Frank de Boer has announced that he has decided to stay on as head coach of Ajax Amsterdam.
De Boer was quoted as talking to Amsterdam Tv channel AT5 and stated “I will still be with Ajax next year, if they should decide to keep me.”
Ajax have been keen to discuss a new contract with De Boer and wish to extend their deal together until summer 2014. The former Dutch international is now in his third season as head coach of the Amsterdam club.
Marc Overmars, Sporting Director at Ajax spoke to Dutch newspaper AD: “We wish to look to bring new players into the club but not before we negotiate a new deal with Frank. We have already expressed that intent and Frank knows that. Obviously his is the most important deal for us.”
The announcement that De Boer is staying comes just three days after the British press had suggested that De Boer had welcomed reports linking him to Manchester City.
De Boer has led Ajax to two Eredivisie titles since taking charge of the club in 2010, and has been touted as a potential successor to Roberto Mancini at the Etihad Stadium. However, although he has indicated an interest in leading City, De Boer does not appear to be ready to move away from the Netherlands.
“Manchester City would be something I want to do, yes, but it is difficult for me to move my family abroad at the moment and I have to consider others, not just myself.”
Ajax director Marc Overmars added this past weekend talking to ESPN “Am I worried? Not for losing Frank now, but City will be a big competitor for his signature in the near future.”
It is no surprise to many following the game in the Netherlands that AZ attacking midfielder Adam Maher is perhaps most coveted Dutch footballer at the moment.
Earlier this year in the January transfer window, English Premier League clubs knocked on the door of AZ Alkmaar, and now as the season ends and clubs around Europe await the opening of a new window, the English superpowers are ready to rumble throughout the summer for the Ducth international.
The Morrocan-born Oranje star is wanted by Eredivisie giants PSV and Ajax but the top clubs from the Premier League are in the market and they very well may tempt the playmaker to head to the British Isles.
British newspaper The Mirror have reported that Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are some clubs that Maher would like to attract.
In AZ, they are only too well aware of the foreign interest. On Maher, as what happens with many young Dutch talents an excessively high price tag has been slapped on so that AZ can make some major profit. It is rumoured that interested clubs can tempt AZ to sell him for around £15.4m, which is approximately equivalent to €18m.
But which club is the preference for Maher? Maher himself does not except anything to happen and says to he will wait until the summer. “I look to see which clubs are interested but nothing will be discussed until the summer. “
But as friend of the site, Scottish-based Dutch football expert Peter McVitie added, Maher has said over and over that he wishes to stay in Holland: ‘He has maintained since January that he wants to stay in Eredivisie and, since February, he has made clear that he wants to join one of Ajax or PSV in the summer. He lives in Amsterdam and has praised Ajax several times in recent weeks and he has actually said that he has an idea which club he would prefer to join.’
For Maher, who would like to leave with his ailing club, it is hoped that when he does leave this summer, AZ make as much as they can so they use the funds to be a force in the Eredivisie again.
Ajax have one hand on their third consecutive Eredivisie title after they defeated rivals PSV 3-2 at the Phillips Stadion on Sunday afternoon. Feyenoord dropped out of the race as they were held to a disappointing draw at RKC Waalwijk.
Marco van Basten’s side will be thanking his lucky stars and Alfreð Finnbogason after his late penalty gave Heerenveen all three points when it looked like they had gave them away. The bottom side, Willem II now look resigned to relegation when glancing at the league table but they did take the lead at Abe Lenstra Stadion.
After just 12 minutes, Willem found themselves ahead. 21 year old midfielder Ricardo Ippel grabbed a rebound from a free-kick and volleyed first time, beneath the crossbar which keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt should have done better with. The break came and Heerenveen were lucky just to be the solitary goal down but they arrived back out a different beast. This showed on 53 minutes as Belgian winger Yassine El Ghanassy calmly finishing from the back post after receiving a Patrick van Aanholt cross. Two minutes later, Heerenveen had competed the turnaround. Icelandic striker Finnbogason grabbed his 22nd in the league this season with an easy tap in. Some sloppy defending by the home side let Tim Cornelisse thread the ball through to Luxembourg striker Aurélien Joachim to grab a 80th minute leveller. The Tilburgers did not hold out to the point for long as captain Philipp Haastrup got caught guilty of hand ball. Taking his tally up to 23 for the league season, Finnbogason placed the penalty home and clinched the win.
