Tag Archives: Steven Berghuis

EREDIVISIE TEAM OF THE WEEK – Star man Berghuis can’t stop scoring

Welcome to Total Dutch Football’s Team of the Week which leads into our 2020/21 Eredivisie Player of the Season Tournament.

Each player that is selected for the Team of the Week receives a point and the Player of the Week receives two more points. We count these up over the season and then award the player with the most points as the Player of the Season.

Read on to see who has been awarded the points for this week.


After a few shaky weeks, the Swiss stopper showed the Eindhoven faithful what he is made of – keeping a clean sheet pulling off five quality saves at home to Fortuna Sittard.

DEFENDER: Glenn Bijl (FC Emmen)

The full-back won eight of nine challenges with four interceptions and a pair of clearances. Played his part in his side’s equalising goal against highflying FC Twente.

DEFENDER: Ko Itakura (FC Groningen)

The Japanese defender did not give the Ajax attack a kick winning 100% of challenges and six clearances.

DEFENDER: Riechedly Bazoer (Vitesse)

Bazoer is excelling in his new central defensive role nailing 90 out of 96 passes in the win over Heracles. This included an accurate 18 out of 19 long balls, one which helped his sides notch a goal.

DEFENDER: Ridgeciano Haps (Feyenoord)

The 27-year-old left-back scored a goal in Feye’s 4-1 win away to Willem II and was an attacking threat throughout performing with three out of three successful dribbles.

MIDFIELDER: Oussama Tannane (Vitesse)

The Heracles man punished his old side with the winning goal in the 3-0 win and was a menace throughout linking up well with Oussama Darfalou and Luis Openda.

MIDFIELDER: Joao Teixeira (Feyenoord)

Dick Advocaat’s Portuguese import has settled in no problem in Rotterdam grabbing two assists in the weekend’s win over Willem II.

Eerste training Karlsson in beeld - AZ
One to watch – Jesper Karlsson of AZ Alkmaar

MIDFIELDER: Jesper Karlsson (AZ Alkmaar)

The Swedish debutant made his mark notching two assists before his side’s 4-0 collapse to draw at Sparta Rotterdam. He’s certainly going to one to watch.

FORWARD: Oussama Darlafou (Vitesse)

One goal and one assist for the Algerian which looks to have a new lease of life under Thomas Letsch and linking up well with Oussama Tannane and Luis Openda.

FORWARD: Zakaria Aboukhlal (AZ Alkmaar)

The 20-year-old winger grabbed his first senior goals in the unreal 4-4 draw away to Sparta. Notching twice set his team up to a coasting win before the horrendous collapse – the youngster hardly put a foot wrong.

FORWARD: Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord)


Another two goals to the tally for the former Watford man. Three out of three for dribbles. Landed 55 out of 66 passing attempts and even managed to win five tackles. Steven grabs his first player of the week award of the new season – probably won’t be his last.

See the full standings table for the tournament at this link.


EREDIVISIE TEAM OF THE WEEK – 12/13th September 2020

Welcome to Total Dutch Football’s Team of the Week which leads into our 2020/21 Eredivisie Player of the Season Tournament.

Each player that is selected for the Team of the Week receives a point and the Player of the Week receives two more points. We count these up over the season and then award the player with the most points as the Player of the Season.

Read on to see who has been awarded the points for this week.

GOALKEEPER: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord)

The Rotterdammers young stopper kept a clean sheet away to a plucky PEC Zwolle side. He was forced to pull of a total of five saves in the 2-0 win.

DEFENDER: Tim Breukers (Heracles)

With two tackles and six interceptions, Breukers earn his place at right-back in our team. Heracles went onto to defeated ADO 2-0 on Sunday and he was a rock at the back.

DEFENDER: Pawel Bochniewicz (Heerenveen)

The big Polish defender polish off a fine performance on his debut with a headed goal from a Joey Veerman free-kick in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Willem II.

DEFENDER: Robin Propper (Heracles)

For a centre-back, his passing was a joy to behold against ADO. He completed 70 successful passes out of 73 as well as held his own at the back.

