Tag Archives: FC Twente

Week 21 Eredivisie Report – Ajax held, PSV shocked and Twente win

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Sunday 2nd February 2014

FC UTRECHT 1-1 AJAX

League leaders Ajax failed to take advantage of Vitesse’s slip-up on Friday with a 1-1 draw on their own against the struggling FC Utrecht.

In Friday night’s game second placed Vitesse were held at fourth placed Feyenoord giving Ajax a chance to extend their lead at the top of Eredivisie. However, Frank de Boer’s side dropped two points at Jan Wouters’ FC Utrecht side who were on a four-game losing streak before kick-off.

The hosts were roared on by the 19,245 inside the Stadion Galgenwaard and they nearly went ahead after just 8 minutes. Right-back Mark van der Maarel surged forward and combined with Stoke City’s Juan Agudelo, who back-heeled the ball back into Van der Maarel’s path who shot over. A minute later, Utrecht had another opportunity though captain Jens Toornstra, after the midfielder had beat Joël Veltman he unfortunately dragged his shot wide.

Ajax got themselves together after the two scares and started creating their own chances and central defender Niclas Moisander came close on 19 minutes. Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne curled a free-kick into the box from the right-wing and the Finnish defender rose above everyone and powered a header towards goal, only for Robbin Ruiter in the Utrecht goal to tip over.

The defending Eredivisie champions took the lead in the 25th minute and it was Daley Blind, the goalscorer. Blind started his career as a left-back but he is really excelling in his new found holding midfielder role and he lashed a low drive into the corner of the goal from 25 yards, the Utrecht crowd was silenced.

Only seven minutes, the scores were tied. Belgian striker Steve de Ridder, formerly of Southampton, deceived the Ajax defence to make it 1-1. A long ball from Ruiter was flicked on by Tommy Oar, the ball fell into the box, De Ridder slipped past Veltman, skipped the ball past Jasper Cillessen and slipped the ball into the empty net.

The Belgian nearly made it two early in the second half with a tremendous volleyed effort that gave Cillessen no chance of saving, but the ball smashed off the crossbar.

Fully aware of Friday’s result in the backs of their mind, Frank de Boer’s men pressed for a winner and on 57 minutes, they should have took the lead. Great link-up play from Thulani Serero and Viktor Fischer, eventually fed Fischer through on goal but the young Dane placed his shot the wrong side of the post.

Ajax had one last chance before the final whistle decided the draw, with Schöne lashing a volley from the right side of area direct from a long ball from Blind, but the midfielder’s effort smashed off the post and away to safety.

De Boer takes his side back to Amsterdam to face Groningen on Thursday night and with Vitesse facing the tough test of AZ Alkmaar on Tuesday, he knows that the champions could have another opportunity to pull away from the chasing pack, and this time the opportunity must not be missed.

TEAMS

UTRECHT: Ruiter, Van der Maarel, Markiet, Delpierre (Badjeck 59), Van der Winden, Ayoub, Sarota, Toornstra, De Ridder (Quesada 76), Oar, Agudelo.

SUBS NOT USED: Verhoeven, Diemers, Bjelica, Klabier, Van Velzen.

GOALS: De Ridder 33.

BOOKINGS: None.

AJAX: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Veltman, Moisander, Boilesen (Poulsen 50), Blind, Klaassen, Serero, Schöne, Bojan (De Jong 65), Fischer.

SUBS NOT USED: Vermeer, Van der Hoorn, Duarte, Sigthórsson, Ligeon.

GOALS: Blind 25.

BOOKINGS: Van Rhijn.

FC Twente doet weer mee na moeizame zege op Cambuur

FC TWENTE 3-1 SC CAMBUUR

FC Twente came from behind to defeat Cambuur 3-1 to further claim third place with a game in hand and just four points off the top of the league. It was a tough game for Michel Jansen’s side especially when Cambuur headed to Enschede full of confidence after turning over Heerenveen 3-1 last weekend.

Last week’s hero for Cambuur, new Nigerian striker Bartholomew Ogbeche controversially won his team a penalty that gave the visitors the lead. Tussling with Rasmus Bengtsson, Ogbeche linked arms with the defender while trying to pull himself back to his feet from a tackle and referee Pol Van Boekel pointed to the spot. Cambuur captain Ramon Leeuwin successful converted the spot-kick on 24 minutes.

Twente pressed for an equaliser with Luc Castaignos coming closest in the first half. Quincy Promes played the 21-year-old through on goal one-on-one with Leonard Nienhuis, but as the striker stretched for the ball he could only poke his effort against the post.

After the break, Twente were pushing the visitors into their own half and within 9 minutes of the restart the scores were level. The inspirational Dušan Tadić placed a right-wing free-kick into the box and Luc Castaignos powered a header past Nienhuis for 1-1.

Six minutes later, on the hour mark Twente had the lead. Tadić played a short corner low into substitute Shadrach Eghan on the edge of the area, the Ghanaian hit a low curling shot that bounced past Nienhuis to make it 2-1.

All three points were clinched 11 minutes from the end with another headed goal, this time Rasmus Bengtsson the scorer. Promes whipped in a corner to the front post and the big Swedish defender nodded home.

Twente now look to continue to their good run of nine games unbeaten away to Heerenveen on Tuesday evening.

TEAMS

TWENTE: Marsman, Rosales, Bengtsson, Bjelland, Schilder (Koppers 56), Promes, Ebecilio, Gutiérrez, Mokhtar (Eghan 59), Tadić, Castaignos (Borven 67).

SUBS NOT USED: Stevens, Djordjevic, Martina, Tapia.

GOALS: Castaignos 54, Eghan 60, Bengtsson 79.

BOOKINGS: Tadić.

CAMBUUR: Nienhuis, Van der Laan, Droste, Leeuwin, Van Moorsel (Mulders 61), Ritzmaier, El Makrini (Bakker 76), Ogbeche (Hemmen 61), Manu, Lukoki.

SUBS NOT USED: Zeinstra, Van Boxel, Pereira, Feldballe.

GOALS: Leeuwin 25.

BOOKINGS: Bijker, Van der Laan, Lukoki.

NEC NIJMEGEN 1-1 GO AHEAD EAGLES

NEC and Go Ahead Eagles shared the points in a poor game, but it was a result that saw the home side lift off the bottom of the Eredivisie standings.

The Nijmegen side will be disappointed not to grab all three points after leading for the majority of the game. They took an early lead with English striker Michael Higdon notching his eighth goal in 16 appearances after just five minutes gone.

Go Ahead did not grab an equalising goal until just before the hour mark with Deniz Türüç smashing home the goal of the weekend from 30 yards out.

TEAMS

NEC: Johnsson, Vermijl, Van Eijden, Haitz, Conboy, Mulder (Foor 61), Rieks, Štefánik (Leiwakabessy 50), Hemlein, Higdon, Jantscher (Jahanbakhsh 73).

SUBS NOT USED: Smits, Nielsen, Gravenberch, Castillion.

GOALS: Higdon 5.

BOOKINGS: Conboy.

GO AHEAD: Ter Mate, Schmidt, Vriends, Van der Linden, Schenk (Haps 78), Overgoor, Falkenburg, Türüç, Antonia (Rijsdijk 89), Kolder, Houtkoop (Godee 86).