AZ Alkmaar 6 (Altidore 28P, 34P, 37, van der Hoorn 45+1OG, Henriksen 61, Jóhannsson 90)
FC Utrecht 0
AZ’s relegation worries were eased after a huge 6-0 win over nine-man Utrecht which included a first-half hat-trick from American international striker Jozy Altidore. Utrecht would have felt their were fighting a losing battle when they had Anouar Kali and Jan Wuytens both sent off before Altidore put AZ 2-0 up after 34 minutes. Kali was sent off for a second yellow after conceding the penalty with a foul on Altidore in the 27th minute, this was the 1500th red card in the league.
To make matters worse for Utrecht, before the second penalty, first choice goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter had to be replaced due to injury and Jeroen Verhoeven found himself beaten five times before the final whistle.
RKC Waalwijk 1 (Duits 55)
Feyenoord 1 (Pelle 13P)
Feyenoord let their title hopes slip through their fingers after only achieving a draw away to RKC. Feyenoord started well and went ahead with Italian forward Graziano Pelle hiting a penalty home for his 23rd of the season.
In the 55th minute, RKC drew level with an individual effort from Sander Duits that shattered Feyenoord hearts and their title dreams.
Feyenoord coach Ronald Koeman stated he was “deeply disappointed in his team” in an TV interview afterwards.
Ajax look set to be champions again after defeating PSV 3-2 and now have a five point gap between themselves and second place Vitesse. It was the visitors that took the lead with striker Kolbein Sigthorsson jumping onto a mis-kicked Mark van Bommel ball just after half an hour gone. Ajax maybe should have had a chance to extend the lead with a penalty when young Danish striker Viktor Fischer was grabbed by Van Bommel just inside the box but nothing was given.
Ajax must have been hoping to take the lead in at half time, but this was not to be. Sloppy play by Christian Eriksen in his own half let Georginio Wijnaldum steal in and knock the ball onto Kevin Strootman. Strootman kept his cool, one on one with Jasper Cillessen and slided the ball through to the unmarked Jermaine Lens to finish.
PSV started the brighter at the start of the second half but it was Ajax to hit them on the counter attack and go 2-1 up. It was Christian Eriksen who made up for his first half error on 50 minutes with a wonderful solo effort that he smashed home at Boy Waterman’s front post. PSV pressed as Ajax sat back and defended their lead. On 67 minutes, PSV were back level. The impressive Dries Mertens’ whipping free-kick rattled off the post and Lens was there again to poke home with a well-controlled finish inside the post.
Ajax were furious just a minute later, when they should have definitely been awarded a penalty kick this time. Midfielder Lasse Schone sped past Jetro Willems and the young left-back brought the Dane down in the box, referee Björn Kuipers waved claims away. PSV replaced Willems with Erik Pieters and Ajax switched Christian Poulsen for Derk Boerrigter and on 76 minutes, both were involved in the fifth goal of the match. With his first touch of the game, Boerrigter pounced on a terrible mix-up between goalkeeper Waterman and Pieters to regain the lead.
PSV will need Ajax to drop two games to get back in the title race but with only four games left in the league season, it certainly looks like the title will be heading to Amsterdam again.
Championship chasing Vitesse Arnhem shot themselves in the foot and give a big boost to PSV, Feyenoord and Ajax in the title race. Wilfried Bony and co let a 3-0 lead slip at Roda to let the team placed in 17th gain a point in a 3-3 thriller.
Roda JC 3 (Malki 63P, Demouge 70, Donald 90)
Vitesse Arnhem 3 (Havenaar 26, 36, Bony 55)
Vitesse with Theo Janssen and Patrick van Aanholt returning to the team, played limp and lost two vital points in their challenge for the title and Champions League football. The visitors had an early scare when Mitchell Donald hit the post for Roda, but tall striker Mike Havenaar added two first half games to set them cruising. The first goal, Havenaar headed from a Renato Ibarra pass and ten minutes later he grabbed a second with Wilfried Bony assisting. The Ivorian added his own goal and the 30th of the Eredivisie season and 36 in all competitions on 55 minutes. The game was over… or so Vitesse thought.
