Tag Archives: Feyenoord



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

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

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

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

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


De Graafschap 1-2 VVV Venlo

ADO Den Haag 0-7 PSV Eindhoven

Willem II 2-2 Excelsior

AFC Ajax 3-0 FC Groningen

AZ Alkmaar 1-1 Feyenoord

SC Heerenveen 3-5 Heracles Almelo

FC Utrecht 1-2 FC Emmen

NAC Breda 2-3 Fortuna Sittard

PEC Zwolle 0-2 Vitesse Arnhem


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


FC Emmen 1-1 De Graafschap

VVV Venlo 1-1 SC Heerenveen

PSV Eindhoven 6-1 Willem II

Excelsior 2-4 ADO Den Haag

Fortuna Sittard 1-1 FC Utrecht

Fc Groningen 0-1 PEC Zwolle

Heracles Almelo 3-2 AZ Alkmaar

Vitesse Arnhem 0-4 AFC Ajax

Feyenoord 4-2 NAC Breda


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Eredivisie Betting: Lets back goals to boost our profits


Will Burns (with a little help from Steve Davies) cleaned up last night in the Eerste Divisie nailing two out of two bets for a profit of £31.00 off the MVV-Go Ahead match. Now that the football season is in full swing and new signings are settling in, here’s a treble for Saturday and Sunday’s Eredivisie.

robin van persie

There’s three shorter prices than I normally tips today but if we combine them we nearly get £45 back from a £10 stake.

First off, I see goals aplenty in the VVV-Venlo vs. SC Heerenveen (Kick Off 17.30BST) match tonight. I feel this will be a very open game with chances at both ends throughout the 90 minutes. Last time out, Jan Olde Riekerink’s Heerenveen hosted Feyenoord in an eight-goal thriller that ended in the Friesland side losing 5-3 to the Rotterdammers. Week before that was a valiant 1-1 draw at home to Vitesse, which could have easily seen more goals with Vitesse having 23 goals attempts. The opening week saw Riekerink’s side beat PEC Zwolle 3-2 and again the opposition saw 18 chances throughout the game. I see VVV experiencing similar joy against the Heerenveen defence as well as taking some punishment themselves. I side more with the Heerenveen win rather than the draw or a home win but let’s play it safe and have a dabble on Over 2.5 Goals.

Similar thoughts in the next game but I am unsure of the striking abilities of either side as ADO Den Haag visiting Excelsior on Saturday evening at 18.45BST. In the last six home games in all competitions, Excelsior has seen goals at either end. In all three league games for ADO so far, they have see goals in both ends in all three outings. I see Both Teams to Score as our best chance of profit in this game so this is my second entry in the treble.

Mitchell van der Gaag’s NAC Breda have not started the season well and face a daunting trip to De Kuip on Sunday afternoon (15:45BST) for our final tip. Despite a decent 3-0 win at home to De Graafschap two weeks ago, they suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Excelsior last weekend. AZ Alkmaar pasted them 5-0 on the opening day and I see more of the same on the Sunday in Rotterdam. Feyenoord after an initial blip in the league, a 2-0 defeat away to De Graafschap, have looked unstoppable ever since. Smashing Excelsior 3-0 in the first home game of the season and then putting five past Heerenveen, as earlier mentioned. Feyenoord -1 on the handicap rounds out our treble.

Good luck if you’re betting!


VVV-Heerenveen: Over 2.5 Goals

Excelsior-ADO: Both Teams to Score

Feyenoord-NAC: Feyenoord -1

£10 on 4.39 10 Bet

Season Record


Profit – £54.25


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Eredivisie Team of the Week: Ziyech is our silky star man

Welcome to week three of the Total Dutch Football.com Eredivisie Player of the Year tournament. Every week Will Burns and Steve Davies select the best 11 from that week’s action and each player is awarded one point. One member of the team will win the ‘Player of the Week’ award and be awarded two points. Check the current standings here.

Hakim Ziyech was our standout player of the week. The Moroccan international was influential in the 5-0 drubbing over FC Emmen, torturing the defence with his plays and shots.

Luuk de Jong snatched his first two goals of the season in a last gasp 2-1 win over PEC Zwolle. Three Willem II players made the team. Fernando Lewis, Donis Avdijaj and Fran Sol were the pick of the team that thumped Heracles by five goals to nil.

More next week. Remember to keep an eye on the standings of the Player of the Season tournament by clicking here.


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EREDIVISIE REPORT: Tadic to the rescue for Ajax


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

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

Image result for dusan tadic

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

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

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

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

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

Results: Week 2

FC Groningen 0-1 Willem II

NAC Breda 3-0 De Graafschap

VVV Venlo 0-1 AFC Ajax

Fortuna Sittard 1-2 PSV Eindhoven

Heracles Almelo 4-2 ADO Den Haag

FC Utrecht 2-0 PEC Zwolle

Feyenoord 3-0 Excelsior

FC Emmen 1-4 AZ Alkmaar

SC Heerenveen 1-1 Vitesse Arnhem


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Eredivisie Team of the Week: RVP is the week’s MVP

Welcome to week two of the Total Dutch Football.com Eredivisie Player of the Year tournament. Every week Will Burns and Steve Davies select the best 11 from that week’s action and each player is awarded one point. One member of the team will win the ‘Player of the Week’ award and be awarded two points. Check the current standings here.

Week two sees Robin van Persie claim the Player of the Week award after the shift he put in during Feyenoord’s 3-0 win over Rotterdam rivals Excelsior. Scoring one and creating one, he got our vote of the standout star this weekend.

Making their second week in a row is VVV goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall, Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt and AZ Alkmaar pair Thomas Ouwejan and Teun Koopmeiners. Joining his AZ teammates is Ousamma Idrissi who notched two goals, as did Kristoffer Peterson who guided Heracles to defeat ADO 4-2 on Saturday.

Hirving Lozano, arguably last years’s MVP, grabbed a slot in our team by scoring the opener in PSV’s 2-1 away to Fortuna Sittard.

