kiev by hitting Eredivisie debutants FC Emmen for five at the Johan Cruijff ArenA while a lone Michael Breij effort a minute before the break ultimately proved enough to earn Groningen their first points of the season on the road in Doetinchem against another of the division’s newly promoted sides, De Graafschap.

luuk de jong PSV

Saturday was concluded with two fixtures kicking off at the same time with goals from Ali Messaoud and Jeffry Fortes seeing Excelsior pick up their first victory of the campaign at the expense of NAC Breda while a last-gasp effort from Luuk de Jong in the third minute of added time saw reigning champions, PSV Eindhoven post a fourth-straight win in all competitions at the expense of hosts, PEC Zwolle to leave Mark van Bommel’s men top of the table and in confident mood ahead of the return leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off tie with BATE Borisov on Wednesday night.

Sunday kicked off in Tilburg where a Fran Sol treble helped fire Willem II to a five-star display against visiting Heracles and, in the process, a second win in as many games.

Elsewhere, a second half spot kick from Tino-Sven Susic ultimately proved enough to earn VVV Venlo a share of the spoils in Utrecht while Feyenoord withstood a late fight back from hosts, Heerenveen to bag all three points in an eight-goal thriller in Friesland.

The weekend was concluded at the AFAS Stadion where a resolute performance from Vitesse Arnhem saw their clash with AZ Alkmaar end goalless, frustrating the host’s hopes of topping the Eredivisie standings for a third week in succession.

Results

ADO Den Haag 3-1 Fortuna Sittard

AFC Ajax 5-0 FC Emmen

De Graafschap 0-1 FC Groningen

NAC Breda 0-2 Excelsior

PEC Zwolle 1-2 PSV Eindhoven

Willem II 5-0 Heracles Almelo

FC Utrecht 1-1 VVV Venlo

SC Heerenveen 3-5 Feyenoord

AZ Alkmaar 0-0 Vitesse Arnhem

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: Tadic to the rescue for Ajax

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The second round of action in the Dutch top flight got underway on Friday evening at the Hitachi Capital Mobility Stadion where a lone goal from Daniel Crowley saw Willem II post their first points of the campaign at the expense of hosts, FC Groningen, who remain without a point and propping up the table after succumbing to successive defeats in the opening two rounds of the season.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action began in Venlo where a late Dusan Tadic spot-kick saw an out-of-sorts Ajax snatch all three points against VVV.

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Elsewhere, NAC Breda brought De Graafschap back down to earth by hitting the newly promoted side for three, while a last-minute effort from substitute, Dante Rigo spared reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven’s blushes in Sittard against another of the league’s new boys, Fortuna.

Saturday’s action was rounded out in Almelo where Heracles followed up their impressive display at the Johan Cruijff ArenA last time out by hitting a hapless, ADO Den Haag for four.

Sunday’s action got underway at the Stadion Galgenwaard where first half goals from Joris van Overeem (who was later sent off) and Sean Klaiber saw FC Utrecht post their first points of the campaign at the expense of visiting, PEC Zwolle, who remain pointless.

Elsewhere, AZ Alkmaar ensured they would end the weekend back at the top of the standings by following up last week’s five-goal thrashing of NAC with a four-goal trouncing of top flight debutants, FC Emmen, while Feyenoord put a nightmare week in the rear view by hitting Rotterdam rivals, Excelsior for three at De Kuip.

Week two was brought to a close in Friesland where an 81st minute effort from Tim Matavz earned another side who saw their European hopes fade in mid-week, Vitesse Arnhem, a late share of the spoils against Heerenveen.

Results: Week 2

FC Groningen 0-1 Willem II

NAC Breda 3-0 De Graafschap

VVV Venlo 0-1 AFC Ajax

Fortuna Sittard 1-2 PSV Eindhoven

Heracles Almelo 4-2 ADO Den Haag

FC Utrecht 2-0 PEC Zwolle

Feyenoord 3-0 Excelsior

FC Emmen 1-4 AZ Alkmaar

SC Heerenveen 1-1 Vitesse Arnhem

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: Week Twenty-Six

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The twenty sixth round of action in the Dutch top flight got underway on Friday evening at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion where visiting, Heracles hit struggling Roda JC for three to move within five points of the UEFA Europa League play-off places.

Buoyed by victory over PEC Zwolle last time out, the away side were quick to assert their authority over their relegation-threatened hosts and would take the lead just with just thirteen minutes on the clock when Brandley Kuwas rifled home a free kick from well outside the area that left Hidde Jurjus grasping at thin air.

Despite visiting coach, John Stegeman this week committing his future to Go Ahead Eagles, his side would double their advantage six minutes before the break through Kristoffer Peterson, who having outmuscled both Mikhail Rosheuvel and Mohamed El Makrini on the edge of the area, cut inside and left Patrick Banggaard for dead before picking out the bottom left hand corner of Jurjus’ net.

The hosts, who came into this encounter without a win in their last six outings in all competitions, might have got back into the game in the 67th minute but Roland Baas was in the right place at the right time to head a goal-bound effort from Dani Schahin off the line before Banggaard got in the way of a Kuwas strike at the other end that would have effectively killed the match as a contest four minutes later.

Having been frustrated once again when first, Baas stabbed the ball against Jurjus’ left hand upright before second half substitute, Paul Gladon’s subsequent finish was ruled out by referee, Jochem Kamphuis seven minutes from time after the man on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers clearly handled the ball before finding the back of the host’s net, that illusive third goal would eventually arrive in the 89th minute when Kuwas laid the ball back for Peter van Ooijen to claim his first of the campaign with a low drive from just outside the area.

Image result for PSV Eindhoven 3-0 FC Utrecht

Saturday’s Eredivisie action began at the Philips Stadion where PSV Eindhoven hit in-form, FC Utrecht for three to move ten points clear at the top of the standings.