Roda did not give up and a handball in the box from Jan-Arie van der Heijden gave them a lifeline, Sanharib Malki took the opportunity and gave the home fans belief. Fighting for their Eredivisie survival, took the game by the horns and battled a second goal from the on-loan striker Frank Demouge. Substitute Guus Hupperts played Demouge in and he smashed the ball passed Piet Velthuizen and brought his team back to 3-2. Roda coach Ruud Brood smelt blood added another striker to the mix and Mikolaj Lebedynski entered the fray. Eloy Room was needed by Vitesse late on due to an injury to Velthuizen but within minutes the fresh goalkeeper was beaten.
Luckily for the reserve goalkeeper, Malki was declared offside on 85 minutes. Roda must have thought their luck was out until Mitchell Donald headed a 90th minute leveller.
A quick note on Wilfried Bony, with the third goal today being his 36th in all competitions, he has now tied for record for Vitesse that Greek striker Nikos Machlas created in the 1997-1998 season.
NAC Breda 2 (Lurling 82, Hooi 85)
NEC Nijmegen 0
In a mid-table battle, NAC Breda left it late to defeat NEC to move up to eleventh in the league. It was the 82nd minute when Anthony Lurling got the Breda fans inside the Rat Verlegh Stadion cheering. Elson Hooi added the a second and sealed the three points for NAC with just five minutes to go. Both goals that Hungarian goalkeeper Gabor Babos, also captain of the team, could have saved, but was poor in the posts this evening. Strangely enough, Babos has signed for NAC Breda and will head there at the end of the season. With this win, NAC look clear of relegation worries.
FC Groningen 2 (Texeira 62, Bacuna 76P)
Two second half goals clinched the points for Groningen away to Heracles which moved the Pride of the North up to seventh. First goal came just after the hour mark, when Heracles failed to clear a huge kick from goalkeeper Marco Bizot, and David Texeira pounced on the loose ball, edged into the box and finished superbly.
A black cat invaded the pitch soon after and brought the home side nothing but bad luck. Defender Thomas Bruns tripped Slovenian winger Andraž Kirm on what looked to be the edge of the box, the referee pointed to the penalty spot to much protest from the Black and White stripes. Leandro Bacuna smashed the penalty home past Remko Pasveer to cement the win for the visitors.
ADO Den Haag 1 (van Duinen 41)
FC Twente 3 (Douglas 24, Bulykin 81, 83)
Russian striker Dmitry Bulykin, former player of ADO, came on late and made in the difference in this match with two goals in the closing stages. At that time, ADO was playing with a man less, after the red card of Danny Holla.
it was until the 24th minute that Twente took the lead, by Brazilian defender Douglas. A free-kick was swung ion from the left and after a scramble in the box, the big defender was in the right place in the right time to put his team in front. ADO were level before the break, when Aaron Meijers fed Mike van Duinen through on goal and Twente’s Bulgarian keeper Nikolai Mihailov could not stop the equaliser.
After an hour, however, followed a setback for Den Haag. Holla was punished for a foul on Wout Brama and received his second yellow card. This meant that the home team had to go without their captain for the remainder, and to make matter worse, coach Maurice Steijn was also sent to the stands. Twente went on the offensive and goal opportunities came for Dusan Tadic, who shot twice wide and a blast of Felipe Gutierrez also just went wide. Then on 74 minutes, substitute Bulykin made his entrance and grabbed two goals in as many minutes.
The first was orchaeasted by Nader Chadli, dribbling the ball through the ADO defence and feeding the Russian in to score. The final nail in ADO’s coffin was Bulykin latching on the rebound after an attempt by Tadic after Gino Coutinho palmed away the Serbian’s chipped attempt.
PEC Zwolle condemned VVV Venlo further into relegation trouble with a 2-0 away win in Friday night’s live televised game. At the same time, Zwolle seemed to have cemented the fact that they will be playing top flight league football next season.
Ghanaian-born striker Fred Benson had an impressive game, collecting two goals to take his tally to five this season in 28 games. The first came about with Zwolle’s first chance just under 12 minutes, after some nice work from Youness Mokhtar then ball fell to Benson who finished the play with a hard shot that gave VVV goalkeeper Niki Mäenpää no chance.
The second goal came from route one football. A long ball sent over from Wiljan Plume and Benson found himself in some space to lash the ball home and confirm the three points. It was a poor lacklustre display by VVV Venlo with only Bryan Linssen looking threatening out of the eleven. Zwolle move up to twelfth and VVV stay situated in the relegation playoff spot.
