Eredivisie Roundup: Big Three Win Big, Zwolle and VVV roll

Eredivisie

Friday

FC Twente continued their resurgence from the relegation zone with a crucial win over Heracles on a rainy Friday night in Enschede. Twente striker Tom Boere found himself in loads of space with only a minute having been played, but his shot was cleared off the line by Lerin Duarte. Twente youngster Fredrik Jensen was there, however, and he slid the ball into the net. In the second half, Brahim Darri’s cross was aimed perfectly for Paul Gladon to glance it goalwards with his head, 1-1.

It wouldn’t be a Twente match if there wasn’t drama, and in the 76th minute there was certainly a moment for the Enschede fans to write home about. Midfield substitute Danny Holla stepped up for a free kick and curled it over Heracles’ wall, perfectly nestling into the top left corner. What a goal to win the match! Twente have now doubled their points total to six, with Heracles remaining on eight.


Saturday

NAC Breda were dreadfully close to snatching a draw against ADO Den Haag on Saturday – if it wasn’t for the woodwork they likely would have. Inside 10 minutes, Mounir El Hallouchi smacked an effort against the top right corner of the goal frame, and the rebound was unfortunately tapped onto the post by Giovanni Korte.

Den Haag made the hosts pay late in the match. With 10 minutes of regular time to play, a well-worked corner routine ended with defender Tom Beugelsdijk in space to ricochet a hard shot off a Breda defender and into the net. ADO will be pleased with their recent results; three wins and a draw from their last four means the team from The Hague has risen up to ninth (10 points). NAC Breda are in 14th place on 7 points.


PEC Zwolle have been in fine fettle this season – a trend that continued against FC Groningen this weekend. Groningen drew first blood thanks to young midfielder Ritsu Doan’s goal from close range within the quarter hour. Stef Nijland equalised minutes later for Zwolle after a goalmouth scrap, but Tom van Weert managed to compel the ball over the line (much to the dismay of goalkeeper Diederik Boer) in the second half and Groningen regained the lead.

Just like the first goal, though, PEC Zwolle came back minutes later and equalized. This time thanks to Ryan Thomas, the equaliser was a nice curling effort over the goalkeeper. Late in the second half, Groningen’s goal scorer van Weert was sent off for a poor challenge. Zwolle made the man advantage count in added time as Youness Mokhtar scored a winning goal in heroic fashion. The last minute goal sends Zwolle all the way up to fourth place (14 points), but Groningen remain mid-table in eleventh.


Despite their brave first half performance to hold PSV to a 0-0 scoreline, Willem II were completely overrun in the second half by the table leaders. Hirving Lozano struck the go-ahead goal only minutes into the second half and Gastón Pereiro’s header made the score 2-0 by the 55th minute. Lozano got his brace minutes later after some great play by Jürgen Locadia and Marco van Ginkel, while van Ginkel himself got on the scoresheet with a penalty in the 70th minute.

It’s been quite the start for PSV; the Boers find themselves a full three points ahead of reigning champions Feyenoord in the league. Willem II haven’t been as fortunate though, as the club from Tilburg are dead last with only three points having been claimed.

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VVV-Venlo continued their fine run to begin the season on Saturday against a struggling Excelsior side away. Midfielder Clint Leemans latched onto a misplaced ball by Excelsior’s keeper in the first half and fired a great chipped shot into the goal. Ralf Steuntjens’ second half header made it 2-0 and quelled any chance of an Excelsior comeback. While Excelsior remain lower mid-table in thirteenth, VVV have climbed into a European spot in seventh. Not bad for a newly-promoted side.

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Sunday

Feyenoord rebounded from two consecutive Eredivisie defeats with an emphatic 4-0 trouncing of a quality AZ Alkmaar side on Sunday. In the eleventh minute, Sam Larsson’s magisterial flick set up Steven Berghuis to rocket in the first goal of the afternoon. Larsson got a goal for himself a few minutes later – the AZ defense let him have space at the edge of the box and the Swedish winger fired in a goal from long range. Berghuis capped off a great first half with his second goal following a poor mistake from AZ defender Stijn Wuytens.

Berghuis turned provider in the second half by setting up Tonny Vilhena for an easy goal with a great run and cross from the right flank. It looks as though Feyenoord have shaken off the rust from the PSV and NAC defeats; the Rotterdammers remain in second, but AZ have dropped out of the European slots (8th).

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SC Heerenveen were unfortunate to lose 0-4 to AFC Ajax this weekend. Despite the seemingly one-sided score, I can say having watched the match that Heerenveen probably would’ve claimed all three points had it been their day. After the hosts struck the woodwork twice in the first half, Ajax’s Brazilian winger David Neres scored two goals to turn the game on its head before halftime.

In the second half, Lasse Schøne’s penalty and new signing Max Wöber’s scrappy goal made the game look worse for Heerenveen than it was. However, a loss is a loss and now the Frieslanders are undefeated no more. Heerenveen remain one point ahead of the Amsterdammers though, in fifth and sixth place, respectively.

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Vitesse and Utrecht couldn’t be separated on Sunday afternoon despite the Arnhem hosts controlling much of the possession. Utrecht’s young striker Cyriel Dessers got the faintest touch on a pass to put the visitors up with twenty minutes to play, but the lead didn’t last. Vitesse’s 18-year-old substitute, Mason Mount, covered himself in glory by tapping in an equalising goal in the 76th minute. I’d venture to say that the result is a fair one, considering the strength of both teams. Vitesse are having a solid season in third but Utrecht have fallen down to tenth.

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In the weekend’s final matchup, Roda JC claimed their first points (!!!) away against Sparta Rotterdam. Roda’s Tsiy William Ndenge scored a header in the first half from a corner and striker Dani Schahin scored a goal before the half to take them up 0-2. Sparta’s Robert Muhren halved the deficit in the 78th minute, but it wasn’t enough for the hosts. Roda have actually leapfrogged Willem II but are still in the relegation zone. Sparta are just above them in 16th.

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Player of the Week: Steven Berghuis – 2 goals, 1 assist, 2 key passes, 3 dribbles won.

Result of the Week: PEC Zwolle 3-2 FC Groningen

Disappointment of the Week: AZ Alkmaar – 4-0 loss to Feyenoord