SUBS NOT USED: Lucas, Amevor, Lambooij, Pot.

GOALS: Türüç 58.

BOOKINGS: Haps.

RKC WAALWIJK 2-0 PSV

In what has become a bogey ground for PSV, the Mandemakers Stadion has haunted the Eindhoven side again. Former Celtic midfielder Evander Sno hit a double to give Phillip Cocu yet another embarrassing defeat.

It was a case of the same old story for PSV with a total of 8 shots on target and 12 off with no goals. It is strange to say that PSV are struggling to score goals when you think of years past, but with only three goals in the last four goals, Cocu’s side could definitely do with something different up front.

PSV’s most dangerous man was Memphis Depay and he came the closest to scoring throughout, in fact he has 12 shots in total himself, and with only four being off target, that made all PSV’s shots on target being Depay’s.

The Eindhoven dominated with 69% of the possession and the majority coming in the first half, and PSV were unlucky not to be awarded a spot-kick on 23 minutes. Depay again causing trouble in the RKC area, and after he turned Michael Lamey inside out, the defender tugged Depay’s shirt and pulled him down but referee Bas Nijhuis deemed it not to be a foul.

After the interval, it was more of the same for PSV but Cocu had ordered his side to play higher up and it cost them on 54 minutes. Bursting out on the counter attack, Aurelien Joachim and Damiano Schet combined to play in Evander Sno down on the right-wing. The 26-year-old midfielder cut inside, kept his shot low and nutmegged PSV goalie Jeroen Zoet to send the Mandemakers Stadion into raptures.

Philip Cocu brought out attacking pair Zakaria Bakkali and Florian Jozefzoon to try and inject some energy in front of goal but the more PSV attacked, RKC sprung the counter.

It was all over deep into stoppage time when substitute Daniel de Ridder slipped in fellow sub Jean-David Beauguet on the left. The Frenchman pulled the ball back to Sno on the edge of the box who confidently side-footed a first-time effort past Zoet to end the game for PSV.

TEAMS

RKC: Šeda, Lamey, Van Hoevelen, Amieux, Gouano, Anderson (Jungschläger 78), Duits, Sno, Castelen (De Ridder 72), Schet, Joachim (Beauguel 88).

SUBS NOT USED: Van Dijk, Ivens, Tavares, Apau.

GOALS: Sno 54, 90.

BOOKINGS: Lamey.

PSV: Zoet, Willems, Rekik, Bruma, Arias, Maher (Bakkali 76), Schaars, Park, Depay, Locadia, Narsingh (Jozefzoon 76)

SUBS NOT USED: Tyton, Zanka Jørgensen, Brenet, Hiljemark, Hendrix.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: None.

STANDINGS

140202 - Eredivisie

League table courtesy of FIFA.com

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KYLE EBECILIO: EX-ARSENAL YOUTH THRIVING IN THE EREDIVISIE

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In the first Eredivisie match of the New Year, FC Twente took on lowly Heracles, who managed to pull off a couple of wins before the winter break, but got off to a poor start to the second half of the season. FC Twente took the lead early on in the first half and controlled the match throughout the rest of the 90 minutes as they won easily by a score of 3-1. The home side netted a penalty late on in the second half to seal the deal, which has also moved them to the top of the table, at least for the night. However, both Ajax and Vitesse should both be looking to win their matches fairly easily this weekend, so Twente will most likely fall back down into third place.

The Dutch giants came out attacking in a 4-3-3 formation with the sensational Luc Castaignos scoring the second goal of the match. The Twente footballers were allowed to roam from their positions moving forward in order to find space in between the opposition’s defense as they were always moving around. The young striker has scored in 6 of his last 7 Eredivisie matches. When Twente were in defense, they switched to a 4-4-2 formation to overload the midfield area and snuff out any space that might have been left from the other formation. In defense, there were usually 10 players behind the ball with two strikers playing off the shoulders looking to spring into a counter attacking movement looking to cut the opposition’s back four apart.

Kyle Ebecilio was a member of the Feyenoord youth academy until 2010 when European giants Arsenal snatched away this budding Dutch star. Ebecilio thrived in their youth system and broke onto the scene with the Dutch U17 squad where he won the Golden Player award at the under-17 European Championships back in 2011. However, Ebecilio wanted some first team action and he was not going to get it at Arsenal, so in May of 2013, the young Dutchman moved back home and signed a five year contract with FC Twente. Ebecilio stands at 1.82 meters tall and is a big presence in Michel Jensen’s midfield. At still just 18 years of age, Ebecilio wanted first team action and has certainly gotten some this season. In 19 league matches, he has made a total of 18 starts, while being an unused sub just one time.

Ebecilio has a very good work rate in him. He is always working hard, whether the club is moving forward in attack or going back and defending. The Dutchman is always looking for space to move into along the right side of the pitch to deliver crosses into the box so his teammates to get onto the end of them and slide them into the back of the net. Kyle will not blow by any defender but he will stretch the opposition’s defense apart with his triangle passing with his teammates along that flank. In the match against Heracles last night, he did just this.

Ebecilio has a very good work rate in him. He is always working hard, whether the club is moving forward in attack or going back and defending. The Dutchman is always looking for space to move into along the right side of the pitch to deliver crosses into the box so his teammates to get onto the end of them and slide them into the back of the net. Kyle will not blow by any defender but he will stretch the opposition’s defense apart with his triangle passing with his teammates along that flank. In the match against Heracles last night, he did just this.

Although he was fairly anonymous in the first half, Ebecilio stepped up his game in the second half. The young Dutchman got more involved in the attack as he managed to get a shot off, but it was not a good attempt at all. If there is one thing, his goal count will definitely not blow you away, but that is partially due to where he is being played at Twente. This was not the best match he has played this season, but Ebecilio is capable of much better and expect him to do so in the near future. By the time his contract runs out at Twente, he will still be just 23 years of age and look for the bigger clubs around Europe to be scouting him well before then. Despite last night’s match against Heracles, Ebecilio is an excellent player and will continue to develop into a phenomenal player and will feature with the Dutch National squad regularly.

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EREDIVISIE WEEK 21 PREVIEW – Sunday

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Sunday brings another four games in the Eredivisie and Will Burns is back with his picks and like all his tips, you will not see a ‘best bet’ under evens – good luck!

Sunday 2nd February

Utrecht-Ajax

FC UTRECHT vs. AJAX – 11:30

Utrecht face the league leaders Ajax in a fight to end a horrible run that could now stretch to five consecutive defeats. It may an impossible task for Jan Wouters side as Ajax have proved this season to be defensively sound, keeping six clean sheets in their last eight games.

With the amount of injuries that Utrecht have, especially the attacking options, I cannot see Ajax not winning this one and by big margin. The best bet is along at PaddyPower.com and will be Ajax to win by 2 goals.

BURNS’ BEST BET:  Ajax -1 (11/10 – PaddyPower)

Twente-Cambuur

FC TWENTE vs. SC CAMBUUR – 13:30

SC Cambuur’s confidence will be oozing heading into Enschede on Sunday afternoon after two successive wins in the Eredivisie. They aim for a third for the first time ever in their history, however, they will face a tough test against Twente, whose recent home form has tremendous.