With Jean-Paul de Jong still yet to taste defeat since taking over as coach from Erik ten Hag over the winter break and his side coming into this encounter on the back of four straight wins it came as little surprise when the visitors almost took an early lead when Mark van der Maarel swept the ball onto the foot of Jeroen Zoet’s right hand upright with just thirteen minutes gone.

However, the full back’s miss would ultimately prove costly as it was the hosts, whose only defeat in their last twelve outings came at the hands of reigning Eredivisie champions, Feyenoord in the quarter finals of the KNVB Beker (a defeat which they promptly avenged last time out), who would subsequently take a stranglehold on proceedings when the unlucky Ramon Leeuwin unwittingly broke the deadlock by diverting a Bart Ramselaar cut-back into his own net before Luuk de Jong left David Jensen rooted to the spot with an audacious bicycle kick to double the home side’s advantage just six minutes later.

Galvanised by their first half performance, it would take Phillip Cocu’s men just six second half minutes to effectively end the game as a contest when, having sprinted half the length of the field after picking up the ball from Santiago Arias just inside his own half, Steven Bergwijn turned Sean Klaiber inside out and slotted the ball past an exposed Jensen to make it three from just outside the box.

Fresh from booking a place in the final of the KNVB Beker for the second time in as many years on Wednesday evening, AZ Alkmaar withstood a late rally from hosts, Excelsior to post a fourth straight victory in all competitions and move to within two points of second placed Ajax.

With a relieved Theo Zwarthoed having had the woodwork to thank after the away side came within a whisker of taking a seventh minute lead when a low drive from Guss Til struck the foot of his right hand upright, the home side’s experienced shot-stopper would then unwittingly give the visitors a helping hand by diverting an Alireza Jahanbakhsh cross into his own net twelve minutes later.

Despite the home side carving out the majority of the chances thereafter, the visitors would double their advantage a minute before the break when Pantelis Hatzidiakos capitalised on some loose play from Wout Faes to send Jahanbakhsh away to claim his thirteenth of the campaign in all competitions.

Having emerged for the second half with a renewed sense of purpose, the hosts would come within a whisker of reducing the arrears on the hour when Wout Weghorst was in the right place at the right time to clear a goal-bound header from Jurgen Mattheij off the line.

However, despite the best efforts of AZ loanee, Levi Garcia, who teed up Ali Messaoud to halve the away side’s advantage with a spectacular effort from just outside the area four minutes later – just five minutes after the 20-year-old had been brought on to replace Stanley Elbers, an equaliser ultimately remained elusive for Mitchell van der Gaag’s men.

Elsewhere, out-of-form Heerenveen ended a run of four games without a win by heaping more misery on struggling Willem II, who, having been hit for three in their semi-final tie with Feyenoord in the KNVB Beker on Wednesday night, fell to a goal in either half at the Abe Lenstra Stadion.

The hosts would make the perfect start when a low drive from Lucas Woudenberg found the foot of Mattijs Branderhorst’s left hand upright on its way into the back of the net for the 23-year-old’s first of the campaign with just thirteen minutes on the clock before, having evaded the attentions of Darryl Lachman, Reza Ghoochannejhad flicked home a pinpoint cross from Denzel Dumfries two minutes into the second half to claim his fourth goal in his last seven outings and three much-needed points to leave Jurgen Streppel’s men just three points off the UEFA Europa League play-off places.

Image result for NAC Breda 2-1 Feyenoord

At the same time, there were remarkable scenes in Breda where, having overcome Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men earlier in the campaign, NAC eased their own relegation fears by coming from behind to see off reigning Eredivisie champions, Feyenoord.

Despite the eventual result, things had begun well for the visitors who, having booked their place in the final of the KNVB Beker on Wednesaday evening, hit the front with just seventeen minutes gone at the Rat Verlegh Stadion when some neat inter-play by the away side culminated in Tonny Vilhena poking the ball back for Jens Toornstra to sweep home his eighth of the season in all competitions from mid-way inside the area.

However, the visitor’s advantage would last just six minutes when Thierry Ambrose found himself in the right place at the right time to tap the ball into an unguarded net, seconds after Brad Jones had clawed the ball away from the feet of a marauding Umar Sadiq.

Having only been drafted into the starting line-up at the eleventh hour when injury forced former Feyenoord man, Mitchell te Vrede to withdraw, the 21-year-old Nigerian made the most of his first start in a NAC shirt by earning and subsequently dispatching a somewhat controversial spot-kick four minutes into the second half to ultimately secure a priceless three points that left the hosts seven points clear of the bottom three after the man on loan from Roma was thrown to the ground in an off-the-ball clash with Jones seconds after attempting to close the Australian down as he cleared his lines.

Sunday’s Eredivisie action got underway at the MAC3PARK Stadion where it ended honours even between out-of-form PEC Zwolle and VVV Venlo.

Despite having been on the back foot for the majority of a goalless opening period, it would be the visitors, who, having been unlucky not to have taken the lead when Johnatan Opoku saw his speculative effort from just outside the area strike Diederik Boer’s right hand upright just a minute earlier, would break the deadlock when a Vito van Crooij free kick found the top right hand corner of the veteran glovesman’s net in the 68th minute.

However, despite coming into this encounter on the back of three straight defeats, the home side would ultimately stop the rot when Youness Mokhtar picked out the head of an unmarked Mustafa Saymak at the back post to restore parity for the hosts with his tenth of the campaign seventeen minutes from time.

Elsewhere, Sparta Rotterdam came from a goal down at home to ADO Den Haag to snatch three priceless points and move off the foot of the table.

Having arrived in Rotterdam unbeaten in their last five outings, the visitors wasted little time in asserting their authority over their struggling hosts when, having been slipped in by an incisive through-ball from Abdenasser El Khayati, Erik Falkenburg swept the ball home off the foot of Jannik Huth’s right hand upright with just six minutes on the clock.