Rounding out the team is Sean Klaiber, goal-scoring defender from FC Utrecht and Jens Toornstra of Feyenoord, both helped their teams to wins.

More next week. Remember to keep an eye on the standings of the Player of the Season tournament by clicking here.


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EREDIVISIE Week One Preview and Betting Tips


Will Burns makes his return with three selections for this opening weekend of Eredivisie action.

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PSV vs. FC Utrecht

Saturday, 19:45

We witnessed major change in Eindhoven this past summer as manager Philip Cocu left to take on a new challenge in Turkey with Fenerbahçe. He was replaced by former team-mate Marc van Bommel despite a lack of experience at this level. Last weekend, Van Bommel’s debut did get off to a good start losing on penalties to rivals Feyenoord as the Rotterdammers lifted the Johan Cruyff Schaal.

This weekend, Van Bommel begins the quest to retain the Eredivisie title against FC Utrecht and he will be encouraged by the talent he has inherited in the PSV squad. A major plus over the summer is the decision of Mexican superstar Hirving Lozano to stay in Eindhoven despite impressing at the World Cup in Russia and attraction attention from some major clubs across Europe.

De Boeren have seen success in 21 of their last 22 home matches against Utrecht in all competitions and I predict more the same on Saturday evening with plenty of goals. Utrecht saw masses of goal action on their travels last season, but specifically in 2018 so far as they have seen over 2.5 goals in their last eight away games.

PSV have notched at least two goals in nine of their last 10 games against Utrecht and with attacking talents like Lozano, Luuk de Jong and Steven Bergwijn at their disposal I feel getting on PSV on the handicap is the best bet in this one. 

Recommended Bet: PSV -1 Asian Handicap – £10 on at 2.20 to win £22.00 at Paddy Power

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De Graafschap vs. Feyenoord

Sunday, 13:30

Feyenoord were hammered four goals without reply by Slovakian underdogs AS Trenčín on Thursday night and it will not get any easier when they travel to Doetinchem to face Eredivisie new boys De Graafschap.

An embarrassing defeat in European qualification has not provided Giovanni van Bronckhorst with the best preparation for the new Eredivisie season. The former Arsenal and Celtic man has to contend with the absences of summer signing Yassin Ayoub and last season’s top scorer Nicolai Jörgensen too which will hamper their creation going forward.

De Graafschap will see this as an excellent opportunity to claim a huge scalp and defeat the Rotterdam giants, who start with the inexperienced 20-year-old Justin Bijlow in goal, and they may just have one eye on Thursday’s night return game against Trenčín.

Taking all this into account, the home fans at the Stadion De Vijverberg could be celebrating on Sunday afternoon. It’s long odds but I placing a bet on De Graafschap Draw No Bet at 3/1 is worth a punt.

Recommended Bet: De Graafschap Draw No Bet – £10 on at 4.00 to win £40.00 at 888Sport

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Vitesse Arnhem vs. FC Groningen

Sunday, 13:30

Vitesse Arnhem are already three weeks into their new campaign due to the qualifying stages of the Europa League. Leonid Slutsky’s side have successfully dispatched Romania outfit FC Viitorul 5-3 on aggregate and were defeated 1-0 by FC Basel on Thursday night in their first leg of the third round of qualification.

Their opponents on Sunday, FC Groningen head into their first competitive game which surely gives the hosts the advantage, however Vitesse will see the second leg against Basel vitally important financially and may have thoughts elsewhere on Sunday afternoon. Groningen have become draw specialists after claiming just a point in five of their last six away league games and four of those games finished 1-1.

New manager Danny Buijs will be very pleased if his side can leave the Gelredome with a point on the opening weekend and I see that as the most likely result.

Recommended Bet: Draw – £10 on at 4.20 to win £42.00 at Betfair


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EREDIVISIE 2017/18 REPORT: Week Twenty-Three


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for Vitesse Arnhem 3-1 Feyenoord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Results: Week 23

Heracles 1-0 Willem II

FC Utrecht 2-1 PEC Zwolle

Sparta Rotterdam 1-2 PSV Eindhoven

SC Heerenveen 1-1 Roda JC

AZ Alkmaar 0-0 VVV Venlo

AFC Ajax 2-1 FC Twente

Excelsior 0-0 NAC Breda

Vitesse Arnhem 3-1 Feyenoord

FC Groningen 0-0 ADO Den Haag


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30th January – 1st February 2018

The quarter final stage of this season’s KNVB Beker got underway on Tuesday evening at De Grolsch Veste where three goals in the space of sixteen second half minutes saw FC Twente end Eerste Divisie outfit, Cambuur’s hopes of making a second successive appearance in the final four of the competition.

Having amassed a formidable cup pedigree over the course of the past two seasons, the away side appeared on course to claim yet another big scalp when Nigel Robertha sent an untracked Mathias Schils clear to slot the ball past an onrushing Joel Drommel from just inside the area to break the deadlock twelve minutes before the break.

Despite enjoying a half time lead, the visitors would find themselves pegged back just before the hour when the home side were handed the opportunity to restore parity after Martijn van der Laan pulled Tom Boere to the ground on the edge of the box, leaving Oussama Assaidi to dispatch the resultant spot kick.

Buoyed by the Moroccan’s strike, the hosts would edge themselves ahead just eight minutes later when Adam Maher curled a free kick from just outside the area into the top left hand corner of Erik Cummins’ net before striking again fourteen minutes from time with a spectacular long range effort that left the visiting ‘keeper grasping at thin air to dispel any hopes the visitors may have harboured of staging a late comeback.

Wednesday’s cup action got underway at the AFAS Stadion where four-time cup winners, AZ Alkmaar remained on course to lift the trophy for the first time since 2013 by hitting an undermanned PEC Zwolle for four.