Frank de Boer’s Ajax resumed their place at the top of the pile at home to Heracles and Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen was defeated by Groningen to end a four-game winning streak.
FC Utrecht 1 (Toornstra 71)
ADO Den Haag 0
The sun was shining in Utrecht this afternoon, the match between Utrecht and ADO did not. It was a poor contest narrowly won by a 71st minute Jens Toornstra strike, against his old club. Both goalkeepers were hardly tested throughout, but unfortunately for Utrecht stopper Robbin Ruiter went down with a groin injury that looked serious and he may be absent for some time.
FC Groningen 3 (Raitala 3OG, Bacuna 42P, de Leeuw 87)
Heerenveen 1 (Mareček 70)
Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen side made the worst possible start when Finnish defender Jukka Raitala put through his own net after three minutes, before a Leandro Bacuna spot-kick three minutes before the break extended their advantage. Substitute Lukas Mareček pulled a goal back in the 70th minute but midfielder Michael De Leeuw overhead kick in the penalty area cemented the win for Groningen with three minutes left.
NEC Nijmegen 1 (Conboy 19)
AZ Alkmaar 1 (Maher 17)
After four straight losses for NEC a well deserved draw at home to relegation threatened AZ was a welcome result. Hot property Adam Maher, rumoured to leave AZ in the summer, scored a lovely solo effort on 17 minutes from outside the box to fire past Gabor Babos in goal. Two minutes later, NEC were level with Kevin Conboy hit a wonderful curling free-kick straight home. NEC got themselves in trouble on the hour when Nick van der Velden stupidaly kicked out at Giliano Wijnaldum. AZ had a golden opportunity spurned to take all three points in injury time when Aron Jóhannsson hit his shot straight into the arms of Babos.
League leaders Ajax are now back to three points ahead of PSV and Vitesse has they turned over Heracles Almelo 4-0 although having just ten men for the majority of the game. Ajax’s Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne gave them an early lead after 13 minutes after a one-two with Kolbeinn Sigþórsson.
Heracles did come back into the game without scoring a goal but forced enough pressure on Kenneth Vermeer, so much so that he found himself having an early bath. The pacey Geoffrey Castillion outpaced Toby Alderweireld and was through on goal but Vermeer rushed out and brought the striker down on the edge of the box. On 48 minutes, Vermeer was sent off immediately and he will now miss Ajax’s crunch title clash with PSV next weekend.
Ajax did not panic and found themselves two goals to the good four minutes later. Icelandic striker Sigþórsson smashed a close range shot against the crossbar and latched on the rebound for 2-0. On 75 minutes, Ryan Babel smashed home a Schöne cross and Christian Eriksen finished the rout six minutes from time.
PSV and Vitesse have temporarily joined Ajax on sixty points with wins today and both are now joint top in a very close title race in the Eredivisie. Ajax play Heracles tomorrow knowing that they have no room for error for the remainder of the season with Feyenoord also snapping at their heels.
Vitesse 3 (Bony 28, 59, Ibarra 50)
NAC Breda 0
The on-fire Ivorian striker Wilfried ‘Daddy Cool’ Bony added his 28th and 29th goals of the season this evening in a 3-0 win over NAC Breda that fired Vitesse on sixty points to join PSV and Ajax at the top.
It was a really poor start to the game until on 28 minutes when Bony scored his 28th of the season in just 26 games. It was also the eighth Eredivisie game in a row in which he has scored a goal. Vitesse went from first gear to fifth gear as soon as Bony hit the net. Frenchman Gael Kakuta (on loan from Chelsea) nearly finished off a brilliant solo effort after crashing his shot off the crossbar just a minute later.
Renato Ibarra virtually sealed the game for Vitesse on 50 minutes with a wonderful solo goal after an error from NAC goalkeeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar. Bony was on the scoresheet again and killed the game off on 59 minutes for his 29th league goal of the season.
FC Twente 2 (Castaignos 44, Chadli 56)
Roda JC 0
FC Twente fianlly clinched their first win in 2013 in a home win over relegation worried Roda JC.
Luc Castaignos and Nacer Chadli were the goalscorers at the Grolsch Veste. Twente dominated but once again had great difficulty to find the net. Once there had been opportunities for Tim Hölscher, Chadli, the chances fell the way of Castaignos. The youngster smashed the ball home past goalkeeper Filip Kurto after a nice through ball from Leroy Fer.