Things might have gotten even better for the visitors had Falkenburg found the back of the net as opposed to the foot of Huth’s other post after being sent clear by a well-weighted ball from Lex Immers three minutes before the break.

However, despite taking just one point from the last twelve, the hosts would claw their way back onto level terms just after the hour when Thomas Verhaar glanced former ADO man, Michiel Kramer into the clear to claim just his third of the campaign and first in a Sparta shirt by slotting the ball calmly past an exposed Robert Zwinkels.

Things would get even better for Dick Advocaat’s side when, having seen his 68th minute effort come back off the visiting ‘keeper’s right hand upright, half time replacement, Robert Muhren made Wilfried Kanon pay for a poor headed clearance by turning the Ivorian inside out and lashing the ball beyond the reach of Zwinkels to snatch three much-needed points for the hosts seven minutes from time.

Meanwhile, Ajax’s title hopes were left in tatters after Vitesse Arnhem came out on top in a five-goal thriller at the GelreDome.

Having made the perfect start when Navarone Foor cut in from the right and lashed the ball into the top left hand corner of Andre Onana’s net from well outside the area with just sixteen minutes on the clock, the hosts were unlucky not to add to their lead when a goal-bound header from Matt Miazga was cleared off the line by Hakim Ziyech eleven minutes before the break.

However, the Moroccan’s clearance would ultimately prove to be only a temporary reprieve for the visitors who fell further behind when Bryan Linssen capitalised on some ponderous play from Maximilian Wöber on the edge of the area to steal in and slam the ball past an exposed Onana twelve minutes into the second half.

However, just when the points appeared safe for the home side, a double switch from Erik ten Hag paid immediate dividends when substitute, Mateo Cassierra headed home a Ziyech corner to claw the visitors back into the game just a minute after replacing Wöber on the hour before, having been introduced at the same time as the Colombian, Amin Younes very nearly pulled the away side back onto level terms when his effort came back off Remko Pasveer’s right hand upright two minutes later.

Yet, when a Mason Mount free kick was headed back across goal by Guram Kashia for Linssen to volley home his second and the host’s third with nineteen minutes to play, any thoughts the visitors may have harboured of making a comeback looked to have been put on ice once more and, although the away side would eventually find a second five minutes from time when an unmarked Siem de Jong slammed a Younes knock-down into the roof of Pasveer’s net from a few yards out, a third failed to materialise for ten Hag and his men who ended the weekend ten points adrift of table-topping PSV Eindhoven.

The twenty sixth round of action in the Dutch top flight was concluded in Enschede where relegation-threatened FC Twente put the disappointment of missing out on a place in the final of the KNVB Beker on Wednesday evening by coming from behind to snatch a share of the spoils against fellow strugglers, FC Groningen.

Having failed to win any of their last six outings in all competitions, things were looking ominous for Gertjan Verbeek’s men when Ritsu Doan evaded the attentions of three before slotting the ball past an exposed Joel Drommel from just outside the box to claim his seventh of the campaign in all competitions twelve minutes into the second half.

Things might have gotten worse for the hosts were it not for Peet Bijen who found himself in the right place at the right time to stop a goal-bound effort from Juninho Bacuna after a well weighted lob from Mimoun Mahi took Drommel out of the equation and presented the 20-year-old with an empty net just nine minutes later.

However, having failed to win any of their last seven games, the away side would ultimately have to be content with a fourth draw in as many matches when Tom Boere glanced home an Adam Maher cross from mid-way inside the visitor’s area to ultimately earn the host’s a vital point in their quest to beat the drop nineteen minutes from time.

Things might have gotten even better for the home side but, despite earlier clawing the home side back on level terms, Boere was left frustrated when his header clipped the top of Sergio Padt’s crossbar with a quarter of an hour left to play before a covering Jesper Drost blocked a goal-bound effort from Danny Holla a minute later.

Results: Week 26

Roda JC 0-3 Heracles Almelo

PSV Eindhoven 3-0 FC Utrecht

Excelsior 1-2 AZ Alkmaar

SC Heerenveen 2-0 Willem II

NAC Breda 2-1 Feyenoord  

PEC Zwolle 1-1 VVV Venlo

Sparta Rotterdam 2-1 ADO Den Haag

Vitesse Arnhem 3-2 AFC Ajax

FC Twente 1-1 FC Groningen

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EREDIVISIE 2017/18 REPORT: Week Twenty-Five

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The twenty fifth round of action in the Dutch top flight got underway at the Noordlease Stadion where relegation-threatened, NAC Breda kept fellow strugglers, Groningen in sight thanks to an 86th minute equaliser from Mitchell te Vrede.

The hosts were unlucky not to take the lead ten minutes into what would ultimately prove to be a goalless opening period when, having evaded the attentions of both Lucas Schoofs and Pablo Mari, Mimoun Mahi saw his fierce effort from the edge of the box come back off Nigel Bertrams’ crossbar.

However, the home side looked to be on course to open up a seven-point gap between themselves and Stijn Vreven’s men when the unlucky Pablo Mari diverted a Django Warmerdam cross past his own ‘keeper in the 66th minute as the NAC skipper attempted to keep Mahi at bay on the edge of the box.

Having come into this encounter seven points clear of the bottom three, the hosts were unlucky not to extend their lead when first, substitute, Ajdin Hrustic saw his low drive clip the outside of Bertrams’ left hand upright with the visiting ‘keeper left rooted to the spot after the ball struck Pablo Mari on its way through with seventy seven minutes gone before Gamba Osaka loanee, Ritsu Doan was denied by the bar seven minutes from time.

