Feyenoord finished the season in third just place missing a Champions League spot because of PSV’s majorly superior goal difference. They will enter the Europa League in August, but they did not get all their own way at home to NAC Breda.
The hosts were struggling to create any real good chances in a difficult first half but found a breakthrough just before the hour, although the goal scored by Graziano Pellè was debatable.
The Italian forward rose to head the ball towards the goal from a corner, this was cleared off the line by Breda’s Tim Gilissen. His header crashed off the cross bar and off the line but the linesman awarded the goal much to the protests of the NAC’s players.
FC Groningen 0
Ajax 2 (Sigthórsson 8, Hoeson 72)
Champions Ajax travelled to Groningen looking for another three points to take their tally higher, as the home side were wishing to cement a Europa League playoff spot. Groningen did gain their playoff place but were still defeated 2-0 by Frank de Boer’s men. The hosts did trouble Ajax in parts but hot-shot Icelandic international striker Kolbeinn Sigthórsson scored an early goal after a lovely through ball from left-back Danny Blind, whom the striker finished coolly past Marco Bizot.
The win was confirmed and Ajax ended their season on a high when young substitutes Stefano Denswil and Danny Hoeson combined and the latter hit a beautiful right foot smashed in his fifth goal of the season.
Robert Maaskant’s Groningen play host to FC Twente on Thursday night in the first leg of the Europa League playoffs.
NEC Nijmegen 1 (Conboy 90)
RKC Waalwijk 2 (Anderson 7, Jozefzoon 60)
RKC took the lead with the debutant attacking midfielder Kenny Anderson after 7 minutes after some great determined work from Florian Jozefzoon. In the second half, on 50 minutes Hungarian goalkeeper Gabor Babos, moving to NAC Breda on July 1st, was substitute and received a standing ovation from the Nijmegen support.
On the hour, the away side doubled their lead. A counter attack lead by a big kick from on-loan goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet put Jozefzoon through who slotted home past Swedish goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson.
NEC gained a consolation goal on full-time from Kevin Conboy. Both teams finished safe on 37 points, just four points above the relegation trouble.
Roda JC 1 (Németh 31)
Former Liverpool youth striker Krisztián Németh grabbed the only goal of the game as Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen lost their third game on the bounce.
The in-form Yassine El Ghanassy, on loan from West Bromwich Albion, went close a few times but failed to gain a goal for the vistors. Roda JC took the lead after Hungarian striker Németh found the net following a goal mouth scramble on 31 minutes,
Heerenveen finish in eighth and begin the Europa League playoffs on Thursday night facing FC Utrecht at the Abe Lenstra Stadion.
Roda are in relegation trouble and start their relegation playoff campaign away to De Graafschap on Thursday also.
FC Twente 3 (Castaignos 3, Chadli 27, Janssen 54)
PSV Eindhoven 1 (Mertens 40P)
PSV ended an horrible week and the reign under Dick Advocaat with a 3-1 defeat away to Europa League playoff qualifiers FC Twente.
PSV were down in under 3 minutes with an excellent solo effort bu Luc Castaignos. In the 27th minute, goalkeeper Boy Waterman’s poor clearance put the Eindhoven side under pressure and Nader Chadli finished with ease to double the advantage.
Before the half-time break, A striker challenge by Castaignos on midfielder Atiba Hutchinson gave PSV a penalty which Dries Mertens landed no problem.
The game was killed off on 54 minutes by a Willem Janssen goal after some great work down the left from Chadli.
Mark van Bommel, who announced his retirement after the match and looks to take up a coaching role at the Eindhoven club, was sent off in a fitting tribute on 71 minutes. He received a double booking for two awful challenges, the second an awful stamping challenge on Dusan Tadic.
FC Utrecht 3 (van der Gun 54, Mulenga 71P, Toornstra 74)
Fifth placed Utrecht defeated mid-table Heracles Almelo by a dominating three goals on their final week of the season, with all goals coming in the second half.
Cedric van der Gun, Jacob Mulenga and Jens Toornstra grabbed the goals as Utrecht head into the European playoffs this week.
Vitesse Arnhem 0
VVV Venlo 1 (Linssen 27)
VVV Venlo brought a final day surprise with a hard fought 1-0 win away to fourth-place Vitesse Arnhem. Bryan Linssen gives VVV the surprise lead with some great determination shown by the winger and a good finish.
VVV face Go Ahead Eagles in a two-legged relegation playoff beginning on Thursday in Deventer.
Willem II 2 (Misidjan 47, Wijnaldum 65og)
AZ Alkmaar 0
In another surprise win, already relegated Willem II grabbed a 2-0 home win against KNVB Beker winners AZ Alkmaar.
Both teams created opportunities but neither could find the net until the early stages of the second half when young winger Virgil Misidjan grabbing his eighth goal of the season. The Tilburgers were handed the win when AZ’s left-back Giliano Wijnaldum headed into his own net past Costa Rican goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado.
AZ will enter the Europa League next year due to their KNVB Beker win last Thursday against PSV as Willem II will begin their quest to regain an Eredivisie position in the Eereste Divisie in August.