Michel Jansen’s side are undefeated in their last ten games, including winning their last three, hitting the net 11 times and conceding just four.

Twente need to win by three clear goals for our bet to come in and I can see Quincy Promes, Luc Castaignos and Dusan Tadic have a field day of chances come Sunday afternoon.

BURNS’ BEST BET: Twente -2 (15/8 – Bet365)

NEC-GoAhead

NEC vs. GO AHEAD EAGLES – 13:30

Go Ahead Eagles have lost six of their last seven away matches in the league as NEC Nijmegen have won their last three home matches in Eredivisie. So everyone must be expecting a NEC win?! Not exactly.

My tip in this one is a draw. NEC fought hard to gain a draw away to second placed Vitesse last weekend, as Go Ahead were unlucky not to clinch a point in the 2-1 defeat at home to Ajax.

Eagles new goalkeeper Stephan Andersen will make his debut in replace for Eloy Room who returned back to parent club Vitesse earlier this week.

BURNS’ BEST BET: Draw (3/1 – Betfair, BetVictor & Bet365)

RKC-PSV

RKC WAALWIJK vs. PSV – 15:30

Apart from the long-term injury to Georginio Wijnaldum, Phillip Cocu has a full strength team heading to Waalwijk to face RKC in the final game of Week 21.

I can see PSV grabbing a narrow win in this one, but do not except many goals. In the last three games there has been under three goals in their last three games. They defeated AZ at home last weekend in a 1-0 win, defeated by Ajax the previous week by the same scoreline and before the winter break, overcoming ADO at the Philips Stadion 2-0.

On the other hand, RKC have drew their last three games at the Mandemakers Stadion and will look to stifle the PSV attack, which obviously works in our tips favour.

BURNS’ BEST BET: Under 2.5 Goals (5/4 – Ladbrokes)

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BIG LACHMAN TO JOIN TWENTE

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PEC Zwolle’s Darryl Lachman is off to Enschede at the end of the season, as the 24-year-old central defender has signed a three-year contract with FC Twente.

Out of contract in the summer, Lachman will join Twente on a free transfer in June, but according to Zwolle’s technical director Gerard Nijkamp, he stated that it is possible that the defender could leave this week.

“The transfer window does not close until Friday at midnight, so it is uncertain whether Darryl completes the season with us so Twente wishes to take him earlier for a fee.” Nijkamp said Wednesday.

The 6ft 2inch Lachman has been a great asset for Zwolle this season, appearing in 16 games and helping his side to four clean sheets. His impressive performances have gained interest from the likes of PSV, Werder Bremen, Heerenveen and Fulham over recent weeks.

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Crystal Palace soaring towards Bjelland

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FC Twente and manager Michel Jansen are bracing for a bid for Danish central defender Andreas Bjelland from English Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace.

Twente-verdediger droomt van Engeland en is trots op interesse

Palace, managed by Tony Pulis, are currently sitting in 16th but only two points off the relegation places and are looking to bolster their defensive options with the 6ft 2 centre-back.

The 25-year-old will be a great asset to Pulis, who is known for his long ball football and uses height to his team’s advantage. The Dane is a master at aerial duels and his great concentration has helped Twente to helped four clean sheets this season when he has played, including a man-of-the-match performance in the narrow 1-0 away win to Cambuur.

The Dane always shows great discipline for a defender and has only been booked this season in 21 games for club and country. For the Danish national side, Bjelland has won 12 international caps and scored twice.

Bjelland has confirmed in the past that he has an ambition to play in England: “Where and when it will be, we must take time, but I have a dream of one day coming to England and playing.”

Whether or not Bjelland will be interested in a move to Palace, remains to be seen but as the London club faces some stiff competition from Russian giants CSKA Moscow for the defender’s signature.

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Week 20 Eredivisie Report – Vitesse held, Ajax clear at the top

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SUNDAY 26TH JANUARY 2014

Week 20 closed with just three games on Sunday as the Groningen-Twente match failed to take place due to a frozen pitch. The games that did go ahead provided great excitement and two more shock results to close the round of games.

Cambuur-Heerenveen

SC CAMBUUR 3-1 HEERENVEEN

SC Cambuur provided their fans with a good day on Sunday with their first win in the Friese Derby since 1994.

Nigerian forward Bartholomew Ogbeche stole the show making his debut for Cambuur, creating one and scoring in the fantastic win. The hosts warmed up their fans in the Cambuur Stadion on a bitterly cold winter’s afternoon in Leeuwarden with a goal after just four minutes.

The goal was created by a long ball from the back of the Cambuur defence, Ogbeche rose above Joey van der Berg with ease to flick the ball into the path of on-loan striker Elvis Manu. Manu overpowered Christian Kum to win the ball and chip the ball over the onrushing Kristoffer Nordfeldt. The stadium erupted as Manu and Ogbeche wheeled away to celebrate with a dance at the corner flag.

Marco van Basten’s men should have equalized on 16 minutes by Leonard Nienhuis pulled off a great save to deny Hakim Ziyech. After Luciano Slagveer crossed from Ziyech just outside the area, Ziyech let fly with a right-foot volley but Nienhuis got across a tipped it out for a corner.

Just before the half-time whistle, Cambuur’s lead was doubled. Heerenveen’s on-loan defender Mitchell Dijks was penalised for a soft foul on Ajax team-mate Jody Lukoki, currently on-loan to Cambuur. The free-kick was given on the right-wing and Marcel Ritzmaier, also on-loan from PSV Eindhoven, whipped the ball into the centre. Once again, winning the aerial duel was Bartholomew Ogbeche who slipped Ramon Zoner to make it 2-0.

Heerenveen came out for the second half hungry for an early goal but they were unable to cope with the speed of the Cambuur attack and with just twenty minutes to go, the home side wrapped up the points. Manu slipped a defence-splitting ball through to Jody Lukoki who beat the offside trap and raced through on goal. With a one-on-one challenge with Nordfeldt, the 21-year-old kept his composure and finished coolly. The game was done and Dwight Lodeweges could be proud of his team’s performance today.

Before the final whistle could be blown, the inevitable happened as Alfred Finnbogason got a consolation goal for Heerenveen, his 19th goal in 17 games. However, it was an embarrassing defeat for Van Basten and his side and will look to bounce back next week at home to ADO. They now sit fifth and six points of fourth place. Meanwhile, for Cambuur the win lifts them up to 13th but they will need to build on this win to climb out of the relegation battle as Lodeweges men are still only three points off bottom side NEC.

TEAMS

CAMBUUR: Nienhuis, Droste, Van der Laan, Bijker, El Makrini, Van Moorsel, Leeuwin, Ritzmaier, Lukoki, Ogbeche (Barto 74), Manu (Manu 91).

SUBS NOT USED: Zeinstra, Van Boxel, Pereira, Bakker, Van Brakel.

GOALS: Manu 4, Ogbeche 44, Lukoki 69.

BOOKINGS: Lukoki

HEERENVEEN: Nordfeldt, Van Anholt, Dijks, Zomer (Sinkgraven 59), Kum, De Roon, Van den Berg (De Kamps 74), Ziyech, Slagveer (Wildschut 57), Finnbogason, Basacikoglu.

