Almere City and NAC Breda fired themselves to the top of the Eerste Divisie and TOP Oss and FC Dordrecht finally clinched their first point, Will Burns is here with a round-up of all the action.
Jong AZ were the biggest winners of the week defeating De Graafschap by a wild 7-3 scoreline on Monday evening. The highly-rated duo of Moahmed Taabouni and Zakaria Aboukhlal both scored a brace while Thijs Oosting, Hakon Evjen and Tijani Reijnders grabbed the other goals for Alkmaar’s B side.
De Graafschap replied three times with Ralf Seuntjens, Elmo Lieftink and Daryl van Mieghem replying to no avail. Unfortunately for Seuntjens, he left the game on a stretcher due to an ankle injury. After the final whistle, head coach Mike Snoei stated the injury was “bad, it’s very bad.”. Worrying news for the side from Doetinchem.
Roda JC were impressive on Friday night smashing four past FC Dordrecht goalkeeper Anthony Swolfs. De Koempels began the scoring through an 34th minute Ronald Alberg penalty and Jordy Crouz added a second a minute later. Goals from Amir Absalem and Stefano Marzo rounded out the scoring in the 4-0 rout.
Sydney van Hoojidonk managed to nab another goal on Monday night in NAC Breda’s 2-0 win over Jong Utrecht. Nick Venema netted the other goal as Breda climbed back over Almere City to top the division.
Almere temporarily sat in first place with their 1-0 win away at N.E.C. Nijmegen with a goal from central defender Damon Mirani.
Full results below.
Friday 18th September
Helmond Sport 0-1 FC Volendam
Jong PSV 1-2 FC Eindhoven
Go Ahead Eagles 0-3 Jong Ajax
Roda JC 4-0 FC Dordrecht
Saturday 19th September
TOP Oss 2-2 SC Cambuur
Sunday 20th September
N.E.C. Nijmegen 0-1 Almere City
Monday 21st September
Jong AZ 7-3 De Graafschap
Jong Utrecht 0-2 NAC Breda
Tuesday 22nd September
Excelsior 1-2 sc Telstar
FC Den Bosch 2-0 MVV Maastricht
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
With two goals and a hat-trick of assists, Zakaria Aboukhlal of Jong AZ is wins our Player of the Week award.
You can watch game by game highlights at the official YouTube page of the league by clicking here.
DUTCH FOOTBALL IS BACK! The Dutch first division gets underway this Friday night as the twenty (…well 16) teams of the Eerste Divisie begin their journey vying for promotion to the Eredivisie writes Will Burns.
Henk de Jong’s SC Cambuur should run out as favourites to clinch promotion, when the season kicks off this Friday night. In the cut-short 2019/20 campaign, the boys from Leeuwarden lead the division and much thanks to the goals of loanee Robert Muhren from Belgian outfit Zulte Waregem. One vital piece of business this summer was securing Muhren down for another season. If he can repeat his tremendous feat of scoring 26 goals last term in 29 games, Cambuur should produce a strong challenge for that top spot again.
However, to ease the burden on Muhren they have signed Maarten Pouwels from Go Ahead Eagles on a permanent basis. The 21-year-old managed to score four times in 13 appearances for the Eagles last term, he should get plenty chances to outlast that figure this time round. They have kept the majority of their core as midfielder Jamie Jacobs, defenders Doke Schmidt, Sven Nieuwpoort and Calvin Mac-Intosch, goalkeeper Sonny Stevens and wingers Jarchinio Antonio and Issa Kallon are still in Leeuwarden to help mount a serious challenge.
NAC Breda have strengthened during the break and look a sturdy contender for the ascension to the top league. Experienced in the Eredivisie, Dion Malone and Thom Haye have joined on frees from ADO Den Haag. Haye making last years’ loan move a permanent one, while Scottish youth international midfielder Lewis Fiorini has flown in from Manchester City. The striking power of Finn Stokkers and Huseyin Dogan needs to improve. They notched just 11 league goals last season, if Breda are to mount a serious challenge, they will need to find the net more consistently.
Despite losing highly-rated winger Anthony Musaba to French giants AS Monaco, N.E.C. Nijmegen should still be a contender. New coach Rogier Meijer has brought attacking players Rangelo Janga (loan from FC Astana), Anton Fase (free transfer from AZ) and Elayis Tavsan (free from Sparta Rotterdam) into the squad to soften the blow of Musaba’s departure.
The Nijmegen side also lost Mike Tresor Ndayishimiye to Willem II and defenders Bas Kuipers and Josef Kvida to Go Ahead and Greek side Pafos FC respectively but the permanent capture of former Jong Ajax midfielder Jordy Bruijn from SC Heerenveen is a real coup for N.E.C.
Go Ahead Eagles, following a sixth-finish under Jack de Gier last year, sees Kees van Wonderen take the helm in Devanter. The Eagles overhauled their midfield options which were high on Paul Bosvelt’s (Technical Director) agenda. Jay Idzes (FC Eindhoven) and Erkan Eyibil (FC Mainz) have been drafted in joining Kevin van Kipperslius, Scotsman Frank Ross, Bradly van Hoeven and former Den Bosch favourite Luuk Brouwers to bolster the squad that saw a substantial turnover of staff over the protracted off-season.
Elsewhere, there is some debate who will wear the number one shirt following Hobie Verhulst’s move to AZ. Ex-Volendam keeper Mitchel Michaleis arrived to compete with 20-year-old Jay Gorter for the starting berth in-between the sticks. The playoff should be the target for van Wonderen’s side and a vital piece of the playoff puzzle will come from the goals of Frenchman Antonin Rabillard. The 24-year-old found the goal 11 times in 28 outings last season, and the Eagles will be hoping he builds on what was an impressive first season at the club.