DEFENDER: Jayden Oosterwolde (FC Twente)

Little was known about 19-year-old Oosterwolde at kick-off time, but boy did he introduce himself. The attacking left-back created Queensy Menig’s goal and supplied his team with three tackles and three interceptions.

MIDFIELDER: Pablo Rosario (PSV)

With three successful dribbles, Rosario assisted PSV’s second goal and stuck in his foot when needed with three tackles and a interception. The prime example of a box-to-box midfielder.

Rapportcijfers: Giakoumakis, Veerman en Gakpo blinken uit, Kemper en Van  Leer scoren onvoldoende | Nederlands voetbal | destentor.nl

MIDFIELDER: Joey Veerman (Heerenveen)

Close to being Player of the Week, Veerman created one and played a major part in both of Heerenveen’s goals with a 83% pass accuracy rate including 10 out of 13 long balls hitting the target. Joey cpuld be the next big transfer out of the Friesland.

MIDFIELDER: Sylvester van der Water (Heracles)

The 23-year-old certainly had his shooting boots on in yesterday 2-0 win over ADO. Van de Water fired three shots off and landed with one, his teams second goal. The winger created the other and churned out three big chances to extend the lead.

FORWARD: Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord)

Picking up where he left off last season, and the season before, Berghuis notched twice in a 2-0 win for Feyenoord away to PEC Zwolle.

FORWARD: Cody Gakpo (PSV)

The young left-winger notched a brace in the 3-1 win over FC Groningen. His electric pace and composed finishing was on display and he could be ready for a big season.

Rapportcijfers: Giakoumakis, Veerman en Gakpo blinken uit, Kemper en Van  Leer scoren onvoldoende | Eredivisie | AD.nl

FORWARD: Giorgios Giakoumakis (VVV-Venlo)


Three goals in the big 5-3 win over FC Emmen means that VVV’s summer signing from AEK Athens receives out three points this week.

See the full standings table for the tournament at this link.


Eredivisie Team of the Week: Ziyech tops Week 7

The Eredivisie season is back and so is our 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.

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


Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.


Eredivisie Team Of The Week – Round 4


Here is round four of our Eredivisie Team of the Week which leads into our 2016/17 Eredivisie ‘Player of the Season’ competition. All players have performed so well this weekend that Will Burns has selected them in the team of the week.  Each player in the eleven receives one point and whichever player is declared ‘Player of the Week’, he receives an extra point.



MICKEY VAN DER HART – PEC ZWOLLE: If Zwolle did not have the former Ajax youth keeper in goal on Saturday evening, the 1-0 loss to Heerenveen could have been a lot, lot worse.


RICK KARSDORP – FEYENOORD: Excellent performance by the 21-year-old in the Rotterdam derby against Excelsior.

HECTOR MORENO – PSV: He makes our team of the week for the second week in a row. The Mexican was again a leader at the back and a threat up top.

ROBIN GOSENS – HERACLES: An first goal for the club, strong in defence with a 100% passing succession rate vs. ADO in a 1-1 draw.

RIDGECIANO HAPS – AZ ALKMAAR: Second week in a row that Haps has been selected in our TOTW. A great performance with a clean sheet in the 2-0 win over NEC.


HAKIM ZIYECH – FC TWENTE: Linked with a move away from Enschede and he notched two goals in possibly his last game in the Twente shirt.

DAVY KLAASSEN – AJAX: Davy lands our Player of the Week award leading Ajax to a much needed win over Go Ahead with two goals.

NEMANJA GUDELJ – AJAX: Scorer of a wonderful free-kick in the 3-0 away victory against Go Ahead.


STEVEN BERGHUIS – FEYENOORD: A commanding performance with an assist in the 4-1 win over Excelsior on his first start for Feyenoord.

DIRK KUYT – FEYENOORD: Notched a brace in the four goal turnaround against Excelsior.