SUBS NOT USED: Vandenbussche, Otigba, Marzo, Fazli.

GOALS: Finnbogason 85.

BOOKINGS: Basacikoglu, Finnbogason.

Vitesse-NEC

VITESSE 1-1 NEC NIJMEGEN

Vitesse’s title hopes suffered a bitter blow as they were held at home against relegation candidates NEC in the Gelderse derby.

Vitesse stay second after the draw but it looked promising early on for the Arnhem side after taking the lead on the half hour mark. Star of last week’s win over PEC Zwolle, Christian Atsu whipped in a corner that found defender Dan Mori in the box who headed home past Karl-Johan Johnsson in goal.

The basement boys NEC should have levelled the game up before the interval, after they pressed and had Vitesse on the ropes for the remaining ten minutes of the half.

Vitesse failed to score another and paid the price with just twenty minutes to go. Danish forward Søren Rieks spun in a cross that the Vitesse defence failed to clear and Englishman Michael Higdon notched to tie the game.

The GelreDome crowd went home unhappy and even more so that title rivals Ajax defeated Go Ahead Eagles a few hours later.

TEAMS

VITESSE: Velthuizen, Mori, Van Aanholt, Leerdam, Van der Heijden, Pröpper, Vejinovic, Piazón (Traoré 68), Atsu, Ibarra (Labyad 78), Havenaar.

SUBS NOT USED: Houwen, Achenteh, Van der Struijk, Đurđević, Kazaishvili.

GOALS: Mori 30.

BOOKINGS: None.

NEC: Johnsson, Conboy (Leiwakabessy 77), Van Eijden, Haitz, Vermeijl, Rieks (Foor 65), Koolwijk, Štefánik (Mulder 88), Jantscher, Hemlein, Higdon.

SUBS NOT USED: Smits, Cmovs, Disveld, Castillion.

GOALS: Higdon 71.

BOOKINGS: Van Eijden.

GAE-Ajax

GO AHEAD EAGLES 0-1 AJAX

Ajax struggled to find their finishing in Deventer on Sunday afternoon but a narrow 1-0 win means that they stay top of the pile.

As expected Ajax dominated in the early stages and should have taken the lead after just three minutes, if it were not for a shocking Kolbeinn Sigthórsson miss. Frank de Boer has his head in his hands after Bojan and Davy Klaassen had worked well to head the ball onto the Icelandic striker, but he fired his volley from just a few yards out straight in Eloy Room’s arms.

Ajax’s pressure was relentless but like Sigthórsson, Bojan, Klaassen and Lesley De Sa’s finishing was poor and unable to break the deadlock. Against the run of play, Go Ahead could have gone ahead themselves. Joël Veltman failed to head clear a Jarchinio Antonia cross from the right-wing but the defender got himself in front of Jeffrey Rijsdijk’s attempt to concede a corner.

The first-half petered out and ended goal-less but Ajax fired out of the blocks and were angry that they were not awarded a penalty after 51 minutes. Antonia bundled Klaassen over on the left side of the area, but referee Reinold Wiedemeijer booked the Ajax midfielder for diving, and the majority of the 7,938 attendance were cheering the decision.

De Boer needed a goal and quick and just after the hour mark injected some fresh legs into the attack with the double Dane substitution of Lasse Schöne and Viktor Fischer on for De Sa and the poor Sigthórsson. Within a minute, Fischer nearly opened the scoring but his header from a Klaassen cross forced a save from Room.

The goal finally came on 74 minutes and it was the other substitution that broke the deadlock. After Ajax were awarded a free-kick outside the area courtesy of a Deniz Türüç handball, Lasse Schöne stood up to take it. The Danish midfielder fired his first attempt in the wall but after the rebound returned in his path, his low drive was too powerful for Room to stop and nestle into the corner of the goal.

Ajax held on for the win and due to Vitesse being held by NEC, now sit two points at the top of the Eredivisie league table.

TEAMS

GO AHEAD: Room, Schmidt, Vriends, Van der Linden, Schenk, Overgoor (Amevor 84), Rijsdijk (Lambooij 68), Türüç, Antonia (Kavak 91), Houtkoop, Kolder.

SUBS NOT USED: Cummins, Pot, Oostinjen, Ten Den.

GOALS: None

BOOKINGS: Schmidt, Kolder.

AJAX: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Veltman, Moisander, Boilesen, Blind, Serero (Poulsen 86), Klaassen, De Sa (Fischer 65), Sigthórsson (Schöne 66), Bojan.

SUBS NOT USED: Vermeer, Duarte, Hoesen, Denswil.

GOALS: Schöne 74.

BOOKINGS: Klaassen.

STANDINGS

140127 - Eredivisie

League table courtesy of FIFA.com

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EREDIVISIE WEEK 20 PREVIEW – Sunday

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Sunday 26th January

Cambuur-Heerenveen

SC CAMBUUR vs. HEERENVEEN – 11:30

Last weekend, in the battle of the promoted sides, Cambuur pulled out a great 2-0 win against Go Ahead Eagles, meanwhile, Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen were unlucky not get the win in their 2-2 home draw with Roda JC.

Sunday should prove to be a totally different story for both sides. With Heerenveen’s attack triple threat of Hakim Ziyech, Bilal Basacikoglu and the Icelandic goal machine Alfred Finnbogason, this game promises to deliver goals. Heerenveen have proved this season to have great days away from home, and are undefeated in their last four league games.

Cambuur will find it hard to cope with the speed of Ziyech and Basacikoglu and trying to make sure Finnbogason does not score is also not easy after hitting the net 18 times in just 16 games so far this season. Look for Alfred to come up trumps once again, and lead his team to victory.

BURNS’ BEST BET: Heerenveen to win (8/5 – Betfair)

Vitesse-NEC

VITESSE vs. NEC NIJMEGEN – 11:30

NEC Nijmegen head to Vitesse on Sunday morning failing to win their last FOURTEEN away in the league, and since Vitesse have won seven of their last eight games, I think you can see where this prediction is going.

Even though he missed a penalty last week, whether he scoring or creating, on-loan superstar Lucas Piazón is on fire. The Brazilian is hitting real form for the Arnhem and combining plays with fellow Chelsea player Christian Atsu has fired Vitesse up to second, joint on points with leaders Ajax.

NEC have conceded at least two goals in their four away league matches so my best bet for this one is Vitesse to win by two or more goals, which is a cracking 8/5 at Bet365.

BURNS’ BEST BET: Vitesse to win by 2 goals or more (8/5 – Bet365)

Groningen-Twente

FC GRONINGEN vs. FC TWENTE – 13:30

Sitting in third, FC Twente are in fine form finding all three points in five of their last six games. In all those matches, Twente have been winning the game at half-time and full-time also.

Dušan Tadić, a contender for player of the season, is leading the charge with Twente searching for their second Eredivisie championship. His creativity, along with the speed and attacking prowess of young winger Quincy Promes, supplying striker Luc Castaignos is causing trouble for all Eredivisie defences.

Groningen sit nine points beneath Twente in sixth place and have only won one game in their last six, losing two. I can’t see past Twente taking all three points here and applying a little pressure to the leading pack.

