AZ find no trouble against Twente
AZ Alkmaar were able to enjoy their Friday night thanks to a 2-0 victory over lowly FC Twente. The home side largely dominated the first half, as striker Wout Weghorst was twice denied by Twente goalkeeper Jorn Brondeel. AZ kept pushing for a goal after the break and were finally rewarded when Fredrik Midtsjø won a penalty in the 64th minute, which was calmly executed by Alireza Jahanbakhsh. Just minutes later, Jahanbakhsh beat his man down the flank and quickly crossed into Joris van Overeem, whose first-time shot found the back of the net.
Both teams had some great chances near the end of the match, but AZ were not to give up the lead and the match finished 2-0. A fantastic performance by Alireza will certainly add fuel to the fire of rumors that have been created surrounding the Iranian winger moving to a top league.
Ogbeche heroics rescue point for Willem II
VVV Venlo couldn’t hold onto multiple two-goal leads on Saturday against Willem II and were forced to settle for a point. VVV’s young winger Vito van Crooij brought the crowd at De Koel to its feet early on when he struck a long shot into the corner of the goal. It seemed at first that the fantastic finish would be the only real action of the day, but the second half would bring a lot more. Damian van Bruggen – the hero against Feyenoord – scored VVV’s second right after the break. After a corner, the ball fell to the feet of the midfielder, who neatly finished at close range.
Willem II would not be denied though; Ismail Azzaoui’s volley deflected off Bartholomew Ogbeche in the 62nd minute to halve the deficit. However, VVV striker Lennart Thy was brought down in the penalty box soon after, and Clint Leemans converted from the spot to bring the lead back up to two. The away side kept fighting, though, and Ogbeche got his second with a header following Jop van der Linden’s free kick. With the match seemingly over, Willem II carved out one more chance in added time. Ogbeche latched onto Azzouzi’s cross and scored a thrilling equalizing goal.
Dreary NAC falter in Almelo
NAC Breda visited Heracles Almelo with the hopes of making amends following last weekend’s embarrassing 0-8 defeat, but they weren’t quite able to do that. NAC full-back Angeliño certainly gave the team hopes of a win early on with his fantastic long shot in the 14th minute. It didn’t take long for the favourites to equalise though, as in-form Reuven Niemeijer blasted a goal into the net only a minute later. That’s three goals in three straight matches for the 22-year-old.
Less than 10 minutes later, the quick comeback was complete. Brandley Kuwas lifted a corner kick up and over the defence, where striker Paul Gladon met the ball with his foot. The volley leaked under the outstretched Mark Birighitti. Heracles pinned back the newly-promoted visitors for much of the match and, thus, the score remained stagnant until full-time.
Feyenoord win at last
Feyenoord managed to pick up a victory in Groningen, their first win in six matches. Groningen put up a great fight in the first half, holding the frustrated champions to a 0-0 draw. In the second half, Feyenoord got rolling when Steven Berghuis dribbled through the defence and put a shot on target. The save fell to Tonny Vilhena, who coolly finished to take the lead.
Ten minutes later, Feyenoord scored an absolutely brilliant goal. Berghuis held up the play in the middle of the box, allowing Nicolai Jørgensen to overlap. The winger back-heeled to the Danish forward, who chipped the ball into the net from a tight angle.
Zwolle roll on in Heerenveen
In a statement win, over-performing PEC Zwolle defeated out-of-form SC Heerenveen on Saturday. Heerenveen fans got up off their seats when Michel Vlap struck a fantastic volley in the 13th minute. Stijn Schaars’ pass was superb, but the young midfielder will take the plaudits for a superb finish (third goal in four matches). The struggling Frieslanders didn’t hold on, though.
Before halftime, Youness Mokhtar’s free kick was headed in by Nicolas Freire – an equaliser for PEC Zwolle. The away side made quick work in the second half – Kingsley Ehizibue cut inside and saw his shot saved, but Mustafa Samyak was in space to score with the rebound. PEC held on despite some late chances.