Buoyed by having claimed their first victory since the turn of the year by scoring twice in the opening fourteen minutes of their encounter with Willem II on Sunday afternoon, it took just twenty-one minutes for John van den Brom’s men to break the deadlock when, having been set away by a long ball from Stijn Wuytens, Wout Weghorst shrugged off the attentions of Dirk Marcellis and chipped the ball delightfully over an onrushing Diederik Boer to put his side a goal to the good.

Despite Wouter Marinus restoring parity for the visitors by glancing home a skewed effort from Younes Namli on the edge of the box just ten minutes later, when an untracked Guus Til ghosted in to fire home an Oussama Idrissi corner five minutes before the break things would swing back in the home side’s favour and when visiting ‘keeper, Boer was given his marching orders by referee, Bas Nijhuis, for handling the ball outside his area after haring off his line to snuff out an Alireza Jahanbakhsh-led breakaway nine minutes after the restart, John van ‘t Schip’s side were left with the proverbial mountain to climb.

Any thoughts of a comeback were dispelled just six minutes later when, having drawn the attentions of stand-in ‘keeper, Mickey van der Hart, Weghorst picked out an unmarked Idrissi at the back post to make it three before the AZ skipper claimed his second of the evening after being slipped in by an unselfish Jahanbakhsh seconds after the Iranian international had been sent clear by an incisive through ball from Fredrik Midtsjø nineteen minutes from time.

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The night’s action was concluded at De Kuip where 2016 cup winners, Feyenoord ended table-topping, PSV Eindhoven’s hopes of securing a double in the tie of the round.

The importance of this game wasn’t lost on the hosts who took just three minutes to break the deadlock when Sam Larsson beat Santiago Arias to slide the ball into an unguarded net after Jeroen Zoet could only partially block a low drive from Steven Berghuis, whose swift give and go with Nicolai Jørgensen had unhinged the visitors back line seconds earlier.

With any chance of defending their Eredivisie crown now long gone, the home side ensured that they would remain on course to add to August’s Johan Cruijff Schaal triumph when Tonny Vilhena doubled the host’s lead with a deflected strike from just outside the area after the away side could only partially clear a Larsson corner from the left ten minutes before the break.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side might have made their victory even more emphatic but, despite initially allowing a 59th minute effort by Jørgensen, referee, Pol van Boekel later chalked off the Danish international’s strike after consulting with the video referee as replays showed the 27-year-old to have strayed marginally offside as Renato Tapia set him away with an incisive through-ball.

Despite seeing Brad Jones palm a Mauro Junior free kick onto the bar just three minutes later there ultimately proved to be no coming back for PSV as the hosts held on to claim a semi-final berth.

The one remaining quarter final tie took place on Thursday evening in Tilburg where penalties were required to separate hosts, Willem II and Roda JC, with the home side edging out their guests 5-4 to claim a place in the last four of the competition.

Despite a covering Daryl Werker clearing a goal-bound effort from Fran Sol off the line thirteen minutes in and Fernando Lewis striking the foot of Hidde Jurjus’ right hand upright just three minutes later, the tie would remain scoreless until eight minutes before the break when, with Fernando Lewis having been penalised for pulling a marauding Jannes Vansteenkiste down inside the area, a nonchalantly taken spot kick from Feyenoord loanee, Simon Gustafson put the away side into a somewhat undeserving lead.

However, the visitor’s advantage would last just two minutes before Vansteenkiste’s attempted clearance of a Thom Haye free kick fell invitingly for Bartholomew Ogbeche to nod the ball beyond a static Jurjus.

The visitors would restore their advantage three minutes into the second half when Schalke loanee, Donis Avdijaj cut in from the left and unleashed a blistering drive into the top left hand corner of Mattijs Branderhorst’s net.

However, the home side would claw their way back onto level terms for a second time just after the hour when a deflected Konstantinos Tsimikas free kick found its way past Jurjus and the host’s Greek defender might have secured his side’s place in the final four in similar fashion were it not for a covering Henk Dijkhuizen, who was on hand to head the 21-year-old’s 66th minute set piece off the line.

With the game headed for extra time the away side looked to have snatched a late winner but Avdijaj’s 82nd minute effort was ruled out by the video referee, who deemed Mikhail Rosheuvel to have handled the ball earlier in the move.

The hosts might have snatched it at the death when Haye saw his volley from just outside the area clip the outside of Jurjus’ left hand upright seconds after Christian Kum had cleared an Ogbeche effort off the line when another Tsimikas free kick sparked chaos inside the visitor’s box in the first minute of added time.

Despite Mohamed El Hankouri striking the foot of Jurjus’ right hand upright with a low drive from the edge of the area seconds after replacing Haye during the break in extra time, the game would go to penalties with the decisive moment coming when, with the hosts having converted all five of their spot kicks, second half substitute, Tsiy William Ndenge saw his attempt saved by Branderhorst.


Quarter Finals

FC Twente 3-1 Cambuur

AZ Alkmaar 4-1 PEC Zwolle

Feyenoord 2-0 PSV Eindhoven

Willem II 2-2 Roda JC

(Willem II win 5-4 on penalties)

Semi Final Draw

AZ Alkmaar vs FC Twente

Feyenoord vs Willem II


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EREDIVISIE 2017/18 REPORT: Week Twenty


Despite being handed a late cameo as an 81st minute replacement, Robin van Persie’s long-awaited Feyenoord return ultimately ended in disappointment as the reigning Eredivisie champions were held to a frustrating draw in their rearranged Round 15 clash with FC Utrecht at the Stadion Galgenwaard on Wednesday evening.

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Things appeared to be going the way of Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side when a speculative effort by Sam Larsson from just outside the area left David Jensen grasping at thin air after the ball took a wicked bounce on its way into the back of the host’s net with twenty-three minutes on the clock.

However, the away side would ultimately have to be content with a point after Gyrano Kerk capitalised on some ponderous play by Renato Tapia to steal in behind the visitor’s back line and beat an exposed Brad Jones four minutes before the break.

