Eredivisie Roundup: AZ leapfrog Ajax & Ogbeche’s fine form


Zwolle and Utrecht inseparable

PEC Zwolle continued to show why they’re one of the hardest teams to beat in the country on Friday, when they held FC Utrecht to a 1-1 draw. Zwolle – the home side – controlled a lot of the ball but conceded many chances. Utrecht capitalised on this in the first half, when Yassin Ayoub’s low cross found an overlapping Sander van de Streek for the opening goal.

Zwolle continued to push for an equaliser in the second half, but nothing was quite coming off. That was, until the 83rd minute. Bram van Polen fired a long shot at goal, but it was parried off to the side of the box. Zwolle midfielder Mustafa Saymak took a pop at goal and the shot flew past David Jensen and into the net.


Groningen ease past ADO Den Haag

ADO Den Haag hosted FC Groningen in what many predicted to be a close match, but the latter side was able to get its first away win of the season in fantastic style. After a closely fought first half, Groningen’s Ritsu Doan nicked the ball off Danny Gorter in added time and scored the opener. Den Haag created many chances in the second half, but Groningen’s Sergio Padt made six saves (7 total).

The home side were made to rue their missed chances – in the 75th minute, Oussama Idrissi got into the box with a fake shot and slotted a lot shot into the back of the net. Juninho Bacuna’s late goal brought the final score to 0-3, but ADO will feel hard done considering the amount of chances they created in the second half.

Resurgent Twente claim draw with Ajax

AFC Ajax saw their title hopes take a huge hit on Saturday when they couldn’t hold on and win against FC Twente. Ajax midfielder Lasse Schøne was the star of the first half when he scored two direct free kicks in a row – only four minutes separating the two goals. Late in the half, Twente should’ve brought a goal back but their efforts were cleared off the line multiple times. However, that would prove to be only the beginning of the action on the day.

Right after halftime, Twente defender Stefan Thesker scored a header from a corner to halve the deficit. In the 63rd minute, Thesker became the man of the moment when his left-footed curling shot carried into the net to equalise. As the match wore down, Ajax’s Justin Kluivert cut to the inside of the pitch and unleashed a deflected shot into the corner of the net.

Just when Twente fans thought all hope was lost, striker Tom Boere headed in a late equalising goal from a set piece. A superb match for the neutral, but not so much for the heart health and sanity of the two sets of supporters.

Feyenoord win in Vitesse duel

Feyenoord Rotterdam claimed a crucial set of three points when Vitesse Arnhem visited De Kuip on Saturday. Nicolai Jørgensen’s early goal, set up by Sofyan Amrabat’s brilliant overlap and one-two with Steven Berghuis, proved the deciding action on the day. Vitesse pushed forward throughout the rest of the match but their quick attack couldn’t quite carve out a great chance against the Feyenoord defense.

Willem II dominant over Heracles

An in-form Bartholomew Ogbeche’s brace helped Willem II claim their first win in over a month against a lifeless Heracles side. It was the Spaniard Fran Sol who got the first goal of the night in only the fourth minute – Ben Rienstra’s cross found the striker in front of goal, and a brilliant flick helped the ball into the net. Less than 10 minutes later, Thom Haye’s cross from the right flank looped into Ogbeche’s head and into the goal; 2-0.

The onslaught was completed in the 21st minute, as Sol ran into the box and squared in front of goal to Ogbeche, who deftly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner. Heracles never really posed a threat throughout the match, and Sebastian Jakubiak’s long shot goal in the 86th minute was nothing more than a consolation.


AZ stay strong in Venlo

VVV-Venlo weren’t able to hold on and capture a point when AZ Alkmaar came to town on Sunday. That being said, the home side held John van den Brom’s side until about midway through the second half. AZ took a corner in the 73rd minute that was unfortunately headed in by VVV midfielder Ralf Seuntjens. Later, Ralf’s brother Mats – an AZ attacker – crossed to the top of the box where young defender Pantelis Hatzidiakos struck a brilliant long shot into the bottom corner.

PSV edge out Sparta

Table-toppers PSV Eindhoven increased their lead at the top by sneaking three points out of a match against Sparta Rotterdam. The visiting Rotterdammers gave the Boeren a run for their money in the first half – seeing it end goalless. However, Dutch striker Luuk de Jong was subbed on in the second half and made an immediate impact. Steven Bergwijn’s cross into the box saw de Jong clear out space and poke the ball past Roy Kortsmit. Sparta barely offered a threat after that moment, leaving the match to finish 1-0.

Roda upset out-of-form Heerenveen

SC Heerenveen have certainly been lacking their usual impotence recently, but not many would’ve expected bottom-of-the-league Roda JC to pull out a win in this match. That statement was especially true when Heerenveen striker Henk Veerman fired the away side into the lead after halftime with a fantastic long shot. In the 71st minute, Roda’s Adil Auassar curled a deep free kick into the box and Dani Schahin got his head to it to equalize.

The fantastic comeback was completed in the 87th minute. Mikhail Rosheuvel laid the ball off on the edge of the box for substitute Livio Milts. Milts had just made his Eredivisie debut last weekend, but the 20-year-old took the shot on with immense confidence and it flew into the back of the net. What a game!

NAC down Excelsior

NAC Breda managed to ease by Excelsior Rotterdam on Sunday by a score of 3-1. On-loan striker Thierry Ambrose converted two penalties – one in the first half and one at the start of the second – to give the home side a 2-0 advantage. In the 66th minute, Mike van Duinen agilely scored a curling effort at the top of the box to halve the deficit, but it would prove to be one of Excelsior’s last chances. Eleven minutes later, NAC’s Paolo Fernandes saw his shot parried by Ögmundur Kristinsson, but the ball looped into the net.

Performance of the Week: Sergio Padt (GRO) – 7 saves, 5 claims, clean sheet

Result of the Week: Roda JC – 2-1 win over Heerenveen

Disappointment of the Week: AFC Ajax – 3-3 draw away to FC Twente

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