Finally, a six goal thriller in Zwolle gave PEC a 4-2 victory over the ten-men of ADO Den Haag. Due to Heerenveen’s defeat ADO could have leapfrogged themselves into a European playoff spot but failed to do so.
The in-form Fred Benson grabbed another two goals adding to Mustafa Saymak and Youness Mokhtar’s goals. Santi Kolk and Rydell Poepon replied for Den Haag.
PEC Zwolle finish a respectable 11th in their first season back in the top flight as ADO finish ninth.
It took Go Ahead Eagles 76 minutes to break the deadlock in their second leg against FC Dordrecht on Saturday evening. They ran out 3-0 winners and play VVV Venlo on Thursday in the next round of the promotion/relegation playoffs.
A Cas Peters strike and two goals from Quincy Promes decided the match and tie for Deventer side, both players are on-loan from FC Twente.
Fortuna Sittard 1 (Khalouta 76)
De Graafschap 3 (van der Meulen 52, Parzyszek 63, Jansen 85)
De Graafschap wins 5-2 on agg
A torrential rain filled night in Sittard finished Fortuna’s hopes of reaching the top flight for the first time since 2002. De Graafschap now need to get past Roda JC in the two-legged affair beginning on Thursday as they attempt to go back to the Eredivisie at the first time of asking.
Fortuna were without coach Wil Boessen who was serving a suspension after being sent to the stands in the last game.
The first goal came after half-time from a corner and big defender Timothy van der Meulen outmuscled his marker and powered a header home.
The tie was killed off just past the hour after some great work from Adil Auassar ended with a great cross to big Polish target man Piotr Parzyszek to head home for 2-0.
Aziz Khalouta gave Fortuna a bit of hope in the 75th minute pouncing a long ball and finishing past Joost Terol in goal.
The final nail in Fortuna’s coffin was a fortunate goal from Anco Jansen with only five minutes remaining. A cross-cum-shot that floated over the head of goalkeeper Ferhat Kaya in goal to cement the 3-1 victory and the second round place.
Voetbal International state that Phillip Cocu will sign a four-year contract early next week to become the new head coach of PSV.
Cocu, currently coach of the PSV A1 youth team replaces Dick Advocaat in the manager’s hotseat after just one season.
Former FC Eindhoven coach Ernest Faber and Chris van der Weerden be his assistants and the trio will be presented on Monday or Tuesday in a press conference.
Advocaat, had already decided in December already that he did not wish to stay beyond this season: “I think it’s too much at the moment. As I feel now, I will not go to another club to manage.”
“We all know what the problem is with PSV,” said Advocaat after the 2-1 defeat to AZ in the KNVB Beker final on Ascension Day. “There will be a number of players leave and therefore this makes money available to strengthen the squad. I think Cocu, Faber and Van der Weerden know what they want for next season.”
Defensive midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo has signed a three-year deal with PEC Zwolle on a free transfer from Feyenoord. He is the first summer acquisition for Zwolle and the transfer will be made official on July 1st when the European Transfer Window opens.
The 22-year-old South African previously played for SuperSport United in his homeland before moving to the Netherlands in 2008 where he signed with Feyenoord, who subsquently loaned him to feeder club Excelsior.
Mokotjo states he is delighted with his move to Zwolle. “I was ready for a new challenge and I am happy with this opportunity.
“A few weeks ago the club showed some interest in me and after an initial discussion with Zwolle coach Ron Jans and technical director Gerard Nijkamp, I was positive that something good would happen.
“This season Zwolle have done well in all competitions. They also have a great stadium, a good vibe and big crowds that I can’t wait to play in front of,” he tells PECZwolle.nl
Nijkamp says he is pleased with their acquisition. “For PEC Zwolle, Kamohelo Mokotjo is a real asset. He is the type of player that we do not have. He creates the perfect balance in midfield and creates space. We are very happy that it has worked out as we have wanted this player for a long time,” he adds.
Go Ahead Eagles 3 (Heerkens 25, Türüç 45+2, Houtkoop 56)
Dordrecht and Go Ahead Eagles shared six goals on Wednesday night in a lively game with some great goals.
Lars Veldwijk grabbed two goals for the hosts and the first came after 21 minutes. The energetic Jeffrey Rijsdijk provided the assist. Four minutes later and the visitors were level, Freek Heerkens scoring on 25 minutes.
Go Ahead found themselves a goal down again in the 40th minute and this time a man down. Bart Vriends conceded a penalty whom Veldwijk smashed down the middle for his second of the game, the defender was given his marching orders from referee Richard Liesveld.
But again, Dordrecht were not ahead for long. Two minutes into first-half injury time, Turkish Under-19 international Deniz Türüç curled a free-kick perfectly past a stranded Warner Hahn in the home goal.
Dordrecht showed aggression in the second half as they searched for a third goal but a blunder from Hahn let Go Ahead take the lead against the run of play. Failing to collect the ball on the edge of the box, Hahn lost out to Türüç. The young Turk was smart and instead of shooting, crossed the ball towards the back post. He had spotted the arriving Xander Houtkoop and the winger placed his head onto the ball into the empty net.