FRED FRIDAY – AZ ALKMAAR: The Nigerian striker would have bagged his first goal this weekend but was ruled offside. Despite that, he played an important part in the 2-0 victory over NEC.

Click here to see the ‘Player of the Season’ standings.


Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

Depay, Wijnaldum, Clasie and Co – Eredivisie to the Premier League

With Holland being a constant production line of talent, here is a post that profiles some of the players making a move from the Eredivisie to the Premier League this summer writes Oliver Baise.

Memphis Depay: PSV to Manchester United- £25 million

By far the most high profile and expensive move across the North Sea, Memphis (as he likes to be referred to as) arrives at Manchester United with huge reputation following a season where he scored 22 Eredivisie goals, thereby cementing his status as one of the most exciting young players in the world.

Though he was primarily deployed by PSV as a left-winger that cuts in on his right foot, it is being suggested that Memphis may well be groomed as the eventual heir to Wayne Rooney as the man to lead the line at United, a rumour that has been strengthened by the fact that he has been handed the number nine shirt for pre-season games. For now, however, it is likely that he will compete with Ashley Young for the left wing spot in Louis van Gaal’s 4-3-3, as well as backing up Rooney up top.

Memphis will have to deal with the pressure of making a step up to a club of United’s stature, particularly with comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo being made by sections of the Old Trafford faithful, due to his trickery and eye for the spectacular. However, his most impressive trait that he shares with Ronaldo is his obsessive desire to fulfil his immense potential and to improve day in and day out. It is this factor, beyond all else, which persuaded Van Gaal to part with £25 million for the 21-year-old.

Georginio Wijnaldum: PSV to Newcastle United- £14.5 million

With Ligue 1 long being Newcastle United’s Chief Scout Graham Carr’s quarry for bargains, the capture of Wijnaldum may be the start of a shift of focus towards trawling the Eredivisie for additions to Mike Ashley’s investment portfolio. This is because even at £14.5 million, a sizeable transfer fee for the Magpies’ standards, Wijnaldum has to be one of the coups of the season, as is the player’s immense quality. Not many can claim to have captained their club to a league and cup double at 24 but this, alongside having been a regular starter for the Dutch national team for several years now are but two feathers in Wijnaldum’s cap.

More impressively still has been the fact that he has excelled in a number of roles during his short career, including the right wing, central midfield and number ten position, emphasising both his completeness as a player and his professional attitude. He has however stated that his favoured position is playing just off the striker, and there may be concerns that he, Siem De Jong and Moussa Sissoko may cause an overload in one position for The Toon. Questions may also be raised in why a player who has achieved so much in the last two years on both the domestic, European and international stage has moved to Newcastle United.

One certainly hopes that his relatively modest destination ensures that he remains a regular first team starter as his presence should be a real treat for Premier League fans (except maybe the Sunderland ones).

Jordy Clasie: Feyenoord to Southampton – £8 million

A player who has followed in the footsteps of Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic in following Ronald Koeman from the Eredivisie to England. Saints fans will certainly be hoping that Clasie can emulate the success of his new team-mates. Given his most recent season at Feyenoord, they certainly have every reason to be hopeful. A defensive midfielder, Clasie has seemingly been signed to take the place of Morgan Schniederlin, although he is by no means a like for like replacement for the Frenchman.

At 5”7 and resembling a 12-year-old boy, Clasie lacks Schniederlin’s physical presence. Although he more than makes up for this with his tenacity (cue a lazy comparison to Edgar Davids) it will be interesting to see how he handles the step up in physicality that the Premier League presents him with. Where Clasie does offer an improvement to Schniederlin is in his technique and intelligence. He is one of those players like Michael Carrick or Xavi who always seems to have time on the ball and can dictate play to a level that belies his 24 years.

Though he is a shy and introverted character who displayed nerves when he came onto the scene at both club and international level, his close relationship with Koeman should ensure that Clasie does not disappoint Southampton fans — that is until Liverpool or Manchester United inevitably utilise their newest feeder club.