Groningen’s failure to take those chances would ultimately prove crucial when the visitors, who had earlier come within a whisker of restoring parity themselves when Thomas Agyepong’s speculative effort from well outside the area clipped Sergio Padt’s crossbar a minute before the break, snatched a late share of the spoils when, having stolen a march on Yoell van Nieff to latch onto a perfectly weighted through-ball from second half replacement, Paolo Fernandes, recent arrival, Mitchell te Vrede, having seen his initial effort blocked, beat Padt at the second time of asking four minutes from time.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action got underway at the AFAS Stadion where high-flying AZ Alkmaar left it late to see off bottom-of-the-table Sparta Rotterdam.

Despite Alireza Jahanbakhsh seeing a 9th minute effort strike the foot of Jannik Huth’s right hand upright, it was the visitors who would ultimately break the deadlock when Julian Chabot rose highest to nod home a Ryan Sanusi corner ten minutes later.

However, the away side’s lead would only last until a minute before the break when, having drawn the attentions of Huth, Oussama Idrissi rounded off a fantastic team move by squaring the ball for skipper, Wout Weghorst to claim his nineteenth of the campaign in all competitions.

Having set up the equaliser, Idrissi would then cap an impressive personal display by escaping the attentions of both Bart Vriends and Sanusi with a deft step over before beating Huth with a low drive from just inside the area to secure all three points for the hosts four minutes from time.

Elsewhere, an error from Lucas Woudenberg led to Mike van Duinen putting away-day specialists, Excelsior into what would ultimately prove to be an unassailable lead ten minutes before the break in their encounter with Heerenveen to earn Mitchell van der Gaag’s troops back-to-back league victories for the first time since early November.

However, things might have been very different had Reza Ghoochannejhad’s 8th minute effort found the back of the net instead of striking Theo Zwarthoed’s right hand upright before the visiting ‘keeper was forced to palm a rasping Michel Vlap drive onto his other post shortly before the half hour mark.

At the same time, a 62nd minute effort from Vincent Vermeij ultimately proved enough to see hosts, Heracles get back to winning ways against out-of-form PEC Zwolle.

With the home side having come within a whisker of breaking the deadlock when first, Brandley Kuwas saw his 21st minute effort cannon back off Diederik Boer’s crossbar before Bram van Polen found himself in the right place at the right time to block a goal-bound effort from Vincent Vermeij seven minutes before the break seconds after Boer had been forced to palm a Kuwas corner onto his own bar, it came as little surprise when John Stegeman’s side finally took the lead when Kristoffer Peterson ghosted in at the back post to nod home a pinpoint cross from the impressive Kuwas in the 42nd minute.

However, despite Kuwas then striking the foot of Boer’s left hand upright direct from another corner seconds before the interval, the host’s lead would only last until five minutes into the second half when Younes Namli capped a swift counter attack by slipping in Piotr Parzyszek who restored parity for the visitors by squeezing the ball between an onrushing Bram Castro and the home ‘keeper’s left hand upright.

Yet the home side weren’t to be denied and, having seen Peterson stumble in an attempt to convert a low cross from Roland Baas on the edge of the box, the in-form Vermeij was quick to gobble up the loose ball and seal all three points for the hosts with his fourth goal in his last six outings.

The host’s margin of victory might have been even greater had the Manchester City-bound Phillippe Sandler not been on hand to slide the ball back into the grateful arms of Boer after the visiting ‘keeper’s initial block had only served to slow the progress of Kuwas’ goal-bound effort four minutes from time.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action was concluded at De Koel where visiting, Vitesse Arnhem came back from two-down to snatch a point from their encounter with VVV Venlo.

The points appeared to be going the host’s way early on when, with Torino Hunte having already put the home side into the ascendency with a well taken half volley with just ten minutes on the clock, Lennart Thy was on hand to double his side’s advantage with a speculative effort that took a wicked bounce which caught out Remko Pasveer in the visitor’s net twelve minutes later.

However, just when it appeared that the away side were heading for a second straight defeat, Henk Fraser’s men were handed a way back into the game when, in an attempt to clear his lines, the unlucky Nils Röseler only succeeded in diverting a low Thomas Bruns cross into his own net just five minutes later.

Buoyed by the German’s misfortune, the away side would emerge for the second half with an added spring in their step and ultimately secure a share of the spoils when Lars Unnerstall inexplicably allowed a Mason Mount free kick to slip through his fingers three minutes after the restart.

Sunday’s action began at the Johan Cruijff ArenA where Ajax’s title hopes were dealt a potentially fatal blow after Erik ten Hag’s men were held to a goalless draw by visiting ADO Den Haag.

Things might have been different for the hosts had makeshift striker, Siem de Jong found the back of the net instead of heading a Donny van de Beek cross against Robert Zwinkels’ right hand upright or the resultant rebound fallen to someone in an Ajax shirt instead of somewhat fortuitously hitting the visiting ‘keeper’s head as he lay on the line twenty minutes into the second half and Hakim Ziyech found the target instead of curling an 88th minute free kick onto the outside of the same post.

If they hadn’t already realised it beforehand, when David Neres saw his goal-bound effort cleared off the line by a covering Donny Gorter in the third minute of added time the hosts knew it wasn’t going to be their day.

Table-topping PSV Eindhoven took full advantage of Ajax’s failure to secure all three points by hitting reigning champions, Feyenoord for three at De Kuip to open up a seven-point lead at the top of the standings.

The visitors wasted little time in asserting their authority over a Feyenoord side who came into this encounter an incredible twenty points off the pace set by Phillip Cocu’s men at the top of the standings, taking the lead when an untracked Santiago Arias stooped low to glance a Steven Bergwijn cross past a static Brad Jones with twenty-three minutes on the clock.

The away side would double their advantage just twelve minutes later when Bart Nieuwkoop failed to cut out an incisive through-ball from Gaston Pereiro, allowing Bergwijn to streak clear and slip the ball past an exposed Jones.