Ajax jubilant over pesky Roda
Roda JC were looking to pull off an upset against Ajax Amsterdam, but the home side’s storming second half saw the score line finish quite lopsidedly. Despite Ajax understandably controlling a majority of the possession, Roda got off the mark first. Defender Chris Kum got his head to a ball at the near post after Joel Veltman failed to head the ball clear. However, Ajax equalized on the stroke of halftime – Justin Kluivert was unleashed after a one-two with Hakim Ziyech, and he was able to beat his marker and slot under Hidde Jurjus.
Frenkie de Jong was subbed on at halftime and Ajax switched to somewhat of a 3-3-2-1 formation. The switch paid off, as fourteen minutes into the half David Neres cut to the byline and crossed into Kasper Dolberg, who finally broke his goal drought. Ajax won the ball back right after the kick-off, and Kluivert struck a stinging long shot to take the score quickly to 3-1.
De Godenzonen did not let up. Frenkie de Jong’s cross to the top of the box in the 75th minute was met by the left foot of Donny van de Beek, who built upon his hat trick last weekend with a fantastic strike. Ten minutes later, Justin Kluivert beat his man on the wing, cut inside, and struck a bottom corner finish to complete his hat trick. What a day for the 18-year-old!
PSV escape Rotterdam by a hair
League-toppers PSV Eindhoven visited Excelsior Rotterdam expecting a win. The team delivered, but just barely. Jürgen Locadia’s cross from the left wing was alarmingly poked into the goal by Excelsior defender Jurgen Mattheij to give PSV an early lead. As the first half wore down, PSV defender Daniel Schwaab unleashed Santiago Arias with a fantastic through-ball. The Colombian right-back sent a low cross into the area, where in-form Hirving Lozano struck a sweet finish despite the pass leaving him off balance.
Lanky Excelsior veteran Ryan Koolwijk created space for himself and scored from close range early in the second half – after some brilliant ball retention by Stanley Elbers. PSV weren’t on the top of their game and allowed the home side to grow into the match. As Excelsior pushed forward late on, last weekend’s hero Nicolas Isimat-Mirin nearly turned villain when his clearance almost looped over Jeroen Zoet into his own net. Nevertheless, PSV held on for their ninth Eredivisie win on the bounce.
Utrecht take care of business against Sparta
FC Utrecht won their third match in a row on Sunday away against Sparta Rotterdam. The away side made quick work of the opposition, as only thirty seconds into the match Gyrano Kerk cut across the box to Zakaria Labyad, who swept the ball into the net for a very early goal. Sparta weren’t to be deterred, though. They held the score until halftime and managed to equalize ten minutes into the second half. Robert Muhren ran down the flank and crossed in front of goal, where Nick Proschwibtz tapped in the ball.
Labyad scored his second of the day with a fantastic free kick from a tough angle, which has to go down as goal of the weekend. Minutes later, Kerk was unleashed on the counter and managed to sneak a shot underneath a disappointed Roy Kortsmit to take the score to 1-3.
Vitesse leave it late against ADO
ADO Den Haag nearly managed an away draw in Arnhem against Vitesse, but the home side snuck in two quick goals before full time. After Vitesse missed a penalty in the 50th and ADO defender Tyronne Ebuehi was sent off in the 71st minute, Chelsea loanees Mason Mount and Matt Miazga linked up on a corner that the latter headed in. Bryan Linssen added insult to injury in added time when he escaped the grasp of Robert Zwinkels on the counter to prod home a second goal.
Player of the Week: Justin Kluivert (AJA) – 3 goals, 4 key passes, 2/4 dribbles completed
Club of the Week: PEC Zwolle – 1-2 away victory over SC Heerenveen
Disappointment of the Week: VVV-Venlo – draw 3-3 with Willem II after leading by two goals