Mike Snoei will lead De Graafschap into the new season with an abundance of new talent in his squad. After claiming fees for Leeroy Owusu (Willem II) and Branco van den Boomen (Toulouse), Snoei used the resources to bring in highly-rated goalkeeper Rody de Boer on loan from AZ and experienced midfielders Rick Dekker from PEC Zwolle and Johnatan Opoku from VVV. They have retained the services of Ralf Seuntjens up top with Joey Konings joining him from Heracles in attack. Konings will look to revitalize his career after failing to nail down a permanent forward slot in Almelo. Right-back Julian Lelieveld arrives from Vitesse on a free to benefit the options in defence.
With one of the youngest squads in the division, Wim Jonk’s FC Volendam may struggle to match their third-place last year, with minimal new blood injected into his team. The former Dutch midfielder saw Francesco Antonucci return to the club after impressing last term. The 21-year-old Belgian playmaker was loaned in from AS Monaco last year but Feyenoord intervened in the summer to purchase the players and allowed Jonk to loan him back to Volendam for further playing time. Scoring 11 times in only 20 appearances inspired Jonk to pull out all the stops to bring the midfielder back. However, losing left-back Gijs Smal to FC Twente was a blow and Jonk is yet to replace him.
Excelsior lost influential midfielder Rai Vloet to Heracles but coach Marinus Dijkhuizen will turn to new arrivals Reuven Niemeijer or Mitchell van Rooijen to fill the void. Telstar were forced to part with top scorer Reda Kharchouch as his 20 goals in the last campaign saw him attract attention of Sparta Rotterdam. Big hopes will be placed on the shoulders of Haitian striker Richelor Sprangers to do the business in front of goal.
We are in for another interesting season in the Eerste Divisie, which fills our Friday nights with excitement and goals galore. We will see more young talents emerging with Jong Ajax, Jong PSV, Jong AZ and Jong Utrecht, obviously unable to clinch promotion, looking to take points off the promotion hopefuls in the process.
We saw a total of 36 goals over the ten Eerste Divisie games this weekend, Will Burns is here with all the action.
Go Ahead Eagles are the frontrunners at the top of the table after two games, however only on goal difference as TOP Oss, RKC Waalwijk and Roda JC, like the Eagles, have won both of their games.
John Stegeman’s Go Ahead defeated FC Eindhoven 2-1 thanks to goals from Istvan Bakx and Richard van der Venne. Debutant Portuguese winger Marcelo Lopes replied for Eindhoven.
TOP Oss smashed Jong PSV 4-1 as Huseyin Dogan (2), Norichio Nieveld and Bryan Smeets got on the scoresheet.
Five goals were shared as RKC defeated FC Den Bosch 3-2. Mario Bilate grabbed a brace in his first goals for the club since moving from FC Emmen in the summer.
Mario Engles(mobbed in the picture above) hit a double last week against Jong Ajax and managed another two in a 2-1 win over Almere City this week to give Roda JC their second win. I said in the Eerste Divisie season preview that the German would make an impact this season but I did not expect him to notch four goals at this stage.
The first week of the Eerste Divisie is complete and as usual it was a weekend full of goals with only one goalless draw across the fixtures. Will Burns is on hand to describe the action.
The big winners this week were Go Ahead Eagles who thrashed JongFC Utrecht by five goals. It was the dream start for new coach John Stegeman as Richard van der Venne notched the opener on 22 minutes and defender Gino Bosz doubled the scoring by half-time. Thomas Verheijdt, Maarten Pouwels and Paco van Moorsel completed the rout after the break to send the De Adelaarshorst faithful home optimistic about the new campaign ahead.
On Monday night, Almere City defeated Jong AZ as the era of Michele Santoni began. The Italian left his role as Technical Coach for Cagliari in the summer to up sticks to the Netherlands and began life with a 3-2 win. It was eventful game that saw Almere three goals to the good before half-time with goals from Niek Vossebelt, Tim Receveur and Stijn Meijer. Almere left-back Moustpha Seck was shown red for a foul in the area and AZ’s Jelle Duin missed the spot-kick. AZ got a goal back against the ten-men through Tijani Reijnders and Ferdy Druijf scored in stoppgae time but there’s where the comeback ended.
In the Eindhoven derby, Jong PSV came from behind to dispatch FC Eindhoven 2-1 at De Herdgang. The visitors took an early lead when Siebe van der Heyden rose like a salmon to beat Dirk Abels to head home a 6th minute free-kick. However, Zakaria Aboukhlal equalised in first-half stoppage to level the game up with a long range effort that took a deflection. Full-back Jordan Teze found himself in unfamiliar territory to hit PSV’s winner.
Former Eredivisie champions FC Twente had a successful start to the campaign at home to fellow relegated side Sparta Rotterdam. German loanee striker Ulrich Bapoh notched after ten minutes played but former Nottingham Forest target man Lars Veldwijk equalised in the 16th. Tom Boere converted a penalty before half-time to wrap the game up for Twente.
Elsewhere, SC Cambuur clawed back a 2-0 deficit away to N.E.C. to take a point back to Leeuwarden with two late goals. Anass Achahbar, formerly of Feyenoord, and Sven Braken gave Nijmegen to lead only for Frank Sturing to score in the wrong goal three minutes from time. Full-back Emmanuel Mbende was the hero notching five minutes in stoppage time to make it 2-2 and send the away fans home in jubilation.
Roda JC dispatched last year’s champions Jong Ajax thanks to two goals from German winger Mario Engels(pictured above) in a 2-1 victory.
There was further wins for RKC Waalwijk, TOP Oss and FC Den Bosch before the weekend was over while FC Dordrecht and Helmond Sport played a goalless draw.