With the chance of retaining their title now long gone, the hosts might have been forgiven for turning their attention to Wednesday night’s KNVB Beker semi-final tie with Willem II. However, when half time replacement, Jean-Paul Boëtius hit the by-line and cut the ball back for Tonny Vilhena to head the ball beyond a static Jeroen Zoet eight minutes into the second half, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men found themselves right back in the game.

Yet, any hopes the home side may have harboured of replicating their recent cup success over the men from Eindhoven were effectively ended just five minutes later when Pereiro found himself in the right place at the right time to restore the visitor’s two-goal cushion, the Uruguayan stabbing the ball into an unguarded net from the edge of the box after Jones had found Bergwijn’s initial effort too hot to handle.

Elsewhere, a 14th minute strike from AZ Alkmaar loanee, Ben Rienstra ultimately proved just enough to see Willem II move six points clear of the bottom three after edging out fellow strugglers, Roda JC at the Koning Willem II Stadion.

The twenty fifth round of action was concluded at the Stadion Galgenwaard where in-form FC Utrecht climbed into the top four by claiming a fourth-straight victory after coming from behind to hit struggling FC Twente for three.

Despite coming into this encounter four points from safety, it was the away side who struck first when Danny Holla sent Haris Vučkić clear to claim his fourth goal of the campaign in all competitions with just ten minutes on the clock.

The visitors might have doubled their advantage twelve minutes later but the Slovenian somehow contrived to send an Adam Maher cut-back sailing over the bar when presented with an open goal.

Despite the host’s slow start, normal service was resumed a minute into added time at the end of the first half when Sean Klaiber clawed the home side back on level terms by curling the ball delightfully into the top right hand corner of Joel Drommel’s net.

With Jean-Paul de Jong yet to taste defeat since taking up the reins from Erik ten Hag over the winter break and his side riding a three-game winning streak ahead of this encounter, it came as little surprise when the in-form hosts edged themselves ahead – a deft flick from Cyriel Dessers sending Sander van de Streek away to beat an onrushing Drommel and claim his third goal in his last two outings, twenty-two minutes into the second half.

Any hopes Gertjan Verbeek’s side, who face AZ Alkmaar on Wednesday evening for a place in the final of the KNVB Beker, may have harboured of taking anything from the game were effectively ended ten minutes later when van de Streek capped his second outstanding performance in as many weeks by playing a neat give and go with Yassin Ayoub which resulted in the Moroccan rifling home the host’s third from mid-way inside the visitor’s area.

Results: Week 25

FC Groningen 1-1 NAC Breda

AZ Alkmaar 2-1 Sparta Rotterdam

SC Heerenveen 0-1 Excelsior

Heracles Almelo 2-1 PEC Zwolle

VVV Venlo 2-2 Vitesse Arnhem

AFC Ajax 0-0 ADO Den Haag

Feyenoord 1-3 PSV Eindhoven

Willem II 1-0 Roda JC

FC Utrecht 3-1 FC Twente

 

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EREDIVISIE 2017/18 REPORT: Week Twenty-Four

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The twenty fourth round of Eredivisie action got underway on Friday evening at De Koel where visiting, FC Groningen came from behind to snatch a vital point from their clash with VVV Venlo to move seven points clear of the bottom three ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.

With a late push for a place in the end-of-season UEFA Europa League play-offs not completely out of the question, it took Vito van Crooij just two minutes to put the home side into the ascendency with a low drive from just inside the area after the 22-year-old had been found in acres of space by Lennart Thy.

However, the visitors, who announced earlier in the week that 35-year-old Danny Buijs would succeed the outgoing Ernest Faber at the helm next term, who arrived in Venlo without a win since the turn of the year and with just six points separating them from Roda JC in 16th would claw their way back onto level terms just thirteen minutes later when Gamba Osaka loanee, Ritsu Doan capped a marauding burst into the area by first, turning Nils Röseler inside out and then beating Lars Unnerstall with a low drive to ultimately secure a vital point in the away side’s quest to retain their top-flight status.

However, the hosts, for whom this point saw them close the gap between themselves and Vitesse Arnhem, who currently occupy the last of the UEFA Europa League play-off places, to six points, might have snatched the win late on had Röseler found the back of the net instead of heading a Clint Leemans corner against Sergio Padt’s crossbar fourteen minutes from time.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action began at the GelreDome where visiting, Excelsior came from behind to snatch all three points.

Having won three of their last four, it took hosts, Vitesse Arnhem just two minutes to break the deadlock when last week’s two-goal hero, Bryan Linssen headed an over-hit cross from Fankaty Dabo back for Luc Castaignos to claim just his third of the campaign in all competitions with a spectacular bicycle kick.

However, despite coming into this encounter without a win in their last four outings, the away side would claw their way back onto level terms just short of the interval when Hicham Faik beat Remko Pasveer with a speculative effort from well outside the area and things would get even better for Mitchell van der Gaag’s side in the 66th minute when, with a marauding run from Stanley Elbers having left the home rear guard at sixes and sevens, an attempted clearance from Lassana Faye struck Mike van Duinen and ended up in the back of the host’s unguarded net to edge the visitors into what would ultimately prove to be an unassailable lead.

Elsewhere, high-flying AZ Alkmaar got back to winning ways by hitting a resurgent NAC Breda for three at the Rat Verlegh Stadion.

Despite drawing a blank in Venlo last time out, the away side would break the deadlock shortly after the half hour mark when Wout Weghorst laid the ball off for Alireza Jahanbakhsh to rifle his twelfth of the campaign into the roof of Nigel Bertrams’ net from just inside the area.

John van den Brom’s men might have doubled their advantage just three minutes after taking the lead but, have been picked out by a pinpoint cut-back from a marauding Jonas Svensson, Guus Til saw his fierce drive from just outside the box come back off Bertrams’ crossbar.