BURNS’ BEST BET: FC Twente HT/FT (2/1 – BetVictor)

GAE-Ajax

GO AHEAD EAGLES vs. AJAX – 13:30

The hottest team in the league are the Eredivisie leaders Ajax, with their winning streak now up to seven matches. Apart from the influential Siem de Jong, the Amsterdammers are at full strength and after overcoming a tough first half against rivals PSV last week, they travel to Deventer to face Go Ahead.

This will be no easy feat for Ajax either with the Eagles undefeated at home in the last three games including the last two winning against PEC Zwolle and Utrecht.

With Vitesse hot on their tail, Ajax need to keep racking up the wins and I cannot see this game ending their winning streak.

BURNS’ BEST BET: Ajax HT/FT (11/10 – BetVictor)

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Week 19 Eredivisie Report – Ajax & Vitesse stay top

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The Eredivisie season resumed this weekend after the winter break and Ajax and Vitesse began their new year with wins to keep them atop of the pile in the Dutch top flight.

Ajax - PSV

The final game of the weekend was the world famous De Klassieker but in all fairness it was a bit of a letdown. Ajax ran out winners against PSV keeping Frank de Boer’s side on top of the division on goal difference. The visitors dominated the opening half, with Ajax on the back foot with left winger Memphis Depay shining the brightest, giving the Ajax defence a torrid time. The young Depay nearly gave Phillip Cocu’s men the lead on 26 minutes with a cute touch that crept just wide after Adam Maher had whipped in the ball.

Two minutes earlier, Jürgen Locadia should have given the Eindhoven side the advantage. Locadia arrive into box on the right, and the on-loan Bryan Ruiz placed him in with a lovely deft chip, but the striker sent his shot inches wide.

With Ajax being forced into their own half for the majority of the first 45 minutes, they relied heavily on the counter attack. After the interval, the hosts came out fighting and on 64 minutes they took the lead and it was an excellent goal. A long ball out of defence from Niclas Moisander found Lasse Schöne on the right-wing Schöne, with fantastic technique hit a first time volleyed cross into the box, where Kolbeinn Sigthórsson nodded past Jeroen Zoet for 1-0.

The goal de-motivated the young PSV side and Ajax pressed for a second, but despite efforts from Davy Klaassen and Viktor Fischer they failed to add to their score. PSV’s title challenge is dust and dusted, if it was not already, as Ajax sit joint top with Vitesse, who defeated PEC Zwolle 2-1 on Saturday evening.

It was an eventful first half with Vitesse a goal ahead after in the third minute. Ghanaian on-loan star Christian Atsu twisted and turned through the Zwolle defence, before sliding the ball home past the helpless Diederik Boer. The visitors were not in the lead for long as Guyon Fernandez notched his fifth goal of the season on ten minutes. Then three minutes later, Vitesse winger Renato Ibarra was tripped in the area, but Lucas Piazón could not place the penalty past Boer. Another Chelsea loanee sealed the win for Vitesse in injury time, with Patrick van Aanholt striding up the field from the left wing to fire home.

On Friday, FC Twente defeated local rivals Heracles by three goals to one in the Derby of the East. Quincy Promes continued his great form firing Twente in the lead halfway through the first half and Luc Castaignos doubled the advantage before the hour mark. The visitors were down to ten-men when defender Jeroen Veldmate was shown the red card but Mark Uth gave Heracles some hope when he scored on 76 minutes with a tremendous solo effort. The points were clinched with minutes to go when Luka Đorđević was brought down by Thomas Bruns and Dušan Tadić converted the spot kick.

Twente are up to 37 points with Feyenoord a point behind them in fourth. Ronald Koeman’s men showed they are still challenging for the championship thumping FC Utrecht 5-2 at the Stadion Galgenwaard on Sunday afternoon. Five goals were shared in a crazy first half and it was the hosts that took the lead when Jens Toornstra capitalised on Jordy Clasie’s mistake on 12 minutes. Feyenoord equalised four minutes later when Ruben Schaken turned in Tonny Vilhena’s shot. The best goal of the game gave the visitors the lead when Italian hitman Graziano Pellè delivered a back-heeled flick to Schaken’s cross from the right. Utrecht levelled the game up when Toornstra notched again on 22 minutes, but Feyenoord went into the break with the goal advantage with a Stefan de Vrij header. Schaken got his second on 72 minutes with Vilhena scoring the fifth with a minute to go.

Heerenveen stay in fifth place despite being held to 2-2 draw on Saturday evening with Roda JC, now managed by Jon Dahl Tomasson. Tomasson will be happy with the away point, especially when he would have feared the worst when Hakim Ziyech put Heerenveen ahead on 12 minutes. The teams went into half-time level, as Guus Hupperts’ cross was fired home by Hungarian striker Krisztián Németh. Alfred Finnbogason notched his 18th of the season after Kees Luijckx blocked the Icelandic striker in the area and Finnbogason stepped up to convert for 2-1. However, Roda did not give up and Hupperts scored the equalising goal with a great show of speed and finishing. The 21-year-old overpowered Christian Kum down the right-wing and hit a wonderful outside of the boot finish from an acute angle to score. Tomasson will look to Hupperts in the coming months to help in the relegation fight.

FC Groningen were unlucky to be held by RKC Waalwijk to a 1-1 draw on Saturday evening, with Michael de Leeuw giving Groningen the lead on the half-hour mark. However, the visitors were reduced to ten-men when debutant Hans Hateboer was shown red for a foul RKC’s Remy Amieux. RKC snatched the draw with an 89-minute Evander Sno penalty after Maikel Kieftenbeld was adjudged to have handled in the penalty area.

Also on Saturday, AZ Alkmaar defeated NAC Breda 3-0. Steven Berghuis scored a brace along with Aron Johansson goal to help AZ climb to seventh place on 27 points.

ADO Den Haag now prop up the league in 18th after suffering a 3-1 defeat away to NEC Nijmegen. Kevin Conboy hit two alongside a Marnick Vermijl effort while a Danny Holla penalty replied for Den Haag. The win meant that NEC leapfrogged ADO into 17th.

Finally, in a battle of the promoted side, SC Cambuur turned over Go Ahead Eagles by two goals to nil, with Marcel Ritzmaier scoring the best goal of the weekend. In the 18th minute, the midfielder, on-loan from PSV hit a spectacular effort from 30 yards out straight past Eloy Room in the Eagles’ goal. Martijn Barto added a second to see Cambuur rise up to 14th while Go Ahead are four points better in 10th.

RESULTS

FC Twente 3-1 Heracles

AZ Alkmaar 3-0 NAC Breda

PEC Zwolle 1-2 Vitesse

RKC Waalwijk 1-1 FC Groningen

Heerenveen 2-2 Roda JC

NEC Nijmegen 3-1 ADO Den Haag

SC Cambuur 2-0 Go Ahead Eagles

FC Utrecht 2-5 Feyenoord

Ajax 1-0 PSV

STANDINGS

140119 - Eredivisie

League table courtesy of FIFA.com

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25 EREDIVISIE STARS OF THE SEASON… SO FAR – PART 5

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The Eredivisie season restarts after the winter break this Friday night, so as a preview, we have decided to rundown the stars of the division so far this season.

Here’s Will Burns with the final five…

FC Utrecht - Robbin Ruiter

The 26-year-old stopper has had a breakthrough season at Utrecht under Jan Wouters, highlighted by his David Seaman-like ability, by saving three penalties already in five months.