It took the home side until ten minutes from time to find an equaliser, and it came from Cape Verde international defender Josimar Lima. A floating free-kick sent into the penalty area by Rijsdijk, and Lima rose above everyone to head into the corner of the net to clinch the draw.
The winner over two legs faces VVV Venlo in the second round.
De Graafschap 2 (Parzyszek 45, 70)
Fortuna Sittard 1 (Vets 80)
Two headed goals from soaring Polish striker Piotr Parzyszek provides De Graafschap a great chance of meeting Roda JC in the second round of the playoffs, despite a 80th minute consolation goal from Fortuna’s Niels Vets.
Target man Parzysek, 6ft 3inches, got on the end of a pair Tim Vincken’s crosses for Peter Huistra’s men but Belgian defender Vets gave Fortuna Sittard a salvation in this two-legged affair.
Yesterday, Siem de Jong won the third consecutive champion with Ajax but the question is whether the club captain will be in Amsterdam next season when Frank de Boer’s side attempt to win the fourth title in a row.
“I decide this summer exactly what I’ll do next,” said De Jong speaking to Eredivisie Live on Sunday afternoon after the win against Willem II. “If a club attracts me and I will leave here with a very good feeling about it.”
For now, no club has contacted Ajax in regards to a transfer for the midfielder, but it is known that he hopes to make the step into a different league with a new challenge. The three-time title winner spoke earlier in the season with a preference of a move to a Germany. However, he states he will not just say ‘yes’ to any offer from the Bundesliga.
“The Bundesliga really appeals to me, but it depends mainly on what club is coming for me. I will choose a club what is right for me, rather than the competition but first let’s see if there is a club interested in me.”
As expected, Ajax Amsterdam won their 32nd Eredivisie title, and third in a row today as they put five past Willem II, which condemned the Tilburg club to the Jupiler League next season.
For the third season in a row, Ajax Amsterdam are the Eredivisie champions.
Manager Frank de Boer stated to Eredivisie Live after today’s game: “We have been the most consistent. This year, we were able to finish our games in the first half of the season and then we have had a nice 5-0 championship winning game today. You should reward yourself and the public like we did today. With maybe a little luck, we feel we could have won by a bigger margin but nevertheless, we are proud of this title.”
“Were we the rightful champions? Yes, I think so. We have been the most consistent and I think we have played the best football.” he added. De Boer now joins Ronald Koeman as only men to have won at least three league titles in the Netherlands as player and a coach. In another interesting record, De Boer joins former Barcelona team-mate Pep Guardiola as a player and coach to three-peat with the same club.
An amazing 38 goals were scored on the penultimate round of fixtures of the Eredivisie season, full report tonight!
Ajax 5 (Sigthórsson 12, Eriksen 25, Fischer 68, de Jong 82, Hoesen 89)
Willem II 0
The champions went out and got the job done in style with a 5-0 demolition of Willem II Tilburg which sent the visitors back down into the Jupiler League. The party got underway after just 12 minutes when Kolbeinn Sigthórsson delivered a well-executed diving header following a great cross from Ryan Babel. The lead was extended thanks to an error from Tilburg keeper David Meul, who let a long drive from Christian Eriksen slip through his hands after 25 minutes.
After Danish 18-year-old winger Viktor Fischer had added a third, the fans in the F-Side of the Arena unveiled the flag in the picture above and started the celebrations. Within ten minutes to Siem de Jong added a fourth before substitute Danny Hoesen got in on the act minutes later.
After a third straight title, the Amsterdammers will now want to focus on competing in the UEFA Champions League, but fear they could lose players like Fischer, De Jong, Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld to foreign clubs.
“This feels great but it would be perfect if this team sticks together for another year so we can try to survive the Champions League group stage,” said left back Daley Blind, who signed a new three-year contract last month.
On the other end of the spectrum, Willem II now face at least another season in the Eerste Divisie, and will hope to hang onto young stars like Genaro Snijders, Virgil Misidjan and Niek Vossebelt to try and come back up to the top level as soon as possible.
ADO Den Haag 2 (van Duinen 10, Holla 37P)
It was a bad day all around for Ronald Koeman’s Feyenoord as they day ended with top scorer Graziano Pelle missing a last minute penalty, as well as losing defender Stefan de Vrij with a broken nose, which could have been his last game for the club.
Den Haag prodigy Mike van Duinen continued his great goal scoring form putting ADO ahead after 10 minutes of play. Feyenoord failed to get a grip on the match and after 37 minutes they found themselves 2-0 down. Danny Holla placed home a spot-kick awarded to the hosts after Daryl Janmaat fouled Tjaronn Chery in the area.
Feyenoord will play in the Europa League next year after PSV’s victory today made them out of reach in the last round of fixtures due to the Eindhoven club’s superior goal difference.
PSV Eindhoven will join the UEFA Champions League qualifying campaign in the summer after clinching second place in the standings but it was not all plain sailing in their 4-2 victory over NEC Nijmegen on Sunday afternoon.
PSV gained a stroke of luck to get the day going in the right direction after Daan Bovenberg’s own goal gave the hosts a 1-0 lead after 9 minutes. A long throw was zipped in from the left and the NEC defender flicked it over goalkeeper Gabor Babos’ head, much to the Hungarian’s displeasure. It was 2-0 before half-time with a superb goal from Swedish striker Ola Toivonen which was PSV’s 100th goal of the season.