The twentieth round of Eredivisie action got underway on Friday evening in Friesland where Heerenveen came from behind to condemn rock bottom Sparta Rotterdam to an eighth straight loss.

Despite tasting defeat in each of his two outings thus far as Sparta coach, things were looking up early on for Dick Advocaat, whose side got off to the perfect start when Julian Chabot nodded in a Fred Friday flick on from close range following a corner from the left with just two minutes gone.

However, the home side would restore parity on the quarter hour mark when a marauding Arber Zeneli picked out an unmarked Reza Ghoochannejhad, who capped off a swift counter attack by tapping the ball home from close range.

In a game that could have gone either way it was the hosts who would ultimately bag the points when former Sparta defender, Denzel Dumfries cut in from the right and caught out Leonard Nienhuis with a fierce drive to the visiting ‘keeper’s near post twenty minutes into the second half to leave his old club rooted to the foot of the standings and his current employers a point outside the UEFA Europa League play-off places.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action got underway with a six-goal thriller in Groningen.

Despite edging their way into the lead twenty-eight minutes in when Jesper Drost nodded the ball into the path of Tom van Weert for the former Excelsior marksman to volley home his sixth of the campaign in all competitions, the host’s advantage would last just six minutes when a quickly taken free kick by Brahim Darri allowed Jamiro Monteiro to steal a march on the home side’s rear guard before beating Sergio Padt with a low drive from just inside the area to claw visiting, Heracles back on level terms.

However, the hosts would restore their advantage two minutes before the break when Bram Castro could only parry a low cross from Mimoun Mahi into the path of Drost, who gleefully slotted the ball home from just outside the box before extending that lead further when an incisive through-ball from Ritsu Doan sent Mahi away to turn Dries Wuytens inside out before firing the ball beyond an exposed Castro to claim his seventh of the season in all competitions on the stroke of half time.

The points appeared to be going the way of the home side until eighteen minutes into the second half when Brandley Kuwas hit the by-line and cut the ball back for an untracked Vincent Vermeij to pull John Stegeman’s side back into the game.

The visitors would complete the comeback when an over-hit cross from Robin Pröpper found the inside of Padt’s right hand upright twelve minutes from time.

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Elsewhere, a fifth-straight victory in all competitions saw PSV Eindhoven extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.

It took Phillip Cocu’s men just four minutes to break the deadlock in Enschede – Mexican international, Hirving Lozano nodding home a Steven Bergwijn cross at the back post to bag his fourteenth of the campaign in all competitions.

Despite their precarious league position, FC Twente kept their table-topping guests in sight until the last minute of normal time when an incisive through-ball from substitute, Mauro Junior sent a marauding Santiago Arias clear to stab the ball past an exposed Joel Drommel from just outside the box.

At the same time, a Mason Mount effort fifteen minutes from time saw Vitesse Arnhem snatch all three points against high-flying, PEC Zwolle.

Buoyed by having taken four points from their last six, it was the visitors who were first to strike at the MAC3PARK Stadion when Bryan Linssen showed some remarkable skill to flick a Thomas Bruns cross over his head before firing the ball low and hard past a static Diederik Boer to claim his ninth of the campaign in all competitions from just inside the area.

However, the hosts would claw their way back onto level terms thirteen minutes into the second half when a speculative Younes Namli effort from well outside the area caught out Remko Pasveer in the visitor’s net.

With the game seemingly headed for a draw, it was Chelsea loanee, Mason Mount who ultimately proved the difference when the 19-year-old unleashed a looping free kick that left Boer grasping at thin air to snatch all three points for Henk Fraser’s side fifteen minutes from time.

Things might have been different for the hosts had second half substitute, Stef Nijland’s volley from just inside the area found the back of the net instead of clipping the outside of Pasveer’s left hand upright four minutes from time.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action was concluded at the Rat Verlegh Stadion where a Lennart Thy strike seventeen minutes from time saw visiting, VVV Venlo claim all three points at the expense of struggling, NAC Breda.

Things might have been different for the hosts had a flicked header from Rai Vloet following an Angelino free kick found the back of Lars Unnerstall’s net instead of coming back off the visiting ‘keeper’s right hand upright just three minutes earlier.

Sunday’s Eredivisie action got underway at the Stadion Galgenwaard where newly appointed Ajax coach, Erik ten Hag’s return to former club, FC Utrecht ended in stalemate to leave the Amsterdam giants seven points adrift of table-topping PSV Eindhoven.

Yet the visitors might have snatched the points late on had Donny van der Beek’s goal-bound effort not been blocked by Ramon Leeuwin and Justin Kluivert’s follow-up not been headed off the line by a covering Rico Strieder after David Jensen had fumbled a Lasse Schone corner six minutes from time.

However, while there may have been no fireworks on the field of play the sparks were certainly flying off it when the already substituted, Lukas Görtler was given his marching orders by referee, Danny Makkelie a minute into added time after the previously booked German forward refused to give Justin Kluivert the ball after it had gone out for a throw in.

Elsewhere, a Dani Schahin effort six minutes into the second half ultimately proved enough to see Roda JC end a run of five league games without a win at the expense of an undermanned Excelsior.

Despite the end result, things had begun promisingly for the visitors when Milan Massop headed home a Hicham Faik free kick to open the scoring in the 16th minute.

However, the hosts, who began the day just a point above bottom-of-the-table Sparta Rotterdam, would restore parity on the stroke of half time when Mikhail Rosheuvel slipped in Jorn Vancamp for the man on loan from Anderlecht to claim his first of the campaign.

Buoyed by Vancamp’s leveller, the home side would emerge for the second half with an added spring in their step and edge themselves into what would ultimately prove to be an unassailable lead just six minutes after the restart when a pinpoint cross from Rosheuvel found the head of Dani Schahin, who beat Theo Zwarthoed to claim his eighth goal of the season in all competitions.