The visitors would effectively wrap up the points with two goals in the space of five minutes early in the second half when, with Oussama Idrissi having teed up Til to double the away side’s advantage with a speculative effort from well outside the area that took a wicked deflection off Manchester City loanee, Angelino two minutes after the restart, the 21-year-old would then square the ball for Mats Seuntjens to claim AZ’s third of the evening in the 52nd minute with deceptive drive from range that left the home ‘keeper red faced.

Having announced his arrival by posting a goal and an assist in the host’s six-goal thrashing of Heracles, Roma loanee, Umar Sadiq would again provide some welcome punch from the bench when the Nigerian reduced the arrears five minutes from time by stabbing the ball home from close range after Marco Bizot had failed to hold on to his initial header before coming within a whisker of bagging a second when his curling effort was denied by the visiting ‘keeper’s crossbar in the third minute of added time.

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It was a game of two halves in Eindhoven where, despite the hosts racing into a two-goal lead, the 45th minute dismissal of Hirving Lozano opened the door for visiting, Heerenveen to snatch an unlikely point against table-topping PSV.

With just one defeat in their last ten outings in all competitions, when first, Santiago Arias nodded home a Hirving Lozano corner to open the scoring for the hosts in the 34th minute before Mauro Junior capitalised on some loose play from Kik Pierie by dispossessing the17-year-old just outside the visitor’s area and slipping in Luuk de Jong to double the home side’s advantage just nine minutes later, another three points appeared to be in the bag for Phillip Cocu’s side.

However, when Lozano, who had been given his marching orders in the reverse fixture between the sides in early September in which Jurgen Streppel’s men had inflicted a first league defeat on the men from Eindhoven, was shown a straight red card by referee, Dennis Higler after the Mexican appeared to strike Lucas Woudenberg in the face as the two battled for the ball on the stroke of half time, what seemed a routine victory ultimately proved to be anything but for the Eredivisie pacesetters.

Despite taking just one point from the last six available, the visitors would make their numerical advantage count to claw their way back into the game eleven minutes after the restart when an unmarked Stijn Schaars ghosted in to side-foot home an Arber Zeneli corner from just inside the area before Reza Ghoochannejhad found himself in the right place at the right time to snatch an unlikely point for the away side eight minutes from time when the Iranian international capitalised on the chaos caused by Morten Thorsby’s initial attempt to stab the ball into an unguarded net at the second time of asking after his initial flick-on had been met with a weak punch from Jeroen Zoet.

Despite being a man down, the hosts might have grabbed all three points late on but Martin Hansen got down smartly to toe a de Jong header onto the inside of his right hand upright six minutes from time to preserve a hard-earned point for the visitors.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action was concluded in The Hague where a 92nd minute spot kick from Abdenasser El Khayati sealed a come-from-behind victory for hosts, ADO Den Haag over struggling, Willem II.

Despite posting just one league victory from their last nine outings and having a covering Darryl Lachman to thank when the 28-year-old was in the right place at the right time to block a goal-bound effort from Lex Immers, after the former Feyenoord man had weaved his way through a number of would-be challengers and taken the ball around an exposed Mattijs Branderhorst with twenty two minutes on the clock at the Cars Jeans Stadion, it was the visitors who were the first to strike when ADO loanee, Thomas Meißner came back to haunt his parent club by cutting the ball back for Fran Sol to put Erwin van de Looi’s side ahead five minutes before the break.

However, having seen play-off rivals, Vitesse slip up earlier in the evening, the hosts weren’t about to pass up the opportunity to close the gap between themselves and Henk Fraser’s side and despite Bjørn Johnsen seeing a 56th minute header come back off the foot of Branderhorst’s right hand upright, would find themselves back on level terms in the 69th minute when the Norwegian forward nodded home a pinpoint cross from Abdenasser El Khayati to claim his seventh of the campaign in all competitions.

Then, with the game seemingly destined to end all square, Konstantinos Tsimikas pulled Immers to the ground inside the area as the 31-year-old attempted to get on the end of a Johnsen flick-on in the first minute of added time, leaving referee, Joey Kooij little choice but to award the hosts a penalty which El Khayati duly converted to edge Alfons Groenendijk’s men to within two points of the UEFA Europa League play-off places.

Sunday’s action began in Kerkrade where FC Utrecht temporarily edged their way into fourth after hitting struggling Roda JC for four at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion.

With the visitors yet to taste defeat under Jean-Paul de Jong, it didn’t take long for the away side to assert their authority over their relegation-threatened hosts and, buoyed by posting back-to-back home victories ahead of making the trip to Kerkrade, when Mateusz Klich chipped the ball through for Sander van de Streek to open the scoring with a delightful lob just short of the quarter hour mark, Utrecht didn’t look back.

The away side would double their lead twelve minutes into the second half when Mark van der Maarel found himself in the right place at the right time to smash home the rebound after Hidde Jurjus had done well to deny Zakaria Labyad’s initial effort with his outstretched left foot before an untracked van de Streek swept home a Klich cross to bag his second and the visitor’s third just six minutes later.

Despite second half substitute, Jorn Vancamp weighing in with his fourth goal in his last six outings in all competitions seven minutes from time it was the visitors who would have the last word when another substitute, Cyriel Dessers, found an unmarked Labyad, who, having been afforded an abundance of time and space inside the home side’s area, beat an exposed Jurjus to claim his thirteenth of the campaign in all competitions.

However, despite Utrecht posting a third win in as many games, it was reigning champions, Feyenoord who would end the weekend in fourth place after a 59th minute strike from Robin van Persie edged Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s under-performing charges to victory over a dogged Heracles.

Despite the end result, a shock could well have been on the cards at De Kuip had the agility of Brad Jones not come to the host’s rescue ten minutes into the second half when the 34-year-old tipped a Kristoffer Peterson drive onto his own crossbar before getting up smartly to deny Brandley Kuwas as the 25-year-old looked set to put away the rebound.