PSV’s jubilation then turned to panic in the second half, when the visitors grabbed two goals back and levelled the game. Nick van der Velden and Frenchman Remy Amieux, both notched after fumblings in the Eindhoven defence, and the Phillips Stadion spectators were not happy.
Up stepped Jermain Lens just two minutes after Amieux’s goal to regain the lead and send the crowd in raptures. A powerful driving free-kick from Mark van Bommel was plamed away by Babos and the return came in from young left-back Jetro Willems but again the goalkeeper could not hold. Lens anticipated this and pounced on the scraps to put PSV 3-2 ahead. Young substitute striker Jurgen Locadia put the final nail in NEC’s coffin five minutes into injury time after a scrappy ending to the match.
After the game head coach, Dick Advocaat confirmed that he will leave at the end of the season, his replacement is rumoured to be former club favourite Philip Cocu.
RKC Waalwijk 3 (Braber 3, Lieder 40, Duits 69P)
Vitesse Arnhem 2 (van der Heijden 47, Havenaar 68)
Vitesse crashed to a 3-2 away defeat to ten-man RKC Waalwijk which has pulled the hosts of relegation trouble. The visitors were shocked after just three minutes when they fell behind to Robert Braber goal after some terrible defending from Guram Kashia.
It did not look to be RKC’s day after 28 minutes when forward Nourdin Boukhari stupidly was shown two yellow cards for arguing with the officials. After a terrible miss from Vitesse’s Mike Havenaar just before the break, the home side found themselves two goals in-front. Mart Lieder showing Havenaar how to head a ball straight from a corner after the Arnhem striker had hit the post from five yards out moments earlier.
It looked like Fred Rutten had whipped his boys into shape at half-time as Jan-Arie van der Heijden slid home Wilfried Bony’s header to grab a goal back just two minutes into the second half. The forward line of Marco van Ginkel, Bony and Havenaar were looking bright and got on level terms on 68 minutes. Again, Bony with the assisting header onto Havenaar to finish.
Everyone watching would not have predicted what happened next, as Vitesse had the momentatum, RKC got the ball from the kick-off and attacked again. Florian Jozefzoon ran at the poor Kashia and the defender brought the attacker down to give RKC a spot kick. Sander Duits hit the penalty home and Fred Rutten substituted Kashia minutes later.
The game petered out and RKC are safe from the relegation playoffs as Vitesse will start next season playing UEFA Europa League football.
AZ warmed up for Thursday, KNVB Beker final against PSV in style with a 4-0 home win over PEC Zwolle.
Alkmaar started well and took the lead on 20 minutes, when Adam Maher whipped in a corner was headed home by Swedish midfielder Viktor Elm. It was 2-0 in the 39th minute with a Roy Beerens close range volley giving goalkeeper Diederik Boer no chance.
AZ continued to press after the break and added a third just past the hour with substitute Aron Johannsson netting and Adam Maher grabbed the final goal 77 minutes with Elm crossing to repay Maher for his earlier assist.
Despite the defeat, Zwolle will be happy with the season so far, sitting in 14th and they have survived their first year back in the Eredivisie. AZ now sit in the tenth and will hope that Heerenveen are defeated next weekend away to Roda, so they can qualify for the European playoffs. Alkmaar will need a win when they play away to relegated Willem II.
VVV Venlo 0
FC Groningen 0
A scoreless and toothless draw in Venlo as VVV enter the relegation playoffs with FC Groningen qualifying for the Europe League playoffs later this month. The Limburgers enter the relegation survival playoffs for the third season in a row as Groningen seemed to be already on their post season holidays.
Heerenveen 2 (El Ghanassy 30, 80)
FC Utrecht 4 (Toornstra 34, Mulenga 61, Wuytens 67, van der Hoorn 86)
Utrecht defeated Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen side 4-2 to leave the visitors lingering in the uncertainty of reaching the UEFA Europa League next season. A win or a draw today would have confirmed the playoff place for the home side not even two goals from Yassine El Ghanassy could lead to the win they so desperately needed.
El Ghanassy put Heerenveen ahead after half an hour but Jens Toornstra equalised just four minutes later. On-fire Icelandic striker Alfred Finnbogason smashed a header off the crossbar before the break as Heerenveen pressed for the second goal. Utrecht then had a fire lit under them on the second-half and a quick-fire double in six minutes after the hour gave them a 3-1 advantage. Jacob Mulenga and Jan Wuytens with the Utrecht goals but El Ghannasy hit a second for the hosts to give them hope of a comeback.
But with just four minutes to go, Utrecht finished the game off with defender Mike van der Hoorn’s diving header sealing the win.
Heracles 1 (Bruns 7)
FC Twente 1 (Fer 27)
Fifth-placed FC Twente came from behind to grab a point against Heracles in the ‘Derby of the East’ which spoiled the home side’s chances of European football next term.