Shortly after the break, Chadli made it 2-0 after he used great technique to curl the ball inside the post. Roda unfortunately could not break Twente down or get themselves back in the game and looking good contenders for the drop.
PEC Zwolle 1 (Mokhtar 21)
RKC Waalwijk 1 (Jozefzoon 7)
PEC Zwolle and RKC are also in relagation toruble and could not help their causes by sharing the points on Saturday evening. Florian Jozefzoon gave RKC an excellent start after just 7 minutes. The home team recovered, however, and Youness Mokhtar equaliser midway through the first half. After the break, both teams spurned chances to take the maximum points. Both RKC and Zwolle are on thirty points after 29 games, the teams are respectively thirteenth and fourteenth.
In a bland first half, it was the basement club Willem II that looked more likely to score with 19-year-old left-winger Virgil Misidjan, became a real thorn in PSV’s side throughout. But it was an old face that opened the scoring. Thirty-five year-old stalwart Marc Van Bommel hit a 25-yard low drive past Belgian goalkeeper David Meul in the Willem goal in first-half stoppage time. This was his 50th Eredivisie goal for PSV.
Willem grabbed an unlikely equalizer on 54 minutes through Jordens Peters with an accurate header past PSV ‘keeper Boy Waterman after Peters got on the end of a lovely whipped cross from Marc Höcher. PSV regained the lead and got their title challenge back on track fifteen minutes from the end with the reliant Swede striker Ola Toivonen. Toivonen finishing a wonderful move from the hardworking Memphis Depay. The points were settled minutes later with a rare Timothy Derijck goal. A exquistie backheeled flick by Kevin Strootman from a Atiba Hutchinson cross setup the big Belgian defender Derjick perfectly to head home.
Feyenoord added a little pressure on the Eredivisie leaders Ajax with a close 1-0 win over VVV Venlo on Friday evening.
Feyenoord headed into tonight’s game in fourth place, four points adrift of leader Ajax and one behind both PSV and Vitesse, but with the one goal win Feyenoord have now jumped to second place with the victory, although the surrounding teams are obviously still to play this weekend.
Feyenoord were forced to work hard for the three points, especially with scores being locked at 0-0 heading into the final twenty minutes. It took a 71st-minute strike from Italian striker Graziano Pelle after a whipping cross from defender Joris Mathijsen to break the deadlock and send Feyenoord second.
FC Groningen today announced that Erwin van de Looi will replace Robert Maaskant as head coach at the end of the season, he has signed a two-year contract. It was also stated that Dick Lukkein would be his assistant.
Van de Looi has worked his way up the ranks at Groningen after started as youth team coach in 2008 until 2010 when he became then head coach Peter Huistra’s assistant. After Huistra’s departure he then moved on to Maaskant’s assistant but after last month’s contract negoications, Maaskant has decided to leave.
As a player, Van de Looi was a player and started at the youth academy of Vitesse Arnhem, and went on to make his professional debut at Den Bosch in 1991. Then followed five years at Vitesse, three season at NAC Breda, a yearover in Germany for the Stuttgarter Kickers and finished at FC Groningen. He retired at 30 after sustained injuries.
The title looks to be heading to Amsterdam once again as Ajax take pole position with a thumping 4-1 win at home to NEC Nijmegen. Second placed PSV Eindhoven were held to a 2-2 draw away to relegation threatened Roda JC. Also, Ivorian hitman Wilfried ‘Daddy Cool’ Bony was on the scoresheet yet again as Vitesse climbed to third position with a win over PEC Zwolle.
Roda JC 2 (Demouge 13, Malki 87)
PSV Eindhoven 2 (Toivonen 19, 33)
PSV dropped a precious two points in the title race after a 2-2 draw with Roda JC in Kerkrade on Sunday afternoon. Swedish forward Ola Toivonen hit a first-half double as PSV came from behind after on-loan striker Frank Demouge’s (from League One side Bournemouth) early opener. With three minutes remaining, Syrian international Senharib Malki scored a dramatic equaliser to salvage a point for the hosts.