However, the visitors weren’t quite finished yet and might have claimed a share of the spoils had Stanley Elbers found the back of the net instead of clipping the outside of Hidde Jurjus’ right hand upright with the home ‘keeper stranded and the goal gaping following a lung-bursting run and cut-back by Mike van Duinen fourteen minutes from time.

With the points slipping away and time running out, the visitor’s misery was compounded further when Luigi Bruins received his marching orders from referee, Martin Perez after picking up his second booking of the match following a rash lunge on Donis Avdijaj.

Meanwhile, second half goals from Tonny Vilhena, Steven Berghuis and Jens Toornstra saw Feyenoord get back to winning ways at the expense of visiting, ADO Den Haag.

Following a dour opening period in which the only real chance of note saw the returning Nicolai Jørgensen strike the foot of Robert Zwinkels’ right hand upright in the 24th minute, it was the hosts who took the game by the scruff of the neck nine minutes into the second half when an untracked Tonny Vilhena headed home a Steven Berghuis cross at the back post.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side would go on to double their advantage in the 68th minute when Steven Berghuis curled the ball home from just outside the area seconds after a goal-bound effort from Jørgensen had been blocked on the line by Elson Hooi.

However, just when it appeared that the game was slipping away from Alfons Groenendijk’s side, an attempted clearance by Sven van Beek, following a corner by Abdenasser El Khayati, fell invitingly for former Feyenoord man, Lex Immers to volley the visitors right back into the game nineteen minutes from time.

Yet, having taken just one point from a possible six since the turn of the year, the reigning Eredivisie champions were in no mood to allow more points to slip through their fingers and, ten minutes from time the hosts sealed the win when a neat give and go between Berghuis and Jens Toornstra ended with the latter squeezing the ball between the fingers of an exposed Zwinkels from mid-way inside the area.

The twentieth round of Eredivisie action was concluded in Tilburg where two goals inside the opening quarter of an hour set AZ Alkmaar on the road to victory against Willem II.

Having taken just six minutes to break the deadlock when a perfectly weighted through-ball from Alireza Jahanbakhsh sent Mats Seuntjens clear to slot the ball past an onrushing Mattijs Branderhorst, the away side would go on to double their advantage just eight minutes later when Oussama Idrissi set the Iranian international away to claim his ninth of the campaign in all competitions.

The hosts believed they had reduced the arrears two minutes before the break when a header from Bartholomew Ogbeche, that was blocked by the left shoulder of a covering Seuntjens, appeared to have crossed the line.

However, despite replays clearly showing this to be the case, the home side’s appeals fell on deaf ears and, try as they might, there was no way back for Erwin van de Looi’s men thereafter as the visitors held out to cut the gap between themselves and second-placed Ajax to three points.

Result: Week 15

FC Utrecht 1-1 Feyenoord

Result: Week 20

SC Heerenveen 2-1 Sparta Rotterdam

FC Groningen 3-3 Heracles Almelo

FC Twente 0-2 PSV Eindhoven

PEC Zwolle 1-2 Vitesse Arnhem

NAC Breda 0-1 VVV Venlo

FC Utrecht 0-0 AFC Ajax

Roda JC 2-1 Excelsior

Feyenoord 3-1 ADO Den Haag

Willem II 0-2 AZ Alkmaar


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Can Newcastle land Feyenoord’s £20m Great Dane?

It emerged earlier this week that the usually financially hand-cuffed Premier League club Newcastle United were set to bid £20m for a striker.  The name of the player was a mystery until the cat was out the bag late Tuesday night. The Dutch press received a leak from Feyenoord that the player in question was indeed Danish international Nicolai Jørgensen writes Will Burns.

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Last year’s Eredivisie top scorer with a 21 goals, Jørgensen has been valued by Martin van Geel, Feyenoord’s sporting director at £20m, but Newcastle have made a bid nowhere near that valuation as time of writing.

Now the Rotterdammers may well be playing financial hard ball, it’s understandable why. While rivals Ajax and PSV are profiting well from England’s megabucks (selling stars consistently to the Premier League), Feyenoord’s income is set to heavily diminish next term due to the incredibly likely failure to qualify for the Champions League next season. Currently sitting in fifth on 33 points, Feyenoord are 16 points behind current league leaders PSV.

Meanwhile, taking a lower offer for the Dane may be an option after bringing club legend Robin van Persie home this past week. Although the 34-year-old will be taking a pay cut from times past, he will still make a dent in the profit margins.

In this inflated world of the transfer windows, signing on-fees and agents is Jørgensen worth £20m in today’s market?  I’m no fortune teller but if Newcastle United can land the striker, this is what I see they are getting for the hefty fee…

A Proven Asset

The 27-year-old Jørgensen began his footballing journey in his homeland of Denmark as a left-winger and stayed in that position for the majority of his career. After exciting crowds, cutting inside and striding past defences during his youth career at Akademisk Boldklub, he earned a transfer to the bright lights of the Bundesliga at just aged 19 with Bayer Leverkusen. It proved to be a big step, too early as he struggled to win a starting berth in the first team and moved out on loan unsuccessfully to Kaiserslautern until returning to Denmark with FC Copenhagen.

Due to his 6ft 3inch height, he was moved into a target man role before heading to Rotterdam in June 2016 for €3.5m from Copenhagen where his presence really took them to greatness. The Løverne clinching the Danish league title two times and runner-up twice in his five years at the club. He notched a total of 51 times in 137 appearances in all competitions.

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He continued his trophy collecting inside just nine months in Holland, claiming the Eredivisie Golden Boot with the aforementioned 21 strikes, helping Feyenoord on their way to their first Eredivisie shield since 1999.

Now, Newcastle United have yet to win a major trophy since 1969, I’m not saying he can work a miracle to make them title contenders however he can add a lot to the team. But please don’t expect a prolific goalscorer, though he could encourage others to help fill that void.