Heracles started well and were ahead after 7 minutes gone, Thomas Bruns capitalised on poor defending from a Dragan Paljic through ball. Twente went in search of a goal, and after Luc Castaignos missing a good chance they finally did score, as creative midfielder Leroy Fer (rumoured to joining Everton in England’s Premier League) equalising on 27 minutes.
Both teams attacked looking the second goal in the second half with Everton coming the closest smashing an effort against the post and failing with the rebound. At the end of the game, the Brazilian striker was in tears as he left the pitch, as rumour has it that could be on his way in the summer after seven years at the club.
Heracles Almelo slip down to 11th with their chances of reaching the European play-offs slim, while FC Twente are overtaken in fifth by FC Utrecht.
Roda joins VVV in the relegation playoffs after losing an eight-goal thriller away in Breda five goals to three. The visitors took a 3-1 lead with first-half goals from Frank Demouge and midfielder Roly Bonevacia (on-loan from Ajax) with former Ajax player Mitchell Donald netting a third just after half-time. NAC’s Brazilian defender Eric Botteghin scored in the 18th minute to level the scores at 1-1 but Breda were overwhelmed by Roda JC, then came the outstanding comeback orchestrated by the sensational Anthony Lurling.
Rick ten Voorde got the result back to 3-2 with a good effort just before the hour and Lurling grabbing his first of two beautiful goals minutes later with a wonderful strike. A 75th minute Elson Hooi goal put NAC in front before Lurling smashed home a spectacular long-range hit to claim all three points.
NAC Breda now are placed in mid-table obscurity with nothing to play for heading into the last week of fixtures with Roda having the worry of the relegation playoffs.
Victory for Ajax over Willem II this weekend would clinch their third consecutive title in a row while also condemning the Tilburg side to relegation down into the Jupiler League.
Frank de Boer’s side lost three crucial pieces in his championship-winning puzzle last summer with Jan Vertonghen and Vurnon Anita moving to England, with Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United respectively, and right-back Gregory van der Wiel joining Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain. Due to this, rivals PSV Eindhoven (who strenghened in the window) were installed as favourites to take the shield.
However, heading into Week 33 fixtures, the title race looks over as Ajax lead second-placed PSV by four points. The unlikelihood of a Willem II win at the Amsterdam Arena on Sunday would give PSV a glimmer of hope going into next week final set of fixtures. SC Cambuur last night clinched the Jupiler League title (full story here) and will replace Willem II if defeated by the title chasers.
Free-scoring PSV are in pole position to clinch the Champions League qualification spot but are level on points with third-placed Feyenoord while Vitesse Arnhem are only two points behind.
PSV host NEC Nijmegen and Feyenoord are also up against a mid-table side, ADO Den Haag while Vitesse have a tough fixture travelling to RKC Waalwijk, who are fighting for survival, only one place above the relegation play-off places.
Feyenoord are already guaranteed to be in the top four while Vitesse, who are six points ahead of fifth-placed FC Twente, only need one more point. FC Twente travel to Heracles Almelo this weekend with FC Utrecht and Heerenveen in sixth and seventh meeting each other.
FC Groningen, who visit second bottom VVV-Venlo, are the other side likely to contest the Europa League play-offs as they have a five-point advantage over Heracles, ADO and NEC.
At the bottom, Roda JC currently sit one point behind RKC and will hope to climb out of the bottom two with a win over NAC Breda while AZ Alkmaar meet PEC Zwolle.
The Europa League and relegation playoffs will begin 16th May.
The partnership would see players from the Red Devils loaned to Ajax to gain great experience from first team football and although a plethora of transfers would be unlikely, with Ajax only likely to loan in areas they are in need of strengthening, it could potentially give Manchester United’s youth players a fantastic chance to experience a different footballing culture. The deal seems to be quite a simple one; United will send some of their best young and fringe players on loan to Ajax and in return they could have first refusal over some of the players linked with moves away from the Dutch club.
In an interview with Voetbal International, Frank de Boer said: “If Manchester United talent would prefer to gain experience with Ajax than in the lower divisions in England, then it can be a very interesting option.”
De Boer’s quotes come less than a week after Manchester United Dutch first-team coach Rene Meulensteen admitted to newspaper AD that loaning out the younger players would be a good idea with former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar playing a big role in getting the partnership started. “For our younger players it would be a good idea, rather play at Ajax than in the Championship, I’ll keep Edwin informed.”.
Now that Edwin van der Sar is working as the sporting director at Ajax, the move could prove extremely useful for both sides with the ex-United legend likely to play a key role if the partnership materialises.
This season, Ajax have had Barcelona’s highly-rated winger Issac Cuenca on loan with the club and despite his problems with injuries, De Boer is hopeful that the player will go back to Spain with ‘enthusiastic stories’. Barcelona are expected to have a long standing loan partnership with Ajax due to the link that Director of Football Marc Overmars provides, so the loan deal for Cuenca is likely to be the first of many.
Given Ajax’s globally renowned talent at creating and nurturing some of the worlds most gifted players including Dennis Bergkamp, Johan Cruyff, Patrick Kluverit, Edgar Davids, Marco van Basten and Wesley Sneijder, a move would be a great experience for any United youngsters and likely extremely beneficial.