PSV were the better team in the first 45 minutes, but against the run of play, conceded a goal in the 13th minute. Demouge rose high above his marker to produce a glancing header from Mark-Jan Fledderus’ corner, scoring the opener for Ruud Brood’s team from their first meaningful chance. However, it was a short-lived lead for Roda, just six minutes later PSV drew level, when Toivonen headed home at the far post. PSV enjoyed most possession of the ball and attacking pair Memphis Depay and Jermain Lens had chances to put PSV ahead. Dick Advocaat’s team deservedly took the lead in the 33rd minute, after veteran Mark van Bommel delivered a fine cross from the right. Jeremain Lens just could not connect but Toivonen was on hand to tap home from close range for his second goal.
Roda keeper Kurto quickly left his line to deny Tim Matavz and minutes later the Slovenian striker, with only the keeper to beat, sent an effort just wide of the post. Disaster struck for PSV late in the goal, when Malki scored the dramatic leveller, putting away Mikołaj Lebedyński’s flick on.
HIGHLIGHTS (in Dutch)
Vitesse Arnhem 2 (Bony 9, Havenaar 35)
PEC Zwolle 1 (Valpoort 78)
PSV’s slip allowed Vitesse Arnhem to draw level in second place as they extended their winning run to six games with a 2-1 win over PEC Zwolle at the Gelredome. Hot property Wilfried Bony and Mike Havenaar fired them 2-0 by the break with Zwolle’s sole reply coming via Arsenio Valpoort with 12 minutes left. Bony opened the scoring after after good work by Ecuadorean Renato Ibarra just nine minutes capitalising on a mistake from Zwolle defence. It was shortly 2-0 in the 35th minute, Theo Janssen swung in a flawless free-kick to find the rising Havenaar to double the lead. Zwolle got a late consolation from young loanee winger Valpoort (from Heerenveen) and Theo Janssen gained a 93rd minute yellow card for jawjacking with the referee. He is now suspended for the next weekend’s game, at home against NAC Breda.
Erwin Koeman’s was delighed as his RKC Waalwijk side grabbed three much needed points completely outplaying ADO Den Haag to win 4-0, and to edge away from the relegation places. All four goals were a comedy of errors for team from The Hague but the result was no laughing matter. Mart Lieder got the ball rolling on ten minutes before a Vito Wormgoor own goal and Robert Braber’s goal shortly before half-time all but settled the match. Henrico Drost put the icing on the cake two minutes before time.
“Today, we had an aggressive attacking forward play and finished our chances,” Koeman told Eredivisie Live . “We were passionate and we deserved to win. We came in at half-time at 3-0, which was of course was delightful. I think we have done well. “
Heracles 1 (te Wierik 43)
AZ Alkmaar 2 (Henriksen 22, te Wierik 24OG)
AZ Alkmaar grabbed a much-needed win 2-1 at Heracles Almelo despite playing with ten men for almost an hour. Markus Henriksen’s 22nd-minute opener was followed by a Mike te Wierik own goal two minutes later to give AZ a 2-0 lead. Thomas Lam saw red on the hour but Heracles were only able to pull a single goal back when Te Wierik made up for his earlier blunder with a 43rd-minute goal.
Ajax 4 (Fischer 21, 77, van Ejiden 25OG, Babel 81)
NEC 1 (van der Velden 78)
Ajax moved three points clear at the top of the table with a 4-1 win over NEC Nijmegen, Sunday evening at the Amsterdam Arena. Viktor Fischer scoring his first goal since February, made it 1-0 on 21 minutes before a Rens Van Eijden own goal gave Ajax full control. Fischer’s second on 77 minutes was quickly nullified by a Nick Van der Velden goal but substitute Ryan Babel scored nine minutes from the end to ensure a wide-margin win.
Ajax dominating from the kick-off, opened the scoring with Danish youngster Fischer coolly finishing past NEC’s Hungarian goalkeeper Gábor Babos after impressive build up play by Lasse Schone and Siem de Jong. The lead was doubled just four minutes later thanks to an own goal from van Eijden trying to clear a Christian Eriksen cross-cum-shot.
The exciting Fischer extended Ajax’s lead further on 77 minutes with a delightful chip from the edge of the box. After recieving the ball from Eriksen, he spotted Babos off his line and the Dane delicately slipped his foot under the ball and glided it home into the top corner to get the crowd on their feet. NEC hit back right after play resumed with Nick van der Velden scoring after a fine pass from Victor Palsson to reduce the defecit. It only lasted three minutes as Ajax regained their three-goal advantage when substitute Ryan Babel added the fourth on 81 minutes.
