In a special mid-week round of fixtures, the Eredivisie begins to get a little spicy. Table-topping PSV Eindhoven have dominated the league for months, but late drama coupled with an Ajax win sees their lead decrease drastically. Also, a top four clash ended with a missed penalty, Twente are off the bottom of the table thanks to some fantastic long shots, and a struggling side visited Feyenoord’s De Kuip and claimed a point. Find out how your club did in Match Week 16!
Twente off bottom thanks to Assaidi brace
A struggling FC Twente side dragged themselves off the bottom of the Eredivisie after a 1-2 away victory over NAC Breda. Twente came under pressure in the first half, but the breakthrough came after the break when Oussama Assaidi evaded tackles in the centre of the pitch and struck a longshot. Goalkeeper Nigel Bertrams failed to block the tame shot, which bounced into the net. In the 59th minute, NAC striker Thierry Ambrose struck a shot after a corner, which deflected off Twente’s Peet Bijen and in for an own goal.
WAUW!!!! Hoeveel LIKES voor deze prachtige goal van Assaidi? #fctwente #nac #nactwe pic.twitter.com/BD0AUKipTy
— Twente Insite (@TwenteInsite) December 12, 2017
Twente managed to recover, though. Only minutes later, The Tukkers were working the ball around the left flank when Assaidi found space to curl a magnificent long shot with his left foot. The strike found the top corner of the net, which meant Twente found an all-too-needed three points as well.
Zwolle and AZ inseparable in top-four clash
Fourth-placed PEC Zwolle and second-placed AZ Alkmaar scored a goal each in a huge matchup near the top of the table. Zwolle’s rotational attacker Terell Ondaan pounced on a rebounded shot in the 32nd minute to put the home side up 1-0. However, only a couple minutes later, AZ youngster Teun Koopmeiners launched a corner kick into the box, where star winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh headed in an equalizing goal.
Passmaps & xGplot for PEC Zwolle against AZ. #passmap #xGplot #autotweet pic.twitter.com/YcDSXrKLZc
— 11tegen11 (@11tegen11) December 13, 2017
Both sides kept the ball rolling in the second half with a winning goal in mind, and that opportunity fell to Zwolle when they were awarded a late penalty. However, unfortunately for the home fans, defender Bram van Polen lofted the potential winner way over the top of the bar and fell to the ground in misery. Zwolle missed a huge chance to pick up three points against a top side, but the result is still good considering that AZ hadn’t dropped points since October.
Willem II snatch a draw in Arnhem
Vitesse Arnhem dominated against Willem II, but the away side extended their unbeaten run to five matches with a 2-2 draw. In the thirteenth minute, Willem II right-back Fernando Lewis dribbled to the byline and crossed the ball low across goal. On-fire striker Bartholomew Ogbeche scored a classic poachers goal, sliding in to score his eighth goal in seven matches. Ten minutes later, the well-rested Vitesse scored a goal of their own. Targetman striker Tim Matavz got around his marker and scored a left-footed effort from the edge of the box.
8 – Bartholomew Ogbeche scored 8 goals in 7 Eredivisie games this season; the other 4 with 8+ goals played at least 14 games. Ferocious.
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) December 13, 2017
In the second half, Willem II got back in front. In the 58th minute, striker Fran Sol chipped a through ball over the Vitesse backline, allowing Ben Rienstra to run onto the ball and nick it into the net. Vitesse kept piling on the shots in the second half, though, and a corner in the 88th minute provided the opportunity they needed. The ball was headed to the near post, where inside forward Bryan Linssen volleyed the ball into the far side of the net. Vitesse could’ve won this match, but Willem II proved enough of a challenge on the day.
PSV drop points as Groningen score in last minute
PSV Eindhoven dropped points for the second straight match week when Groningen scored a last minute winner to draw 3-3. The league leaders – who are now only 5 points clear – got off the mark early when Marco van Ginkel scored a long shot in the 7th minute. Less than ten minutes later, Steven Bergwijn poked a through ball into the box, where Bart Ramselaar scored PSV’s second goal. Groningen’s Yoell van Nieff halved the deficit in the 31st minute with a fantastically taken free kick, but PSV’s Hirving Lozano won a penalty minutes later. Van Ginkel converted to take the score to 1-3, but the action was just beginning.
PSV’s hero turned villain when Marco van Ginkel was whistled for a hand ball in the box in the 53rd minute, and the penalty was converted by Lars Veldwijk. As PSV looked to close out what seemed like a hard-fought win, unfounded drama unfolded. In the final minute of added time, a scramble in front of the PSV goal ended with Groningen defender Mike te Wierik sliding the equalizing goal into the net. The result is a big blow to PSV, who see their lead over Ajax at the top decrease from 10 to 5 in a matter of days.
Utrecht claim three points in Venlo
FC Utrecht managed to get a win against VVV-Venlo on Wednesday to continue their push at the top of the league. The only goal of the match was in the 24th minute – Utrecht midfielder Sander van de Streek low crossed to the centre of the box, where striker Gyrano Kerk twisted his body to strike the ball into the net. Utrecht allowed VVV to control possession throughout the match but didn’t concede many chances.