Currently averaging 5.2 saves per game, the second highest in the entire league, Ruiter joined Utrecht as a replacement for Michel Vorm in July 2012, who left for Swansea.

His colleagues have not had a successful season at the other end of the pitch, only scoring 26 goals in 18 games, which has left Utrecht sitting in ninth.

FC Twente - Dusan Tadic

Tadić is a tremendously talent left-footed winger, who joined Twente in the summer from FC Groningen. At 25 years old, the Serbian is in the prime of his career and the states this season are showing this to be the case.

Starting all but one game this term from the third place side in the league, Tadić has made seven and scored seven goals, linking fantastically well with colleagues Quincy Promes and Luc Castaignos.

His playmaking skills light a fire under the Enschede side, and so far he has completed a total of 831 including averaging 4.1 key passes per game.

Ajax - Joel Veltman

Joel Veltman was a relatively unknown until this term, and Frank de Boer had no quarms about throwing the 22-year-old in at the deep end. The 6ft 2inch central defender has not disappointed replacing Niclas Moisander after he fell to injury, and also Toby Alderweireld after Ajax cashed in on the Belgian international in the summer.

Starting the season, in the Jupiler League with the Jong Ajax, Veltman has only made nine appearances in the Eredivisie this term, but his partnership with fellow inexperienced Stefano Denswil has been more than successful. Inside the nine appearances, Ajax have only conceded four goals.

PSV - Jetro Willems

Jetro Willems is a 19-year-old left-back with many admirers, and his performances this season has proved that he is on the way to becoming one of the very best. Although, Willems has been hampered with injuries, he has fought past these adversities and became a stronger player.

Linking up well down the left with Memphis Depay, the defender has notched twice from 15 shots on goal and a solitary assist from 21 chances he has created.

It is going to be a real dogfight between Willems and Ajax’s Daley Blind on who will hold that starting left-back spot for the Oranje in Brazil this summer.

Heerenveen - Hakim Ziyech

If you are not a newcomer to the Eredivisie, you will be wondering where this guy has come from? Hakim Ziyech, another young talent at only 20, has been a real find for Heerenveen this campaign.

Inside Marco van Basten’s more conservative 4-3-3 this season, Ziyech has taken over from last season’s playmaking star Filip Djurcic, who left in the summer for Benfica. Ziyech has starred in every game this term, including 16 starts creating seven goals for others (usually Finnbogason), while he has notched six himself.

Even at just such a young age, his tactical restraint, positional awareness, high tempo energy, quick fire decision-making and technical ability has rightfully been praised by the Dutch media. His temperament is also a testimony to his personality and at this early stage in his career, you can see Ziyech is going to be a star of the future.

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25 EREDIVISIE STARS OF THE SEASON… SO FAR – PART 4

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The Eredivisie season restarts after the winter break on Friday night, so as a preview, we have decided to rundown the stars of the division so far this season.

Here’s Will Burns with  the next five…

Vitesse - Kelvin Leerdam

Feyenoord must be ruing the day they let Mr. Leerdam join Vitesse Arnhem on a free transfer in the summer. Although, the Rotterdam side have a fantastic right-back in Daryl Janmaat, he does not have the goalscoring prowess of Kelvin Leerdam.

From sixteen appearances this season, 14 games at right-back, Leerdam has notched up seven goals, including three goals in that last four games. Not bad for a free transfer.

A true attacking full-back, Leerdam is a confident dribbler and at times acting as a supplementary right-winger. The 23-year-old has continued to be dependable defending too. He has made 36 tackles, 23 interceptions and 58 clearances so far this campaign. 

Feyenoord - Graziano Pelle

The Italian hitman is a bit of a godfather in front of goal, showing no mercy and laying all his opponents to rest. Once again, it has been a tremendous season for Pelle, at 29-years-old, he has notched 13 in 16 starts.

The man from Lecce is the epitome of an old-fashioned ‘no. 9’ – the ability to hold the ball up, bringing others into the game, great movement, good in the air, a good football brain and a lethal finisher. It is no wonder how it finds it so easy to score in the Eredivisie.

Feyenoord has scored 36 league goals so far this term, Pelle has scored 36% of them and with the Rotterdam side sitting just four points of the leaders, then a strong challenge to win their first Eredivisie title since the 1998/99 season.

Vitesse - Lucas Piazon

This is personally my pick of the best player of the half-season. Another talent on-loan from Chelsea, no-one can argue that the young Brazilian has not made the most impact out of all of them.

At just 19, he has become Vitesse Arnhem’s quarterback, everytime he receives the ball, the Arnhem side look likely to score. He has amazing figures in front of goal, from 16 starts, Piazón has scored 11 goals and created 8 assists.

With Piazon at the helm, leading the team forward, currently joint on points with Ajax at the top of the Eredivisie, Vitesse look to have the best chance of the past few years in stopping the Amsterdammers stranglehold on the league championship.

FC Twente - Quincy Promes

Promes was has made a real impact at Twente this year and it’s not surprising since he was named the winner of the Eerste Divisie’s player of the year award, last season while at the promoted Go Ahead Eagles.

Sitting on the right side of attack in a 4-3-3, Promes is finishing as many chances, as he creates them. From 15 games, the 22-year-old has scored eight times while providing four assists. He loves a shot from outside the area and has let fire a total of 49 shots.

This season, he has linked up tremendously with Dusan Tadić and Luc Castaignos and all three are responsible to the impressive third place that Twente are sitting in, just three points from joint leaders Ajax and Vitesse, proving that the division is not a two-horse race.

PSV - Karim Rekik

Averaging 6.6 clearances per game, Karim Rekik has become one of the first names on Philip Cocu’s team sheet at PSV this season, although it has been a disappointing campaign for the young side.

Rekik, himself only 19, joined this summer on loan from Manchester City and already PSV Director of Football Marcel Brands has admitted he has enquired about keeping him for the 14/15 season also.

Standing at 6ft 1inches tall, Rekik uses his height to his advantage for aerial duels and headed clearances. He is proving to be strong in the air, currently winning 73.6% of his aerial duels. Karim is capable of playing from the back, an attribute which is steadily gaining real significance for the PSV backline. 

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25 EREDIVISIE STARS OF THE SEASON… SO FAR – PART 1

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The Eredivisie season restarts after the winter break on Friday night, so as a preview, over the next five nights we will be posting the stars of the division so far this term.

Here’s Will Burns with the rundown of the first five…

Vitesse - Patrick van Aanholt

The 23-year-old left back is halfway through his second season on loan in Arnhem and already it’s his best yet. Vitesse sit second in the league, gunning for this first ever Eredivisie championship and Van Aanholt has played his part making 16 appearances. Attacking down the left, Van Aanholt has the opposition quaking in their personalised boots while notching three goals while creating another three in the process.

The young defender’s greatest display this season was in Vitesse’s 6-2 demolition of PSV Eindhoven. Although he scored once and set up two others, he showed faultless composure and anticipation in defence especially when stopping the PSV attacks early in the second half.

Will a return to the Premier League with Chelsea be on the cards? Or does Jose Mourinho see Ryan Bertrand as the natural successor to Ashley Cole?