Powerhouse and Poacher

Last season, even though he owns a towering frame, Jørgensen did not score a header, not a bad thing though as playing along with Feyenoord’s short passing football game, he displayed a great poacher’s instinct with fantastic reaction and composed, cool finishing. He possesses decent speed, great technical ability with superb passing range and link-up play. During the championship winning season in Rotterdam last year, along with notching the 21 goals – he layed on 11 assists.  His power allows him to hold a ball up and torture weaker defenders and if you have fast wingers on the counter attack, a chance is likely to be created.

After speaking to many that know all about the Danish game when playing internationally under Åge Hareide’s Denmark, Jørgensen has become an asset. After the years of possession football under Morten Olsen, Hareide changed the Danes attacking methods to a direct, physical style over the past six months and saw great results. Again, Jørgensen was a real key in this success. He showed he can provide an aerial threat, providing knock-ons for the vertical runs of speedster Pione Sisto from the wings.

A Future on Tyneside?

Although we have to be realistic here and realise the Eredivisie is a massive gulf in class to England’s Premier League, he does seem an ideal signing at this time for Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle. A side that lacks the domineering presence in the air to give them a Plan B in troubled times.

He gives you an opportunity to complement a direct approach and win headers in the 18 yard box when you really need that goal. He is someone who will be on the line, on the penalty spot ready to poke home, something that has really hampered the Toon’s season so far – missing that finisher.

He has proven at a lower level (Danish and Dutch leagues) to be a capable goalscorer, but in my opinion as I’ve stated, I feel he offers much, much more than that.

Can he be the asset on Tyneside that he proved to be in Copenhagen and Rotterdam?

Only time will tell… but the Geordies and especially owner Mike Ashley will have to get the chequebook dusted off first.


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City deliver a sad UCL return for Feyenoord


Group F

Feyenoord 0-4 Manchester City

De Kuip

Wednesday 13th September 2017

Feyenoord’s first appearance in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for fifteen years swiftly turned into a nightmare on Wednesday night as the reigning Eredivisie champions were hit four by a merciless Manchester City in front of a stunned De Kuip.

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Despite coming into the clash with Pep Guardiola’s star-studded Citizens on the back of a 100% start to the campaign, coach, Giovanni van Bronckhorst was unable to call upon a number of key faces including star striker, Nicolai Jørgensen, who limped off in the early stages of Feyenoord’s win over Heracles on Saturday evening with a hamstring problem.

As a result, the hosts adopted an unfamiliar 5-2-3 formation with van Bronckhorst, as expected, recalling centre half, Eric Botteghin after the Brazilian sat out Saturday’s trip to Almelo while also somewhat surprisingly favouring Sofyan Amrabat in the starting XI over Kevin Diks and Jens Toornstra, who were dropped to the bench.

Having hit Liverpool for five last time out and boasting an unbeaten record of their own thus far this term, Guardiola’s men arrived in Rotterdam in confident mood, determined to erase the memory of last season’s round of 16 exit from European club football’s elite competition at the hands of Monaco on the away goals rule.

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This determination was clear for all too see as the visitors broke the deadlock in just the second minute of the match – John Stones out-jumping Jan-Arie van der Heijden to direct a David Silva cross from the left beyond both Feyenoord ‘keeper, Brad Jones and Tonny Vilhena, who failed to clear the England international’s headed effort off the line despite being perfectly placed to do so at the back post.

With the hosts rocking on their heels in front of a stunned home crowd, the away side soon threatened to double their advantage and very nearly did so just five minutes after taking the lead. However, Botteghin was on hand to snuff out the danger by heading compatriot, Gabriel Jesus’ looping goal-bound header off the line and over the bar after Jones was left rooted to the spot.

Having escaped by the skin of their teeth just three minutes earlier, Feyenoord did fall further behind ten minutes in when, having gotten free down the right, England international full back, Kyle Walker found Sergio Agüero on the edge of the box who, having escaped the attentions of his would-be marker, Botteghin, fired the ball beyond an exposed Jones to double the away side’s advantage.

Despite having been put firmly under the cosh for the opening twenty minutes of the contest the home side did eventually show signs of life when Jean-Paul Boëtius slipped Michiel Kramer in behind the City back line only for the man filling in for the injured Jørgensen to see his effort turned behind by visiting ‘keeper, Ederson, who was sporting a skull cap to protect extensive facial injuries sustained during a horrific clash with Sadio Mane in his side’s Premier League thrashing of Liverpool on Saturday.

However, any hopes the hosts may have harboured of staging a dramatic fight-back were dispelled in the twenty fifth minute when Jones could only parry a vicious low drive from Benjamin Mendy into the path of an unmarked Gabriel Jesus, who was left with the simple task of tapping the ball into an unguarded net as the home side appealed in vain for offside.

With the visitors firmly in control tempers began to fray amongst the home side with Jerry St. Juste, Kramer and Vilhena all going into the book of Polish referee, Szymon Marciniak as the temporary respite of the interval approached.

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Despite Guardiola’s side noticeably easing off the throttle after the break as they turned their attention towards a potentially tricky trip to Watford on Saturday, their hosts never really looked like getting onto the scoresheet and with the visitors threatening to further extend their advantage with every attack, it came as little surprise when the away side made it four and effectively ended the game as a contest shortly after the hour mark – Stones heading home his second of the night from close range with sixty three minutes on the clock after being picked out by Kevin De Bruyne following a neat give-and-go between the Belgian international and David Silva on the left.

Having been thoroughly out-played in front of their own fans, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side face a daunting trip to Naples on 26th September in their next UEFA Champions League engagement.

But before that hurdle comes one of the showpiece encounters of the Dutch season as Feyenoord make the trip to Eindhoven to face PSV on Sunday – a game which offers van Bronckhorst’s charges a welcome opportunity to erase the memory of what was an underwhelming performance in the club’s first UEFA Champions League group stage fixture for fifteen years.

 Man of the Match: John Stones (Manchester City)        


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Advantage Feyenoord in the title race – Steven Davies is on hand to describe all the action from round six of Eredivisie season.