Cuco Martina: Twente to Southampton – £1.5 million

While certainly the less exciting Southampton import from the Eredivisie, Cuco Martina may yet play an important role for the Saints this season, particularly given their involvement in the notoriously squad-stretching Europa League this year.

The player had an unremarkable season in what was a poor campaign for FC Twente last season, and it is his versatility rather than his individual quality which likely brought him to St Marys. He is a natural right-back but can play anywhere across the back four or in defensive midfield.

Though he is unlikely to start regularly in any of these positions, barring injuries to team-mates, he may yet prove to be an important signing following the departures of Nathanial Clyne and Toby Alderweireld. Don’t expect fireworks though.

Steven Berghuis: AZ Alkmaar to Watford – £4.5 million

A free scoring winger who had a trial at Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur as a youngster, Steven Berghuis is a player that AZ fans will certainly miss following his 11 goals for them last year. Despite this, there are some concerns about his suitability in joining a club like Watford.

Although he is by no means a lazy player, he may well prove to be too lightweight to be effective in a team regularly playing on the back foot in games, and although he has the creativity to unlock defences in tight games, he is by no means complete enough to carry a struggling team.

In short, his personal success may be heavily predicated on the success of the Watford project as a whole. If they can thrive in the Premier League continuing their attacking style, Hornets fans are in for an exciting prospect as he certainly compliments this strategy. However, in games where Watford need to sacrifice inspiration for perspiration Berghuis may well be the fall guy.

Kristoffer Nordfeldt: SC Heerenveen to Swansea City – £800k

Though not likely to be a starter ahead of Lukas Fabianski, especially considering the Pole’s fine form last season, Swansea City’s signing of Kristoffer Nordfeldt is a further example of the value that can be found in the Eredivisie this window.

The goalkeeper was Heerenveen’s player of the season last campaign, keeping ten clean sheets and making the most amount of saves out of everyone in the league. He will certainly be one of the better second choice goalkeepers in the Premier League this coming season, despite being one of the least expensive. If Fabianski were to suffer an injury or dip in form Nordfeldt would certainly offer a solid replacement and may prove hard to dislodge, particularly given the fact that his ability with the ball of his feet endears himself to Swansea’s possession based style.

For now, however, it is likely that the principal of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” means that Nordfeldt will begin this coming season on the bench.


Click on Oliver’s name above to visit his blog.

How does PSV replace Memphis Depay?

The announcement last week of the transfer of Memphis Depay to Manchester United has left PSV with a significant hole to fill.  Luckily for PSV, they have money in the bank now in order to try and fill this hole.  We all know and appreciate Memphis’ talents and he might be one of those once in a generation footballers but PSV need to ask the question “How do we Replace Memphis”? Even with Memphis leaving, PSV still have a very talented side but they will certainly miss the X-Factor that he provided.  Replacing Memphis will be a hard task but there are some options at PSV’s disposal.  Rogier Waalder looks at the candidates:

Jesus Manuel Corona (FC Twente)

One of the only players in the Eredivisie this year who catches the eye as much as Depay does, is the Mexican winger Jesus Corona, who plays for FC Twente.  A very tricky and skilful winger, he certainly has the ability to turn a game like Memphis does.  He has scored 13 goals in his 32 games this season and his dribbling, first touch and technique are in the same class as Memphis.  He does lack the power and free-kick abilities of Memphis but is only 22 years old.  FC Twente will be holding a fire-sale in the summer to clear their debts and so Corona is very much on the market.  A big stumbling block, though, is his wage demands with a recent poll showing that 85% of PSV fans do not think he is worth the reported 1 million EURO salary that he is after.