With the shock defeat at the hands of VVV and last weekend’s capitulation at the hands of Vitesse still fresh in the minds of the Feyenoord faithful, the discontent continued to build until just short of the hour when Tonny Vilhena squared the ball for Robin van Persie to cap his first start since making his return to Rotterdam by curling home his second goal of his second spell with the club to secure a much needed three points for the hosts and alleviate the previously mounting pressure on van Bronckhorst.

At the same time a scrambled effort from Haris Vučkić five minutes from time denied rock-bottom, Sparta Rotterdam all three points in their clash with relegation rivals, FC Twente.

With the two sides separated by just two points ahead of this encounter, it looked as though the Dick Advocaat’s men were set to move off the foot of the standings at the expense of their hosts when, having come on as a half time replacement, debutant, Michiel Kramer chipped the ball through for Fred Friday to open the scoring in the 62nd minute.

Yet the away side would ultimately end the weekend where they had begun it – propping up the rest, when Haris Vučkić forced a knock-down from Hidde ter Avest past an exposed Jannik Huth from close range to snatch the hosts a share of the spoils, seconds after an Adam Maher corner had sent alarm bells ringing in the Sparta box, five minutes from time.

Advocaat’s men might even have left empty handed had second half substitute, Danny Holla’s 94th minute effort found the back of the net instead of cannoning back off a static Huth’s crossbar.

Image result for PEC Zwolle 0-1 AFC Ajax

The twenty fourth round of Eredivisie action was concluded at the MAC3PARK Stadion where title-chasing Ajax took full advantage of table-topping PSV’s slip-up against Heerenveen on Saturday evening by coming away from their encounter with PEC Zwolle with a fourth successive victory to move within five points of Phillip Cocu’s side.

Following a goalless opening period in which they enjoyed the majority of the chances, the visitors emerged for the second half with an added spring in their step and, just five minutes after Donny van de Beek had seen a 49th minute effort come back off the foot of Diederik Boer’s left hand upright and David Neres had somehow contrived to put the rebound over the bar when presented with an open goal seconds later, the away side would break the deadlock when Ajax’s Brazilian starlet made amends for his earlier miss by slipping in Klaas-Jan Huntelaar for his tenth of the campaign.

The visitor’s margin of victory could have been even greater had a speculative effort from well outside the area by Justin Kluivert found the back of the net instead of cannoning off Boer’s crossbar on the hour and it was a similar story three minutes later when the 18-year-old’s miss-hit cross very nearly left the former Ajax ‘keeper red in the face.

Results: Week 24

VVV Venlo 1-1 FC Groningen

Vitesse Arnhem 1-2 Excelsior

NAC Breda 1-3 AZ Alkmaar

PSV Eindhoven 2-2 SC Heerenveen

ADO Den Haag 2-1 Willem II

Roda JC 1-4 FC Utrecht

Feyenoord 1-0 Heracles Almelo

FC Twente 1-1 Sparta Rotterdam

PEC Zwolle 0-1 AFC Ajax

 

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EREDIVISIE 2017/18 REPORT: Week Twenty-Three

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With the midweek round of fixtures having only concluded on Thursday evening, the twenty third round of action in the Dutch top flight got underway with five games on Saturday evening, the first of which saw Heracles, fresh from being hit for six by NAC Breda, get back to winning ways by edging out visiting, Willem II thanks to some quick thinking from ‘keeper, Bram Castro, whose throw set Brandley Kuwas away to slip in Vincent Vermeij for the 23–year-old to claim his third goal in his last four outings on the stroke of half time.

At the same time, two goals in the space of five first half minutes ultimately proved enough to see FC Utrecht post back-to-back victories for the first time under the stewardship of Jean-Paul de Jong.

It took the home side just seventeen minutes to break the deadlock when, having stolen a march on Philippe Sandler and drawn the attentions of an onrushing Diederik Boer, Sander van de Streek would square the ball for an unmarked Gyrano Kerk to roll his sixth of the campaign in all competitions into an unguarded net.

The hosts would double their advantage just five minutes later when Zakaria Labyad found himself in the right place at the right time to squeeze the ball home after Sandler’s attempted block of a Mark van der Maarel effort cannoned off Boer and into the 24-year-old’s path.

Despite ending a run of three successive defeats by securing victory over Heerenveen last time out, PEC Zwolle failed to build on Tuesday’s win despite being handed a late route back into the game when, having seen second half substitute, Queensy Menig go tumbling in the area following a clumsy challenge from Ramon Leeuwin, Mustafa Saymak stepped up to smash home the resultant spot kick in the second minute of added time.

Elsewhere a double from Steven Bergwijn saw PSV Eindhoven come from behind to take all three points against rock-bottom Sparta Rotterdam and move ten points clear at the top of the standings ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.

Despite only winning one of their last twelve, a shock appeared to be on the cards when Kenneth Dougall nodded home a Paco van Moorsel cross to open the scoring for the hosts after the visitors could only partially clear their lines following a corner from the right with just six minutes on the clock.

However, normal service was resumed four minutes before the break when the persistence of Mauro Junior saw the ball land at the feet of Steven Bergwijn who restored parity for the Eredivisie pacesetters by curling the ball beyond the reach of Jannik Huth from just outside the area before the 20-year-old completed the turnaround eleven minutes into the second half by smashing a perfectly weighted knock down from Luuk de Jong beyond the reach of the home ‘keeper from just outside the area.

However, a hat trick would elude the young forward late on when his shot came back off Huth’s crossbar in the third minute of added time.

Having watched Dick Advocaat’s side fail to take anything earlier in the evening, fellow strugglers, Roda JC looked to have taken full advantage when, having capped a strong run by playing a neat give and go with the in-form Jorn Vancamp, Maecky Ngombo nodded home his first of the season to put Robert Molenaar’s side into the driving seat ten minutes before the break against Heerenveen.