Passmaps & xGplot for VVV against Utrecht. #passmap #xGplot #autotweet pic.twitter.com/H0iyWVuquv
— 11tegen11 (@11tegen11) December 13, 2017
Feyenoord drop points against struggling Heerenveen
SC Heerenveen – who’d only tallied one point from three previous matches – probably didn’t expect to get a result at Feyenoord. The Friesians came to play on the day, though, and the final score finished at 1-1. Feyenoord controlled possession and found the breakthrough goal in the 41st minute. Sofyan Amrabat sent a looping cross into the box, which was controlled and scored by Steven Berghuis with his left foot.
Magisch… 🌨 pic.twitter.com/CMCq35Vy4y
— Feyenoord Rotterdam (@Feyenoord) December 11, 2017
Heerenveen weren’t deterred by the opening goal, though. Only minutes later, a deflected pass put Henk Veerman through on goal, and the Heerenveen striker struck the volley well. At 1-1, the visitors were more than happy to sit back and cede possession to Feyenoord. Heerenveen held on for a key draw, but Feyenoord will be displeased to drop more points almost halfway into the season.
ADO win close affair against Roda
ADO Den Haag won their second straight match in a matter of days, this one against relegation-threatened Roda JC. In the sixth minute, ADO failed to clear a low cross from Mario Engels, which was easily finished by striker Dani Schahin. The home side responded soon after, with Lex Immers finishing Sheraldo Becker’s looping cross in the 14th minute. Roda took the lead back later in the first half – Schahin won a penalty on the edge of the area, which was finished in the 39th minute by Simon Gustafson.
We love you Lexie we do!! (Kudos: Fox Sports)#ADOrod #ADO #FCDH #ADODENHAAG pic.twitter.com/0rvcvQVV55
— Groen Geel Hart (@groengeelharttv) December 13, 2017
ADO pushed on in the second half looking for an equalizer. With little over 20 minutes remaining, Lex Immers struck a grass-cutting long shot into the bottom corner of the net, taking both his and ADO’s tally to 2 on the day. Five minutes later, Becker found space on the right wing and whipped in a cross. The cross found the head of Erik Falkenburg, who nodded it inside the far post. It’s yet another 3-1 win for ADO, who have climbed to eighth.
Heracles score late winner against Sparta
Heracles Almelo rebounded from two straight disappointing defeats against Sparta Rotterdam, albeit with a last-minute winner. The only goal action of the first half came in the sixth minute – Brandley Kuwas’ free kick on the left flank curled in to Dries Wuytens, who headed the ball in for the opening goal. Sparta came out of the dressing room in the second half with a vengeance, as Nick Proschwitz scored from Sherel Floranus’ cross, only 42 seconds into the half.
Heracles-Sparta looked mad. Only the 34 shots, 20 corners and a late winner. #Eredivisie pic.twitter.com/B8x9ySvZ2X
— Caoimhín ☘️ (@Speirsiuloir) December 14, 2017
In the 74th minute, Heracles’ Brahim Darri picked out a centrally overlapping Reuven Niemeijer, who took a large touch into the box and fired into the roof of the net. Down 2-1, Sparta immediately responded with a goal of their own. Loris Brogno crossed from the right flank towards the left post, where Proschwitz headed in for his second goal of the night. It wasn’t until the last minute that Heracles once again took the lead; Sparta were caught out on the break, and substitute Sebastian Jakubiak dinked the ball to Vincent Vermeij, who scored one-on-one with the ‘keeper.
Ajax win over Excelsior to continue title push
AFC Ajax managed to claim three points against struggling Excelsior Rotterdam, but it didn’t come easy at first. Playing once again with Frenkie de Jong as a libero centre-half, Ajax were able to control the midfield throughout the match. David Neres dribbled himself into space on the right side of the box and crossed low to Siem de Jong, who scored the chance in the 23rd minute. Against most odds, Excelsior equalized on the stroke of halftime. Anouar Hadouir’s free kick was saved by André Onana, but the rebound fell to the feet of Mike van Duinen – the striker scooped the ball over Onana at the near post to equalize.
David Neres (20) leaves the Excelsior defender in his wake on the right, before cutting it back to Siem de Jong.
✅ Ajax 1-0
✅ 8th assist of the season
✅ Joint-most Eredivisie assists
Are you watching, Tite? 😉 pic.twitter.com/dP4l9wRppD
— Scouted Football (@scoutedftbl) December 14, 2017
In the second half, Excelsior’s Hicham Faik was adjudged to handle the ball in the box in the 56th minute. Danish striker Kasper Dolberg calmly converted the penalty – a big relief to many at the Amsterdam ArenA. Ajax kept dominating the match as time wore on, and a chance fell to one of the best players of the week. Hakim Ziyech struck a free kick over the defensive wall that settled into the bottom right corner: a fantastic free kick to make the final score 3-1.
Player of the Week: Hakim Ziyech (AJA) – 1 goal, 5/7 dribbles, 6 key passes, 123 touches, 5/8 tackles
Match of the Week: Groningen 3-3 PSV
Disappointment of the Week: PSV – second-straight match dropping points