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The sixth week of play in the Eredivisie got underway at the Stadion Galgenwaard where two of the surprise early season strugglers came face to face as Utrecht – with three points and no wins from their first five games took on Ernest Faber’s struggling Groningen, who themselves entered this Friday evening fixture second off bottom with just two points and similarly without a win in their first five outings of the 2016/17 campaign.

A few months in football can seem like a lifetime – not least for Erik ten Hag, whose exploits last term resulted in an unsuccessful appearance in the final of the KNVB Beker, a fifth place finish and the Rinus Michels Award – an honour which recognises the Coach of the Year in the Netherlands. Yet few could have predicted just how quickly things would unravel for the Utrecht coach.

Despite arriving relatively early in the campaign, both sides understood the importance of collecting three points against an opponent facing a similar plight. Yet, it was the visitors who began the brighter – looking dangerous on the counter attack throughout the match and creating goal scoring opportunities with alarming regularity.

Unsurprisingly, it was Groningen who hit the lead with just 13 minutes on the clock when live wire attacking midfielder, Oussama Idrissi intercepted a misplaced back pass by Ramon Leeuwin and, having found himself one on one with Menno Koch, promptly turned the Utrecht defender inside out before slotting the ball past home ‘keeper, Robbin Ruiter.

Idrissi – easily the best player on the park, was on the scoresheet again as the clock ticked towards the half time break – the 20-year-old’s persistence being rewarded when, following a succession of goal scoring attempts that had been repeatedly blocked by the scrambling Utrecht rear guard, the Dutch starlet glided past three players before bending in an unstoppable drive into the top left hand corner of Ruiter’s net.

Despite Groningen’s dominance, the second stanza began optimistically for the home side and on the hour mark former Groningen player, Richairo Zivkovic found himself in space following a succession of quick fire passes on the edge of the visitor’s area and pulled Erik ten Hag’s men back into a contest that had seemed all but over just prior to the half time interval.

However, just six minutes later the contest was over as former Ajax and Fulham striker, Danny Hoesen latched onto a perfectly weighted ball from star man, Idrissi to break the home side’s offside trap and restore the visitor’s two goal advantage.

Things went from bad to worse as, with the clock winding down, Erik ten Hag’s men threw progressively more and more caution to the wind – substitute, Tom van Weert making it four at the second time of asking after Ruiter had fumbled the former Excelsior forward’s initial near post effort with ten minutes remaining before Hoesen added a fifth in stoppage time to give Ernest Faber’s men their first win of the campaign at the sixth time of asking.

Meanwhile, for Ten Hag and Utrecht, the wait for a first win of the season goes on.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action got underway at De Grolsch Veste in Enschede where FC Twente surprised their visitors from The Hague early on with Manchester City loanee, Enes Unal giving Rene Hake’s men a 13th minute lead with a spectacular free kick from well outside the area which the Turkish striker then doubled with a neat headed finish ten minutes before half time.

Few gave Rene Hake’s side a prayer following a tumultuous summer that had seen the club demoted, seriously consider plying their trade in the lower reaches of German football and very nearly cease to exist before a successful appeal against their demotion allowed them to begin the 2016/17 campaign as an Eredivisie outfit after all. Add to that the recent departure of talismanic playmaker, Hakim Ziyech to Ajax and the odds seemed to be well and truly stacked against the Enschede outfit.

Yet, despite starting the season with two straight defeats, Twente have hit their stride – coming into this meeting with ADO Den Haag with two wins from their last three games thanks in no small part to a profitable relationship with the blue half of Manchester – Kosovar forward, Bersant Celina following fellow Manchester City loanee, Unal onto the scoresheet on 54 minutes with his second goal in as many games.

A diving header from Kevin Jansen briefly reduced the arrears with two minutes remaining for the visitors who, having initially won their first three games of the season, are now without a win in their last three and a tough evening for Zeljko Petrovic’s men was concluded when South African midfielder, Kamohelo Mokotjo put the icing on a convincing victory for Twente with the host’s fourth of the evening in the final minute – tucking in the rebound after substitute, Jari Oosterwijk’s shot had rattled the post.

Next, the action shifted to the GelreDome in Arnhem where Henk Fraser’s, Vitesse played host to a Go Ahead Eagles side buoyed by the confidence of having recorded their first win of the season at the expense of Roda the previous week.

Following a goalless first period largely dominated by the hosts, the visitor’s impressive rear guard action was undone by a lack of pace when Moroccan substitute, Adnane Tighadouini showed right back, Lars Lambooij a clean pair of heels down the left before sending in a would-be cross that referee, Jochem Kamphuis harshly adjudged to have been handled by centre half, Sander Fischer and awarded a penalty – Ricky van Wolfswinkel making no mistake from the spot.

Any thoughts of an Eagles comeback were dashed just three minutes later when another substitute – Mitchell van Bergen, got free down the right and squared for Chelsea loanee, Lewis Baker who made sure of the points by driving the ball into the top left hand corner of Theo Zwarthoed’s net from just inside the area.

At the same time, Jurgen Streppel’s Heerenveen came out on top in a bad tempered affair at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion where hosts, Roda JC saw red twice while their visitors were also reduced to ten men.

When Swede, Sam Larsson fired the visitors into an eighth minute lead with a spectacular free kick from well outside the area there was little indication of the farcical scenes that were to ensue later in the half when first, Nigerian midfielder, Abdul Ajagun was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence just five minutes after receiving his first caution by referee, Bas Nijhuis before, just nine minutes later, Chris Kum received his second booking of the match leaving the home side down to nine men and the Roda faithful irate at Nijhuis and his assistants as they left the field.

With a two-man advantage as well as being a goal to the good, it came as little surprise when Jurgen Streppel’s men made their advantage tell – Henk Veerman doubling the visitors lead from close range on 68 minutes.

However, the drama wasn’t quite over, and when Manchester City loanee, Shay Facey picked up his second booking of the match with fifteen minutes remaining the visitors were reduced to ten men.