Sam Larsson (SC Heerenveen)

Swedish international Larsson is a new arrival to Heerenveen this season, after joining from Goteburg in the off-season.  He has proven to be yet another potential Scandinavian jewel that the Heerenveen scouting team has delivered over the years.  Has all the same hallmarks as Corona but represents a more powerful, cheaper option.  Larsson has contributed 8 goals and 6 assists in his 20 games this season. Heerenveen have already offered him a new contract, but he has refused to consider this at present.  He has a contract until 2018 so Heerenveen aren’t in any rush to sell but PSV might be tempted to make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Ricardo Kishna (Ajax)

Yes he plays for Ajax presently and yes this is probably the biggest obstacle in Kishna going to PSV, but transfers between PSV & Ajax are not unheard of.  Kishna is a year younger than Memphis and despite his young age has already proven that he can light up the Eredivisie.  His flair, trickery, dribbling and pace are very comparable to Memphis and he has a return of 5 goals and assists from 20 matches this season.  This current Dutch youth team player only has 1 year to run on his Ajax contract, so he could force the issue if PSV make a serious play for his services.

Elvis Manu (Feyenoord)

Plays for Feyenoord, so again some question marks surrounding a desire to sell him to PSV but he also has the hallmarks of someone who could replace Memphis.  A 21-year old natural Left Winger, Manu has had a good season for Feyenoord with 14 goals in 34 matches, including some great performances in the Europa League.  Manu has great pace and strength but his overall technique and consistency would need some improvement to reach Memphis levels but definitely a great raw talent.

Steven Berghuis (AZ Alkmaar)

Berghuis has been a standout performer for AZ this season with 10 goals in 22 appearances.  The former Twente youth player can play on either wing or as Striker and has excellent technical and passing abilities.  He has a strong desire to succeed (much like Memphis does) and would arguably be the cheapest of the options presented thus far.  He probably isn’t quite at the standard that Memphis is but would be a good squad player, in conjunction with another big name signing.

Bilal Ould-Chikh (FC Twente)

If PSV are looking at a longer term prospect that they can bring up to Memphis’ standard then Ould-Chikh might be their guy.  Only 17 years old he has already played 15 full games for FC Twente this season.  An out and out winger with great technique, pace and dribbling abilities Ould-Chikh certainly has the potential to rival Memphis one day.  FC Twente might be needing cash to satisfy their creditors at the moment, but surely they’ll want to hang on to their star prospect and try and build a team around him.

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United)

Januzaj has been on the outer at Manchester United since Van Gaal’s arrival and was rumoured to have been offered as part of any deal taking Memphis to England.  It doesn’t look like this has eventuated but a cashed up PSV could do a lot worse than taking the talented Belgian to Eindhoven, even if it is on loan.  Even though he has not scored in the Premier League this year, the footballing world is very aware of Januzaj’s abilities with a ball at his feet and his technique and flair do rival those of Memphis.  He is on a massive salary at Man Utd and this is why a loan move but be the best for both teams, particularly as Memphis will certainly be a direct rival for Januzaj.

Serge Gnabry (Arsenal)

Another potential loan option is the Arsenal youngster, Serge Gnabry.  Like Januzaj Gnabry burst onto the scene last season before injury curtailed his plans and has had limited game time since.  He may be best suited to a spell in the Eredivisie, whilst also getting guaranteed Champions League action.  Gnabry has fantastic physical attributes and his attacking tendancies would be very well suited to this PSV side.

Ola John (Benfica)

For a 22-year old John seems to have been around for a long time, and certainly his club movements would indicate the same.  Currently at Benfica, the lure of returning home to PSV may be one that suits John as he looks to break back into the Dutch national team setup.  Another out and out pacy winger John could be the perfect provider for Luuk de Jong.

Filip Kostic (Stuttgart)

22-year old Serbian Kostic played 2 seasons in the Eredivisie with Groningen before earning a move to Stuttgart in the off-season.  He has played reasonably well in a struggling side with 3 goals and 7 assists thus far.  He has tremendous cross abilities and is also an accomplished finisher.  If Stuttgart do get relegated this season this might be enough to convince Kostic to return to the Netherlands and the lure of Champions League football.

There are some options available internally at PSV at present headlined by the wantaway Zakaria Bakkali and the raw but very inconsistent Florian Jozefzoon.  A long term potential replacement is the exciting young Steven Bergwijn, who made his Eredivisie debut on the weekend at the age of 17. Bergwijn is very highly thought of at PSV and has tremendous pace and acceleration.  If his technical abilities continue to develop over the next few seasons he is definitely one to watch.