If this deal does come off, and Manchester United do get first refusal on Ajax’s stars then I’m sure that Toby Alderweireld, Christian Eriksen, Viktor Fischer and many more who could all make the 20-time champions a much stronger squad and a much stronger proposition to their rivals.
Ajax are not going to turn into a feeder club because they are under no obligation to sell players to United who don’t wish to move. The Eredivisie is a greatly underrated league in the context of European football and it allows United to get a stronger hold in terms of their scouting network in the Netherlands. It also potentially cuts off the supply line to their main rivals.
It was goals galore this weekend in the Holland’s top league with a total of 39 goals scored. Feyenoord smashed six past Heracles and second-placed PSV keep a little pressure on with a first-half demolition of Groningen. The main story will be that Frank de Boer’s Ajax have one hand on the Eredivisie shield after a scrappy 2-0 win away to NAC Breda, making themselves, four points clear of PSV with only two rounds of games to go.
Dick Advocaat’s PSV Eindhoven now appears only to be playing for a runners-up medal and UEFA Champions League qualification, even though they demolished FC Groningen by five goals to two. PSV scored all their goals in a dominating first half, with Slovenian striker Tim Matavz grabbing the first. After only four minutes, Dries Mertens played in Matavz and the Slovenian slotted home past Marco Bizot for his 11th goal of the league season. It was 2-0, just two minutes later with a Mertens scoring a penalty kick after Groningen’s Chilean full-back Stefano Magnasco clipped the heels of the Belgian winger.
Mertens was on fire and was the architect for the third goal after 13 minutes putting Jermaine Lens through to place home. Veteran Mark van Bommel, possibly leaving at the end of the season, got in on the act before half-time with a long range low drive into the Bizot’s left corner. The fifth and final PSV goal came on the stroke of half-time, with Mertens involved again. Busy goalkeeper Bizot could not hold onto Mertens’ free-kick and the ball fell fortunately for Lens to hit his second and his 16th of the Eredivisie season. Groningen earned some consolation after the break through a Michael De Leeuw double. The win cements PSV’s place in second with an amazing plus-60 goal difference.
Towards the end of the game the PSV crowd were incredibly vocal about the on-going status of whether or not van Bommel will stay at the Phillips Stadion. The message was crystal clear from the PSV fans, they want their captain to stick around another year, and his name was passionately sung by the Eindhoven faithful.
ADO Den Haag 1 (Van Duinen 84)
VVV Venlo 1 (Nwofor 14)
VVV Venlo can no longer secure automatic safety after they drew 1-1 at ADO on Saturday evening. VVV had led for the majority of the match through Nigerian striker Uche Nwofor only for Mike van Duinen to deliver a killer blow just six minutes from the end. VVV’s only expectation of survival is now through the relegation play-offs, with basement boys Willem II just four points adrift of the Pride of the South. Den Haag sit in tenth, five points of the Europa League playoffs spots.
Roda JC 3 (Zoet 50OG, Malki 64, Ramos 77OG)
RKC Waalwijk 1 (Boukhari 89)
Roda JC grabbed a crucial win in their fight against the drop as they beat RKC Waalwijk 3-1. On-loan goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet (from PSV) gifted Roda a 50th-minute opener and after Roda’s top scorer Sanharib Malki doubled the advantage the hosts were out of sight when the unfortunate Guy Ramos scored a second own goal. RKC occupy the final safety position in 15th with Roda sitting in a place below breathing down their necks just one point.
NAC Breda 0
Ajax 2 (Sigthorsson 47, Gilissen 52OG)
Ajax’s look to clinch their third consectutive league title next week at home to bottom club Willem II but they survived a scare against NAC on Saturday night. On nine minutes, NAC should have been in the lead after some fantastic tricky from Breda’s Elson Hooi. Hooi’s turned the Ajax defence into disarray and tried to placed a shot past returning Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer. Vermeer pulled out a stop but was stranded when the ball fell perfectly for Rick ten Voorde. Much to Ajax’s relief, ten Voorde smashed a shot into Lasse Schöne’s body from close range and the Rat Verlegh Stadion groaned with dismay as they knew it was a glorious chance missed to take the lead.
It must have been Ajax’s lucky day as they were saved by the woodwork from the resulting corner. Brazilian defender Eric Botteghin rose above both Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld and Vermeer to win the header which rattled off the crossbar and was scrambled clear by the panicking visitors. Ajax failed to get going and gained more luck after the break where Icelandic forward Kolbeinn Sigthorsson got on the end of a messy chance to place the league leaders ahead. A long ball sent over the top from Schöne was met by the chest of former Liverpool striker Ryan Babel. Babel held the ball up well and fed in Viktor Fischer and goalkeeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar saved the young Dane’s effort. The ball flicked up out of the NAC keeper’s hands and Sigthorsson pounced to flick the ball home.
The game was all but over just five minutes later. In-demand midfielder Christian Eriksen whipped in a corner and Siem de Jong’s front post header clipped off Tim Gilissen head and past ten Rouwelaar for 2-0.
Title rivals will need the unlikely event of a Willem II win at Amsterdam Arena next weekend otherwise the Eredivisie shield will once again be in Frank De Boer’s hands.