The hosts might have gotten back on level terms just five minutes after falling behind but Stijn Schaars saw his rasping free kick come back off Hidde Jurjus’ crossbar.

However, the visitors would ultimately have to settle for a point when a lovely back heel from substitute, Henk Veerman allowed Arber Zeneli to cap off a move he had earlier set in motion and restore parity for the hosts by weaving his way through the last of the visitor’s back line sixteen minutes from time.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action was concluded with VVV Venlo holding high-flying, AZ Alkmaar to a goalless draw at the AFAS Stadion.

Sunday’s Eredivisie action got underway at the Johan Cruijff ArenA where a Lasse Schone spot kick nineteen minutes from time ultimately proved the difference between title-chasing Ajax and struggling FC Twente.

Despite getting off to the perfect start when, having set David Neres away down the left, Justin Kluivert was on hand to finish the move he started when Donny van de Beek turned the Brazilian’s deep cross back into the path of the 18-year-old with just three minutes on the clock, the hosts would fail to build on their early supremacy and find themselves pegged back in the 66th minute when, having misjudged a long clearance from Joel Drommel, Joel Veltman allowed Tom Boere to steal a march before turning the ball inside for Adnane Tighadouini to restore parity for Gertjan Verbeek’s struggling side who had found themselves second off bottom prior to kick off.

However, the hosts would be handed the opportunity to restore their lead just five minutes later when a clumsy challenge from Peet Bijen sent Hakim Ziyech tumbling just inside the area, leaving referee, Serdar Gözübüyük with little choice but to award the home side a penalty.

It was left to Lasse Schone to convert the resultant spot kick by sending Drommel, the hero of the penalty shoot-out that decided December’s KNVB Beker tie between the sides, the wrong way to leave Ajax seven points adrift of table-topping PSV and Twente four points from safety.

Despite drawing a blank after hitting Heracles for six on Wednesday evening, NAC Breda were more than happy to take a point from their goalless encounter with Excelsior at the Van Donge & De Roo Stadion which saw Stijn Vreven’s side move three points clear of the bottom three.

Things might have been different for the hosts had a rasping drive from Hicham Faik found the back of the net instead of clipping the outside of the returning Nigel Bertrams’ left hand upright with just seven minutes on the clock and, what looked to be a fine headed finish from Mike van Duinen two minutes into the second half, not been chalked off by referee, Danny Makkelie after his assistant adjudged Stanley Elbers’ cross to have gone out of play before finding the head of the 26-year-old.

Image result for Vitesse Arnhem 3-1 Feyenoord

While there mightn’t have been much to write home about in Rotterdam, the same could not be said for events at the GelreDome where Vitesse Arnhem came from a goal down to hit nine-man Feyenoord for three.

Having put last Sunday’s defeat at the hands of VVV behind them by hitting Groningen for three on Thursday evening, reigning Eredivisie champions Feyenoord appeared to be on track to record back-to-back league victories for the first time since the turn of the year when Tonny Vilhena put the visitors ahead in the 21st minute with his third goal in his last five games in all competitions after Bilal Başaçıkoğlu flicked a Steven Berghuis cross into the path of the unmarked 23-year-old.

However, having seen their lead threatened when Mat Miazga saw his looping header strike the top of Brad Jones’ crossbar shortly before the half hour mark, the away side would see their advantage wiped out two minutes before the break when another man on loan from Chelsea, Mason Mount picked out the head of Guram Kashia, who duly claimed his third of the campaign by forcing the ball past Jones from a few yards out.

With the game in the balance, a rash lunge from Başaçıkoğlu saw the balance of power shift in favour of the home side as, just seconds after referee, Dennis Higler had given the 22-year-old a straight red card for his challenge on Thulani Serero, a quickly taken free kick found its way to new signing, Roy Beerens whose wayward effort unwittingly picked out the head of an untracked Bryan Linssen to put the hosts into a 66th minute lead.

With the visitors lucky not to find themselves further behind sixteen minutes from time when Linssen turned Mount’s driven corner onto the top of Jones’ crossbar, any hopes Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side may have harboured of taking anything from the game were effectively ended nine minutes from time when first half replacement, Tyrell Malacia was also shown a straight red after bringing down a breaking Beerens.

Again, the hosts would waste little time in making their numerical advantage count when Linssen claimed his second of the night and three vital points in the home side’s quest to secure a place in the UEFA Europa League play-off places by nodding home a Beerens cross just five minutes later.

That victory over the reigning champions proved especially important for Henk Fraser’s side after fellow European hopefuls, ADO Den Haag were held goalless in Groningen in a match which rounded out the twenty third round of action in the Dutch top flight and left the men from The Hague five points adrift of seventh place, Vitesse, who occupy the final play-off place.

In a match that swung from end to end with alarming regularity throughout, it was the visitors who were the first to threaten when Bjørn Johnsen was denied on the line by a covering Deyovaisio Zeefuik with just two minutes on the clock at the Noordlease Stadion before having a last-ditch block from Abdenasser El Khayati to thank for keeping them on level terms shortly before the quarter hour mark when the 29-year-old was on hand to clear Tom van de Looi’s goal-bound header off the line.

However, Alfons Groenendijk’s side might have snatched all three points had Danny Bakker’s header found the back of Sergio Padt’s net instead of clipping the home ‘keeper’s crossbar two minutes before the break.

Results: Week 23

Heracles 1-0 Willem II

FC Utrecht 2-1 PEC Zwolle

Sparta Rotterdam 1-2 PSV Eindhoven

SC Heerenveen 1-1 Roda JC

AZ Alkmaar 0-0 VVV Venlo

AFC Ajax 2-1 FC Twente

Excelsior 0-0 NAC Breda

Vitesse Arnhem 3-1 Feyenoord

FC Groningen 0-0 ADO Den Haag

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