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Eredivisie Team Of The Week – Round 4


Welcome to week four of our Eredivisie Team of the Week which leads into our Eredivisie ‘Player of the Season’ competition.  All players have performed so well this weekend that Martijn Hilhorst and Will Burns have decided they should be in our team of the week.  Each player in the eleven receives one point and whichever player is declared ‘Player of the Week’, he receives an extra point.



JEROEN ZOET (PSV): Third week in a row for Zoet after keeping a clean sheet in the 2-0 victory of Vitesse when his team-mates did not really impress.


TOM HIARIEJ (FC Groningen): Helped defeat Ajax 2-0, Lasse Schone hardly got a kick due to Hiariej’s marking and winning nine tackles.

ERIC BOTTEGHIN (FC Groningen): Great performance keeping Kolbeinn Sigthorsson at bay, and adding a goal in Groningen’s 2-0 win over Ajax.

WILFRIED KANON (ADO Den Haag): Created two of his sides goals in the unfortunate 3-2 defeat to Cambuur on Saturday evening.

PELE VAN ANHOLT (Heerenveen): The want-away left-back performed well and kept Tommy Oar out of the game in Heerenveen’s 3-1 win over Utrecht.


JEFF STANS (Excelsior): Netting twice, Stans scored the ‘Goal of the Week’ and  with a wonderful volley in Excelsior’s superb 3-1 win over Heracles.

ERIK FALKENBURG (NAC Breda): Falkenburg bossed the midfield and notched a spot-kick in NAC’s 3-1 win over PEC Zwolle.

ERIK BAKKER (SC Cambuur): Scorer of two of the goals to defeat ADO 3-2 and held strong in the midfield with two great tackles.


STEVEN BERGHUIS (AZ Alkmaar): A goal and an assist as he tore FC Dordrecht’s defence apart in AZ’s 3-1 win.

MUAMER TANKOVIC (AZ Alkmaar): The former Fulham striker is in our ‘Team Of The Week’ for the second time this season, with a great goal to boot in the 3-1 win for AZ over Dordrecht.

MARK UTH (Heerenveen): Uth made all the Heerenveen fans forget about Alfred Finnbogason as he hit a hat-trick against Utrecht to become our Player Of The Week.

Click here to see the ‘Player of the Season’ standings.


Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com






A comfortable win for Ajax after controlling the game for most of the 90 minutes, save for a short spell during which AZ scored. AZ lacked the cutting edge that Aron Jóhannsson surely would have provided and could only manage three shots on target while Ajax were comfortable and assured in possession writes Ryan O’Grady.

PSV’s large margin of victory yesterday meant that only by winning by a few themselves could either team go top. AZ’s manager and former Ajax player and legend Marco Van Basten was hoping to beat his former side for the first time ever in his managerial career.  He named an unchanged side from the win away at Heracles while Frank de Boer brought in two of the Netherland’s World Cup stars, Jasper Cillessen and Daley Blind, for their first game of the Eredivisie season. Ajax were coming off the back of a slightly unconvincing 4-1 win against Vitesse Arnhem on opening weekend.

Ajax were very comfortable in the first half with more of the possession and they had the better chances. AZ lacked a presence upfront with Tankovic, who to be fair is not an out and out striker but with Aron Jóhannsson still out with injury there was really no other option for Van Basten.

The game started off quite slowly with Ajax’s Ricardo Kishna having the best early chance after being put through by a wonderful ball from Blind but AZ keeper Alvarado stood tall and saved it easily. AZ had a couple of shots on target in the first half and one of those came in the 10th minute when Ajax defender Ligeon dallied on the ball and was dispossessed by Hupperts on the edge of the box and the ball eventually came back to Hupperts who had a shot well saved by Cillessen.