FC Twente scored as early as the third minute and completed their goals two minutes into injury times as they smashed NEC 5-2, which virtually declared the Nijmegen side out of the race for UEFA Europa League football next season.
Big burly Brazilian central defender Douglas headed in the first goal from a Tim Holscher corner. The lead was doubled on 22 minutes with young striker Luc Castaignos got on the end of man-of-the-match Nacer Chadli’s good work. Chadli helped himself to a goal after half-time to make it 3-0 but a Nick van der Velden’s free-kick minutes later reduced the deficit.
Not for long. Nine minutes later the home side’s fourth was scored by Swedish defender Rasmus Bengtsson got the end of a messy scramble. NEC grabbed their second on 90 minutes, this time Erik Falkenburg the scorer but Twente had the final word deep into injury time. Felipe Gutierrez made it 5-2 and his team jump up to fifth in the table as NEC sit mid-table in eleventh.
Feyenoord hit Heracles for six on Sunday, as Ronald Koeman’s men join PSV on 66 points to keep hopes of qualification for the Champions League alive. The rout began on 19 minutes from a wonderfully placed John Goossens free-kick smashing in the top corner giving goalkeeper Remko Pasveer no chance of stopping. The second goal of the match was equally impressive after half an hour. Italian hotshot Graziano Pellé hitting a curling effort from the edge of the box sending De Kuip into a rapture of celebration. Some good work down the right from attacking full-back Daryl Janmaat provided Lex Immers for the third just three minutes later. There was time for one more before the break with Pellé grabbing his second and his 26th goal of the season with a spot kick after Ruben Schaken had been brought down by goalkeeper Pasveer. Pasveer was dismissed for the challenge to make matters worse for the Heraclieden. Schaken grabbed a goal himself ten minutes after half-time rounding substitute goalkeeper Brian van Loo to slot home. Schaken was involved in the last goal assisting Goossens to head the sixth in. Heracles now sit in ninth and will be glad to forget this game as soon as possible.
PEC Zwolle 1 (Broerse 18)
FC Utrecht 2 (Asare 2, Pappot 55)
In a lacklustre affair, Utrecht travelled to Zwolle on Sunday and came away 2-1 winners to stay in sixth. The game had just kicked off when Nana Asare put the visitors ahead. Joost Broerse replied on 18 minutes for the visitors before Elroy Pappot decided the game ten minutes into the second half.
Vitesse Arnhem 3 (Havenaar 9, Bony 25, van Ginkel 46)
Willem II 1 (Snijders 78)
Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony made Vitesse history on Sunday afternoon surpassing former striker Nikos Machlas’ 36 goal record in all competitions in the Arnhem’s club 3-1 win over Willem II. Greek striker Machlas had hit the net 36 times in the 1995/96 campaign but after seventeen years Wilfried Bony takes over this record scoring his 37th goal of the season in the 25th minute.
Vitesse took the lead after only nine minutes, scored by Japanese-born forward Mike Havenaar. After Bony grabbed his 31st in the league and 37th overall to break the record, just 13 seconds in the second half the ball ended in the back of the net for the Vitesse’s third goal. Mike Havenaar placed the ball to attacking midfielder Marco van Ginkel who put his team in a comfortable 3-0 lead. Willem II grabbed a consolation goal through Genaro Snijders.
In regards to Bony’s record mentioned earlier, the Ivorian still has two matches to gain more goals, against RKC Waalwijk and VVV Venlo. These will be most likely Bony’s last matches for Vitesse, he has been linked to many clubs across Europe the past few months and has stated he will leave in the summer.
AZ Alkmaar jumped up to eleventh in the Eredivisie with a shocking emphatic 4-0 win away to Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen. American international Jozy Altidore grabbed his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season in the process.
With AZ coach and leader Gertjan Verbeek sitting in the stands due to a suspension many pundits would have wrote off their chances of defeating a strong Heerenveen side who have won six of their last eight games with only one defeat. The Cheese Farmers proved those pundits wrong in the Friday night and thumped Van Basten’s men by four goals.
Without the creativity of seasoning Filip Djuricic, who also sat in the stands with a hamstring injury, Heerenveen looked to have no inspiration or determination. Altidore grabbed the first goal after breaking the offside trap and getting goal side of central defender Jeffrey Gouweleeuw. The American placed a shot that forced a save out of goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt but the ball gratefully feel perfectly for Altidore’s head to nod the away team ahead.
Two minutes later, the lead was doubled. From the left, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson whipped in a vicious ball to the back post where Roy Beerens was arriving to smash past Nordfeldt.
Heerenveen came out the second half looking for a revival, unfortunately for the home side, this was not produced and the game was all but finished just after the hour.
A great run by Guðmundsson ended by the Icelandic getting on the scoresheet after a cute little backheel from Altidore. The icing was put on the cake three minutes later after AZ were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box and Altidore grabbed his second. The striker stepped up and took the free-kick quickly and curled it in the left top corner giving Nordfeldt no chance.
Heeremveen currently sit in seventh with a chance of making the Europa League next year through the playoffs while AZ are placed 11th and well out of the relegation trouble now.