Ajax - Daley Blind

Son of Dutch legend, Danny, Daley Blind has emerged as the natural first choice left-back for Ajax over the last 18 months. However as of last nine games, Ajax manager Frank de Boer has moved Blind into the centre of midfield where he has continued to shine.

In a total of 14 appearances in the Eredivisie this season, the move to midfield was obviously going to be a success looking at Blind’s passing stats. So far, the 23-year-old has a fantastic 89.2% success rate, completing 856 out of 960 passes.

Already a mainstay in the Oranje first team, his international career could be taking another turn. Van Gaal classes Blind as his first choice left-back, but his recent displays in the holding midfielder position could change Louis’ mind for Brazil in the summer.

FC Groningen - Eric Botteghin

The Brazilian central defender has been an ever-present for Groningen this season, leading the club to sixth in the league standings. Botteghin’s main strength this season has been winning the majority of aerial duels that face him, he is 6ft 4inches tall afterall.

He is a no-nonsense defender, not afraid to boot the ball up the field to give his team time to regroup (168 clearances this season). His long-balls are accurate too; an interesting stat is that the Brazilian has completed a massive 94 of his 128 attempted punts up field.

Joining from NAC Breda in the summer, you have to wonder how long Groningen can hold onto Botteghin, especially when his ‘safety-first’ attitude would be right at home in the Premier League.

FC Twente - Luc Castaignos

Returning back to the Netherlands after an unsuccessful spell in Serie A, Castaignos looks like he could be ready to hit the big leagues again, at only 21-years-old.

At Inter Milan, over two seasons, the powerhouse striker only made six appearances in Italy and failed to make any impact. At Twente, to date, he has notched 23 times in 53 appearances since returning to the Eredivisie, including 10 goals this season.

Castaignos, Dusan Tadic and Quincy Promes have fired Twente into third place so far, just three points behind leaders Ajax. If the goals keep coming, then could a second Eredivisie title be heading to Enschede? Time will tell.

Ajax - Jasper Cillessen

Ajax suffered a terrible start to the season only winning two of the first five games, with goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer, rightly taking the majority of the blame due to some lack of concentration. The carnage continued and in September, Barcelona and PSV hit Ajax with a pair of 4-0 defeats. Meanwhile, Cillessen was keeping attacks at bay for the Jong Ajax side in the Jupiler League. De Boer called the 24-year-old into action, dropping Vermeer and Cillessen has cemented the starting spot his own.

Cillessen has been impressive, with a young inexperienced defence in front of him, he has kept seven clean sheets in 11 games he’s started. Louis van Gaal has found Cillessen impressive too, and has been named the Dutch number one, again replacing Vermeer in recent months.

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EREDIVISIE WEEKS 7 & 8 ROUND-UP

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As our head writer Will Burns was away on holiday the past two weekends he was unable to keep up on the Eredivisie reports. He returns with a quick round-up of the past two matchdays in the Dutch top flight.

20131001 - PSV 4-0 Ajax

The new leaders in the division are PSV Eindhoven on the back of a huge 4-0 win over fierce rivals Ajax.  Frank de Boer’s defending champions tasted their biggest defeat on their since April 2009 when PSV put six past them. After a goal-less first half it was not until 53 mins when the floodgates opened. Slovenian striker Tim Matavz opened the floodgates in the 53rd minute following a mistake by Amsterdam goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer and then Jetro Willems, Oscar Hiljemark and Park Ji-Sung struck in rapid succession to finish off the visitors.  It was a bad week for de Boer who suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat in the Nou Camp against Barcelona the previous Wednesday.

The weekend after, the Eindhoven suffered their first defeat of the Eredivisie season losing 2-1 away to AZ Alkmaar. The league leaders fell behind in the 21st minute when an unmarked Nick Viergever headed in from a corner kick. Memphis Depay went close to levelling the score five minutes later, he fired a strike wide, via the fingertips of the keeper. However, Depay was not to be denied the equaliser, with the 19-year-old on target in the 35th minute with a wonderfully hit free-kick. However, the hosts went ahead in the 57th minute, through a stunning strike from Aron Johannsson. PSV remain top despite the defeat as AZ move up to third in the table.

After receiving the thumping from PSV on matchday 7, Ajax dished out a demolition of their own hitting Go Ahead Eagles for six. De Boer’s side desperately needed a response after their 4-0 mauling and duly delivered a morale-boosting performance. Like a week earlier, Ajax went into the break goal-less but a 48th-minute Jop van der Linden own goal opening the scoring. Young winger Lesley De Sa made it two in the 50th minute while Icelandic striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s quickfire brace complete a spell of four goals in five minutes. It was 5-0 when Lerin Duarte fired home in the 64th minute while Siem De Jong completed the scoring with 21 minutes remaining as Ajax moved into second place, level on 14 points with PEC Zwolle, who were held to a 0-0 draw at home to NAC Breda.

A week earlier Zwolle had slumped to a second successive defeat, going down 3-0 at Vitesse. On-loan Chelsea attacker Lucas Piazon scored twice for the Arnhem side, with his goals in the 35th and 88th minutes sandwiching a strike from Kelvin Leerdam.

Feyenoord continued their improved form with a 1-0 home win over FC Utrecht, Tonny Vilhena netting the only goal 10 minutes before half-time, while NAC Breda beat AZ Alkmaar 3-0. Danny Verbeek, Rydell Poepon and Elson Hooi all struck second-half goals for NAC who have now won back-to-back matches and scored eight times in the process having started the season with three defeats and two draws.

WEEK 7 RESULTS

Friday 20th September

GO AHEAD EAGLES 0-0 CAMBUUR

Saturday 21st September

HERACLES 0-3 FC TWENTE

FC GRONINGEN 4-1 RKC WAALWIJK

ADO DEN HAAG 1-1 NEC NIJMEGEN

RODA JC 3-3 HEERENVEEN

Sunday 22nd September

VITESSE 3-0 PEC ZWOLLE

FEYENOORD 1-0 FC UTRECHT

NAC BREDA 3-0 AZ ALKMAAR

PSV EINDHOVEN 4-0 AJAX

WEEK 8 RESULTS

Saturday 28th September

AZ ALKMAAR 2-1 PSV EINDHOVEN

RKC WAALWIJK 1-4 HERACLES

FC UTRECHT 3-3 RODA JC

PEC ZWOLLE 0-0 NAC BREDA

AJAX 6-0 GO AHEAD EAGLES

Sunday 29th September

NEC NIJMEGEN 2-3 VITESSE

HEERENVEEN 2-1 CAMBUUR

FEYENOORD 4-2 ADO DEN HAAG

FC TWENTE 5-0 FC GRONINGEN

STANDINGS

20131001 - Eredivisie

————-

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EREDIVISIE REPORT: Saturday 14th September 2013

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WEEK 6 – Saturday 14th September 2013

The Eredivisie returns after the international break and PEC Zwolle stay top even though they tasted their first defeat away to Ajax, as PSV stay second with a 2-2 draw at Twente.

20130915 - Mustafa Saymak PEC Zwolle

AJAX 2-1 PEC ZWOLLE

Ajax head coach Frank de Boer admitted that he was lucky to see his side come out of Saturday’s evening game with PEC Zwolle with all three points as he watched his side scored two very lucky goals.