Then in the 15th minute a lovely bit of play from the Ajax players was rounded off by a through ball from Schöne which took out three defenders and was picked up by Davy Klaassen inside the corner of the box before a lovely low finish into the near side corner of the net.

The response from AZ came six minutes later when they had a free kick near the touchline crossed in by Berghuis and Tankovic had a free header in the box that he put just wide. This was followed by a quite spell of around ten minutes and that was ended when Sigthorsson received the ball outside the box and spun his defender but lost his balance allowing Alvarado to collect easily.

Four minutes later, Sigthorsson was lucky not to be sent off after losing control of the ball before lunging into a tackle on Poulsen who thankfully managed to lift his foot before contact was made, Sigthorsson escaped with a yellow. The rest of the half only contained a few half chances the best of which fell to Berghuis when he had a header across goal that was easily saved by Cillessen.

During the break, Frank de Boer brought off Ricardo Kishna for Anwar El Ghazi presumably because of an injury to Kishna as he didn’t play badly in the first half. This worked out well in the end, as El Ghazi was one of the best players in the second half.  The break also constituted a change of tactics from Marco Van Basten and his side who pressed noticeably higher up the pitch after the interval and this paid off almost immediately.

First Hupperts brought down a ball beautifully in the box before releasing a weak shot that went wide of the post, then from the subsequent goal kick the ball was given to Ajax defender Nick Viergever who immediately gave it to Guus Hupperts and he sent a ball across the box which was missed by Henriksen before being followed up by Steven Berghuis who supplied an almost identical finish to Klaassen’s earlier goal.

This opened up the game and there were frequent chances at either end for both sides including a great chance for substitute El Ghazi who beat two defenders inside the box before wasting a clear shot on goal by playing a ball across the six-yard box that was easily cleared.

Then in the 69th minute there was a comical moment when Schöne appeared to take the ball over the line at the side of the box and both Schöne and the AZ defender just looked at the ball before realising it was still in, Schöne reacted quickest and beat a couple of defenders before sending a lovely curled effort in from the edge of the ‘d’ into the bottom right corner.

Following the goal there was a period of Ajax pressure to try and put the team 3-1 up and out of AZ’s reach. The best chance in this period came when both Sigthorsson and Wuytens went for the ball near the halfway line but the AZ defender was half-hearted in his attempt allowing Sigthorsson to race clear but he took to long to get his shot off in the box that Poulsen was able to cover and put the Ajax striker off causing Sigthorsson to fall over with what appeared to be a wry smile as he appealed for a penalty which was never going to be given.

Wuytens was then booked shortly after as he blocked off El Ghazi from racing clear. The pressure continued in the 78th minute when the ball broke to Sigthorsson on the edge of the box but he yet again wasted what should’ve been an easy goal for someone of his standard. Schöne then had a chance in the 83rd minute when El Ghazi broke into the box before playing it across to Schöne who had a try from a tight angle blocked by Poulsen for a corner.

The resulting corner was delivered into the box and Sigthorsson rose to meet it only for it to ricochet off the post and fall to the feet of Viergever who had a shot saved by the keeper.

The win was rounded off in the 89th minute when the impressive El Ghazi scored his first ever senior goal with a lovely effort from a similar position to Schöne’s goal but this time the ball went into the top left corner leaving the keeper rooted to the spot. The game ended in bad taste after a foul on El Ghazi in the 92nd minute led to a coming together of most of the 22 players on the field but referee Kevin Blom managed to regain control of the situation before booking Hupperts, Gouweleeuw and Moisander.


AZ: Esteban, Johansson (Elm 77), Gouweleeuw, Wuytens, Poulsen, Gudelj, Henriksen, Ortiz, Berghuis, Tankovic (Rosheuvel 84), Hupperts.

SUBS NOT USED: Rochet, Luckassen, Hoedt, Haps, Haye.

GOALS: Berghuis 50.

BOOKINGS: Wuytens 75, Hupperts 90+3, Gouweleeuw 90+4.