Ajax now lay three points clear at the top of the pile but Frank de Boer knows that just one slip up could let PSV or Vitesse over take them.
Feyenoord’s dream of their first Eredivisie title since 1999 was left in tatters on Saturday night after Marco Van Basten’s underperforming Heerenveen side hit two late goals to take a 2-0 win at Abe Lenstra Stadion.
Heerenveen 2 (Finnbogason 85, El Ghannassy 89)
In a poor first half, it was the hosts who made the best chance – Serbian playmaker Filip Djuricic forcing Erwin Mulder to produce a decent save. It was the Serb with another superb solo effort just shortly after the break nearly put Heerenveen ahead, but, after a mazy run, the ball smashed off the post and the visitors were able to clear their lines.
The match looked to end in a goalless draw, but belatedly came to life just five minutes from time. Hot prospect Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, a central defender, made a surging run into box and clipped the ball onto hitman Alfred Finnbogason who put the hosts 1-0 up. Moments later, Ronald Koeman’s Feyenoord were like a team possessed and seemed likely to pull one back. Wesley Verhoek with a great effort from the edge of the box but Swedish goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt was well positioned to make the save.
With the game heading towards stoppage time, the hosts provided one final flourish to ensure the three points. Belgian Yassine El Ghanassy, on loan from Gent, slotted the ball home from the edge of the area to complete a 2-0 win.
The result leaves Feyenoord in third.
HIGHLIGHTS (in Dutch)
FC Twente 1 (Brama 83)
NAC Breda 1 (van der Weg 50)
Twente captain Wout Brama hit a long range shot, although deflected, past NAC ‘keeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar to clinch a point for his side and keep their hopes of playing avoiding the Europa League playoffs alive. Kenny van der Weg had put the visitors ahead just after the break with after a messy scramble from a free-kick.
Twente sit in joint fifth but need to make up six points on Vitesse (play PEC Zwolle at home today) to clinch a top four place to gain an automatic Europa League berth.
HIGHLIGHTS (in Dutch)
Willem II 1 (Haemhouts 26)
FC Groningen 2 (Bacuna 66P, Texeira 72)
Willem II are routed to the bottom of the league and despite a tremendously spirited performance against Groningen on Saturday, they looked doomed to be relegated.
The home side took the through Robbie Haemhouts on 26 minutes after some great link up play with Virgil Misidjan and Kees van Buuren. Willem pressed for a second and looked certain to finish with a victory but in the second half, Groningen turned it around. A corner was swung in on 65 minutes and Willem’s Luxembourg international striker Aurélien Joachim got caught with a dubious handball and Leandro Bacuna smashed home the resulting penalty to tie things up.
The Tilburg side must be upset after dominating the game and they were even more so a few minutes later. Bacuna placed a wonderful cross from the right onto the head of Uruguayan David Texeira who planted a gliding header into the corner of the goal. You have to feel sorry for Willem as they lost this game when they should have won it comfortably on the basis of their play.
Willem sit with only 17 points, nine adrift from safety but only four away from VVV Venlo in the relgation play-off position.
HIGHLIGHTS (in Dutch)
FC Utrecht 2 (Duplan 5, de Kogel 16)
VVV Venlo 1 (Linssen 37)
Utrecht sit comfortable in sixth after two early first half goals settled their game with 17th placed VVV Venlo. After only 5 minutes Édouard Duplan got on the scoresheet from a corner. Belgian Jan Wuytens smashed a header onto the crossbar and Frenchman Duplan knocked home the rebound.
Venlo’s problems were made worse on 16 minutes when striker Leon de Kogel grabbed Utrecht’s second after a horrendous blunder from the VVV defence. Young on-loan defensive pairing of Kaj Ramsteijn (from Feyenoord) and Nils Röseler (from Twente) tried to play the ball in their own box but de Kogel pounced to place the ball into Finnish goalkeeper Niki Mäenpää’s goal. It was a horrendous blunder by Röseler that displays the troubles that Venlo has suffered this season.
Bryan Linssen grabbed a first half consolation after a wicked cross from Oğuzhan Türk was hit by Robert Cullen. Cullen’s shot was saved but Linssen showed his instincts to force the ball home at the second attempt.