De Boer played with a young eleven after the sales of Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld before the transfer deadline. A new look strikeforce of Viktor Fischer, Danny Hoesen and Tobias Sana was the three-pronged attack with Siem de Jong and Kolbeinn Sigthórsson sitting on the bench, to be used if needed.

Ajax started the brighter and could have been ahead after 12 minutes if it weren’t for a superb point blank save by Kevin Begois in the visiting goal. Zwolle failed to clear a corner and new boy Lerin Duarte, recent signing from Heracles, whipped the ball in to meet the head of defender Stefano Denswil at the back post. Unfortunately for the defender, he placed his header into the hands of Begois who palmed the ball away.

It was visitors who created the next best chance on 36 minutes, and should have been ahead except for an offside decision that the TV replays proved to be incorrect. A Stef Nijland shot stung the hands of Kenneth Vermeer, and Mustafa Saymak rushed in and placed the rebound home, but the linesman had his flag up but the replays showed he was online with last defender.

De Boer and Ron Jans’ saw their teams head in at 0-0, however, three minutes before the whistle Zwolle should have had a penalty. Ricardo van Rhijn, who was given a torrid time by PEC striker Fred Benson, was caught on the camera pulling the Benson’s shirt inside the box. Benson stayed on his feet until the ball was cleared and fell down at the wrong moment, and referee Reinold Wiedemeijer waved away any appeals.

The game was hardly a classic and De Boer made a double substitution just after the hour mark. The returning Siem de Jong, previously out with a collapsed lung, arrived along with the on-loan Bojan replacing the uneventful pairing of Fischer and Hoesen.

Ten minutes later, we finally saw our first goal from South African international Thulani Serero. Fellow compatriot Kamohelo Mokotjo tried to clear the ball out the box but it fell to Serero. The young midfielder smashed a shot goalwards and Mokotjo was blocking the path of goalkeeper Begois and deflected the ball into the net. The Belgian keeper was not happy but it was an unfortunate goal.

On 76 minutes, Ajax doubled the lead in the same lucky fashion. A poor clearance from Begois fed the ball into the feet of Icelandic substitute Sigthórsson whom fired his shot against the foot of the post. The ball flicked up and hit Zwolle defender Maikel van der Werff into the chest which spiralled the rebound into the goal past the helpless Begois. On the sideline, De Boer shook his head instead of celebrating.

Earlier, Zwolle striker Guyon Fernandez arrived replacing Fred Benson and he nearly grabbed a goal back with six minutes to go. A great run allowed the on-loan striker to skip past Vermeer with ease, but his shot from wide was headed off the line by Denswil.

Zwolle got their consolation from a wonderful striker from yet another substitute Giovanni Gravenbeek. The ball fell to the Suriname-born defender on 89 minutes, just outside the box and Gravenbeek hit an outstanding right foot curler into the net smashing down from the underside of the bar.

The hosts anxiously held on for the final moments to dish out a first season defeat for Jans’ Zwolle side, before heading on a flight to Spain for Wednesday’s opening Champions League Group H game with Barcelona. On this performance, Lionel Messi and Neymar should not be troubled by the Dutch champions.

SC Cambuur - Heracles Almelo

SC CAMBUUR 2-0 HERACLES

Cambuur’s impressive start to the campaign continues with a 2-0 victory over the poor Heracles Almelo.

After holding PSV to a 0-0 draw in the Philips Stadion before the break for internationals, the Eredivisie new boys started the game confidently but had to wait until 42 minutes to score their opening goal.  A cross from Oebele Schokker found the head of Michiel Hemmen before Heracles goalkeeper Remko Pasveer could get his punch to it.

Cambuur secured the win with just two minutes remanining when a Marcel Ritzmaier cross, on-loan from PSV, took a deflection off Jason Davidson, which looped over Pasveer to make it 2-0 late on.

Cambuur are now into the top half of the league, while Heracles lose their third game out of the six and sit 12th but after losing Lerin Duarte to Ajax in the window, this season could be a struggle for them. They will look to new signing Iliass Bel Hassani from Sparta Rotterdam to help them create and score the goals, but it is a big ask for the 20-year-old attacking midfielder.

Blom gelast ADO Den Haag - Vitesse af

ADO DEN HAAG P-P VITESSE ARNHEM

A waterlogged pitch saw the postponement of Vitesse’s trip to Den Haag on Saturday evening, the game is yet to be rescheduled.

FC Twente - PSV

FC TWENTE 2-2 PSV EINDHOVEN

Philip Cocu’s PSV stay second in the league table after a 2-2 draw at FC Twente in Saturday’s late game.

The Eindhoven side nearly inadvertently took the lead early on after six minutes when a Joshua Brenet cross was headed off his own crossbar by Danish defender Andreas Bjelland.

Although, Twente looked the more dangerous of the two sides in the opening moments and took the lead on 17 minutes. Nineteen-year-old Shadrach Eghan layed the ball off on the right wing to Luc Castaignos and continued his run into the box. His marker, Stijn Schaars, left the Ghanaian midfielder unmarked and the youngster turned Jeffrey Bruma and fired past Jeroen Zoet.

The hosts could have been further ahead straight off the restart, when some shaky defending allowed Castaignos to fire a shot at Zoet. It was a firm stop by the young ‘keeper. On the half-hour, Zoet was tested again by a Dusan Tadic free-kick but held firm.

The visitors held the greater possession after the goal but and could not create any clear cut opportunities. On 32 minutes, Ji-Sung Park played Georginio Wijnaldum into the box but the midfielder’s shot was straight at Nick Marsman in the Twente goal.

After the break, PSV stepped up their game up, and moments after Memphis Depay had been denied a penalty and stung Marsman’s hands with a vicious shot from the left, he created the equaliser.

Depay surged down the left and swung in a beautiful cross into the back post where Wijnaldum was able to nod home unmarked from close range.

Head coach Philip Cocu introduced Zakaria Bakkali and Ola Toivonen off the bench on 66 minutes replacing Park and Adam Maher and straight away PSV should have took the lead. After a marauding run by Bakkali the ball fell perfectly at Wijnaldum’s feet in the box but he blazed the shot over the bar. It was a poor miss which PSV were made to pay for minutes later.

Tadic twisted Brenet inside out on the left wing and crossed deep for Castaignos to cushion a header into Quincy Promes, who volleyed his side into the lead from a few yards out.

PSV levelled with just seven minutes remaining with Memphis Depay cutting in from the left before firing a shot off defender Roberto Rosales which deflected past Marsman.

The game finished 2-2 and Castaignos and Schaars were involved in a shoving match after the final whistle. The big Twente striker had to be restrained by players from both sides and may be trouble from the KNVB after an investigation.

This is now PSV’s third league draw in succession and they will now entertain Bulgarian side Ludogorets on Thursday in their opening Europa League Group B game.

REMAINDER OF WEEK 6 FIXTURES

SUNDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER

NEC NIJMEGEN vs. FEYENOORD

AZ ALKMAAR vs. GO AHEAD EAGLES

HEERENVEEN vs. FC GRONINGEN

RODA JC vs. NAC BREDA

FC UTRECHT vs. RKC WAALWIJK

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WillBurns

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