AJAX: Cillessen, Ligeon, Van der Hoorn, Moisander, Boilesen, Klaassen, Viergever, Blind (Serero 77), Schöne (El Ghazi 46), Sigthórsson, Kishna.

SUBS NOT USED: Vermeer, Tete, Riedewald, Andersen, Milik.

GOALS: Klaassen 15, Schöne 69, El Ghazi 90.

BOOKINGS: Sigthorsson 37, Moisander 90+4.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Lasse Schöne (Ajax)


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EREDIVISIE: Heracles 0-3 AZ Alkmaar





Marco Van Basten’s AZ side ran out 3-0 winners over Heracles in his first match in charge of the club, but it wasn’t as comfortable as the scoreline suggests, especially in the first half, but quality won out in the end.

Heracles started the match well, with a lot of crisp passing and they kept the ball well. AZ hardly had a kick of the ball in the opening ten minutes, when they did, they looked very uncomfortable and rushed in possession. This may have been down to the impressive work rate of their opposition, who were pressing well. The first chance came around in the opening minute as the home side managed to get in behind AZ, but Oussama Tannane shot over the bar. The opening exchanges were encouraging for the home side, but it was unlikely that they could play at such intensity for the entire match and that proved as AZ slowly managed to show their ability.

The front three of AZ have lots of ability and all three started to threaten the Heracles defence. Both Steven Berghuis and the new signing from Fulham, Muamer Tankovic forced saves with shots from range, while Guus Hupperts started to pose a lot of questions down the left hand side and the pressing of the front caused the home side’s defence to make several errors in their own half when in possession.

However, it was Heracles who had the better chances, a deflected effort from Thomas Bruns came very close to breaking the deadlock after good work from Linssen on the left, while the midfielder had another great chance minutes later, but he fired over when Ilias Bel Hassani picked him out on the edge of the area. The home side had a shout for a penalty as well as Bryan Linssen was clumsily taken down by Esteban, who looked shaky at times, but AZ got the decision in their favour.

The second half started in the same way as the first, with Heracles coming out of the blocks quickly, good play down their right, led to Bel Hassani getting space in the box and he came close to opening the scoring, hitting the post. The quality of the AZ front three started to show as the half wore on and two were involved in the opener. A hopeful long ball was played up to Tankovic and the clearance fell to Steven Berghuis. His low shot squirmed underneath the keeper. It was perhaps harsh on the home side, but it gave AZ confidence and they doubled their advantage just minutes later.

Wide player Guus Hupperts drifted inside, evaded a challenge and curled his shot into the top right hand corner from the edge of the area. It was a super goal to mark his debut for the club. The signing from Roda JC was a constant threat and he will become very important for Van Basten as the season progresses.

As the match progressed, Heracles still threatened, but their poor decision making in the final third meant they couldn’t get back into the match. It’s clear they will be a difficult team to play against this season. Unfortunately for them, AZ’s quality shone through in the end as forward Tankovic scored the first after Berghuis’ shot from range was pushed into his path. He was the second AZ player to score on his debut for the club and it was fitting all three attackers scored as they were excellent for the entire match. They will certainly create problems for teams this season and the return of Aron Jóhannsson will only add to the attacking threat at Marco Van Basten’s disposal.


HERACLES: Telgenkamp, Schenkeveld, Aktaou, Zomer, Te Wierik, Sibum (Cziommer 73), Bruns, Bel Hassani, Linssen, Tannane (Weghorst 69), Fledderus (Gyasi 70).

SUBS NOT USED: Castro, Paljic, Pelupessy, Engberink.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Fledderus 64.

AZ: Esteban, Johansson, Gouweleeuw, Wuytens, Ortiz, Gudelj, Hendriksen, Poulse, Berghuis, Hupperts (Haps 85), Tankovic (Rosheuvel 78).

SUBS NOT USED: Rochet, Elm, Hoedt, Haye, Luckassen.

GOALS: Berghuis 56, Hupperts 63, Tankovic 76.


MAN OF THE MATCH: Steven Berghuis (AZ Alkmaar)


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