Yet the hosts never really looked like turning the game into a contest after having been reduced to nine men at the end of the first half and, when Arber Zeneli made it three in the 77th minute with his second goal of the season, any chances of an unlikely comeback were well and truly extinguished.

Saturday’s Eredivisie action was rounded off at the Koning Willem II Stadion in Tilburg where Willem II – winless in their last three matches, played host to Excelsior.

The hosts hit the front after only 6 minutes through a back post header from Spanish forward, Fran Sol but his strike wasn’t enough to secure all three points for Erwin van de Looi’s side – 24-year-old Moroccan, Hicham Faik earning Mitchell van der Gaag’s visitor’s a share of the spoils from a deflected free kick that deceived Willem II ‘keeper Kostas Lamprou with ten minutes remaining.

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Sunday’s Eredivisie action began at Het Kasteel in Rotterdam where Sparta played host to NEC Nijmegen.

Alex Pastoor’s men have quickly acclimatised to life back in the Eredivisie following promotion last term and the home side were ahead on 17 minutes through a well-placed half volley from Thomas Verhaar.

Peter Hyballa’s visitors came into this contest on the back of two straight defeats and were looking to rediscover the early season form that saw the men from Nijmegen begin the campaign with a run of three games without defeat.

Despite losing an early goal, Hyballa’s men remained in the contest for the majority of the match until Ajax loanee, Zakaria El Azzouzi doubled the home side’s advantage from close range with 9 minutes remaining to send the newly promoted side into the UEFA Europa League playoff places.

There was little doubt as to the match of the weekend as unbeaten table toppers, Feyenoord – fresh from their stunning UEFA Europa League success over Manchester United on Thursday, put their 100% record on the line against reigning champions, PSV Eindhoven.

Despite coming into this top of the table encounter trailing their visitors by two points, Phillip Cocu’s men had the benefit of an additional two days rest following their UEFA Champions League defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid on Tuesday evening and had beaten Feyenoord in the most recent meeting between the two sides – PSV lifting the Johan Cruijff Schaal at the expense of Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side on July 31st.

Predictably, given their respective mid-week exertions, it was the hosts who enjoyed the lion’s share in terms of both possession and chances in a goalless first half – Luciano Narsingh in particular, being denied a trio of guilt-edged opportunities thanks to a combination of a resolute Feyenoord rear guard and the reflexes of Australian ‘keeper, Brad Jones.

Yet the second period proved to be more of an even contest as the visitors began to show their teeth – Tonny Vilhena – the hero of Thursday night’s victory over Manchester United being denied a penalty just after the hour mark when it appeared his goal-bound effort was handled by a diving Nicolas Isimat-Mirin. However, much to the consternation of visiting coach, van Bronckhorst, the visitor’s appeals were waved away by referee, Kevin Blom.

Nevertheless, the league leaders weren’t to be denied and when another of the stars of Feyenoord’s mid-week European heroics, Eric Botteghin saw the ball land at his feet from an 82nd minute corner just outside the PSV box, the Brazilian centre half smashed the ball past Dutch international, Jeroen Zoet to put the visitors into the ascendancy.

Feyenoord’s Australian stopper, Brad Jones has been in excellent form since his summer arrival at De Kuip and, following a string of good saves throughout the contest, was again on hand – this time to deny a goal-bound header from Hector Moreno in the dying seconds to seal all three points for the men from Rotterdam and, in the process, a five point lead over their hosts in the Eredivisie standings.

As the final whistle sounded the jubilation was clear to see on the faces of everyone associated with the long suffering Rotterdam giants whose attention now turns to the defence of their KNVB Beker title when the cup holders entertain second tier outfit, FC Oss in the 1st round on Thursday evening.

At the same time, bottom placed PEC Zwolle welcomed AZ Alkmaar to the MAC3PARK Stadion with Ron Jans’ struggling side hopeful of recording their first win of the season against an AZ team who could only draw at home to Irish minnows, Dundalk in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening.

However, despite their poor showing in Europe, John van den Brom’s side came into this fixture on the back of three straight league wins and hit the front shortly before half time through Wout Weghorst’s close range finish. But the visitors only made sure of all three points with three minutes remaining – 18-year-old substitute, Guus Til adding the second of the afternoon for the men from Alkmaar.

The sixth round of matches came to a conclusion at the Polman Stadion in Almelo where Ajax, fresh from an, at times, unlikely away success at Panathinaikos in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening, took on Heracles.

The hosts came into the game with no wins in their last three matches and without a home win over their visitors from Amsterdam for more than half a century. By sharp contrast, Peter Bosz and his men arrived in Almelo on the back of three straight wins in all competitions – the former Heracles boss naming an unchanged side from the one that triumphed in Greece on his return to Almelo.

Following a goalless first period, it was the visitors who, having started slowly, gradually wrestled control of the game away from the hosts before the Heracles defence misjudged a Mitchell Dijks cross from the left, allowing the ball to bounce invitingly into the path of Davy Klaassen – the Ajax skipper rolling the ball past Heracles ‘keeper, Bram Castro to put the away side a goal to the good in the 66th minute with his fifth league goal in six games.

Any thoughts of a comeback by John Stegeman’s side were dispelled with fourteen minutes remaining when Nemanja Gudelj latched onto a through ball from goal scorer, Klaassen before curling the ball into the bottom left hand corner of Castro’s net to score his second league goal of the season and ensure that all three points were heading back to Amsterdam.


FC Utrecht 1-5 FC Groningen

FC Twente 4-1 ADO Den Haag

Vitesse 2-0 Go Ahead Eagles

Roda JC 0-3 SC Heerenveen

Willem II 1-1 Excelsior

Sparta Rotterdam 2-0 NEC Nijmegen

PEC Zwolle 0-2 AZ Alkmaar

PSV Eindhoven 0-1 Feyenoord

Heracles 0-2 AFC Ajax


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