Ajax have let the other title challengers have a glimpse of stealing away the Eredivisie championship from the champions after dropping two vital points at home to Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen on Friday night. PSV and Feyenoord steamed into second and third both with wins over the weekend.
Friday 19th April 2013
Ajax 1 (Fischer 26)
Heerenveen 1 (Finnbogason 53)
Friday night at the Amsterdam Arena, Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen side held league leaders Ajax dropped points to a 1-1 draw, opening the door for the chasing pack. Hosts Ajax led through Danish prodigy Viktor Fischer’s goal 26 minutes into the match, only for the in-form Alfreð Finnbogason to level eight minutes into the second half. Seventh-placed Heerenveen delighted coach Van Basten, a former Ajax favourite, eight minutes into the second half when midfielder Sven Kums delivered a cross from the right and Finnbogason struck his 24th league goal of the season. Ajax were unable to force a winner late on.
Although PSV and Feyenoord picked up wins over the weekend, with just three rounds of the season remaining, Ajax remain odds-on favourites to retain their league title.
Saturday 20th April 2013
FC Groningen 2 (Zeefuik 38, Texeira 42)
ADO Den Haag 1 (Jansen 75)
Gronigen continued their winning streak to four with a 2-1 over ADO. Both teams had a man sent off as Groningen edged into the final Europa League play-off spot. Goals from Genero Zeefuik and David Texeira were enough to secure victory for Groningen, who did wobble when defender Virgil van Dijk was sent off in the 64th minute. Kevin Jansen halved the deficit in the 75th minute but 11 minutes later he was following Van Dijk down the tunnel after seeing red.
Heracles halted a three-game losing streak in emphatic fashion on Saturday evening, running riot on RKC Waalwijk 4-0 at Polman Stadion, Almelo. The match failed to find a goal until three minutes before the halftime break when Kwame Quansah converted a penalty kick for his first goal of the season. The second half was one-way traffic as Marko Vejinovic doubled the home side’s advantage in the 65th minute before a brace from Everton put the victory beyond any doubt. The result sees Heracles jump to ninth place with 37 points and RKC Waalwijk remain fourth from bottom on 31 points.
Willem II 2 (Haastrup 50, Joachim 60P)
Roda JC 1 (Malki 88)
Basement boys Willem II won their first game in five at home to Roda JC despite a late rally for the Kerkrade side. Philipp Haastrup and Benoît Joachim notched for the home side after a goalless first half. Roda’s top scorer Sanharib Malki grabbed a late goal but his team were unable to grab another to clinch a point.
PSV dominated AZ Alkmaar 3-1 in the late Saturday night game to keep the pressure on league leaders Ajax. It was a trademark Mark Van Bommel free kick that was blasted past AZ ‘keeper Esteban Alvarado on 36 minutes to put the visitors 1-0 at the break. The second goal came just before the hour mark as some good work from midfield dynamo Kevin Strootman set-up Belgian winger Dries Mertens for his 14th league goal of the season. PSV cemented the points just after the hour with a Jermaine Lens low left footed effort. AZ grabbed a consolation goal as Johann Berg Gudmundsson smashed a ball across the face of goal for Aron Johannsson to finish.
PSV are now four points off their title rivals Ajax and will need to win their remaining games and hope Ajax slip up.
Sunday 21st April 2013
VVV Venlo 2 (Roseler 18, Nwofor 23)
FC Twente 2 (Bengtsson 58, Castaignos 59)
FC Twente claimed a dramatic point at De Koel on Sunday against VVV Venlo thanks to two goals in the span of a minute. Nils Roseler and Nwofor Uche had given Venlo a two-goal edge by halftime, but it was Rasmus Bengtsson and Luc Castaignos scoring in the 58th and 59th minutes, respectively, to earn visiting Twente a share of the spoils with the 2-2 draw.
FC Utrecht 3 (Van der Hoorn 14, Toornstra 18, Duplan 74)
NAC Breda 0
Utrecht moved to within two points of FC Twente by cruising past NAC in a 3-0 victory at the Stadion Galgenwaard on Sunday. Mike van der Hoorn and Jens Toornstra scored in the first half while Edouard Duplan wrapped up the affair 16 minutes from time.
NEC 1 (George 49)
PEC Zwolle 3 (Mokhtar 18, Benson 23, Klich 85)
In a mid-table clash, PEC Zwolle grabbed another win, this time at the expense of NEC on Sunday afternoon at the Goffertstadion. Former Jong PSV striker Youness Mokhtar scored the opening goal in the 18th minute with Fred Benson hitting home a second five minutes later. Leroy George got NEC back into the game just after half-time but with just five minutes remaining, 22-year-old Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich made sure of all three points with his first goal for the club since moving from Wolfsburg in January.
Feyenoord 2 (Pelle 39P, Immers 50)
Vitesse Arnhem 0
Feyenoord climbed to third place by claiming a 2-0 win over Vitesse at De Kuip Stadion. Italian striker Graziano Pelle converted a penalty kick in the 39th minute while Lex Immers struck five minutes after half-time to put the result beyond any doubt. Feyenoord improves to 63 points on the season, bringing the club level with PSV and two points clear of fourth-place Vitesse.