Ah, Dutch Football. We’re not even done with the month of April and there are only two weeks left of the Eredivisie. Things are really shaping up in the table; Ajax drop points which means Feyenoord are almost certainly champions. The relegation battle is changing drastically every single week, but it looks like Go Ahead Eagles are certainly going down. How did your team do this weekend?
Heerenveen 1-0 Willem II
Late in the first half, Sam Larsson latched onto a miscalculated header on the left flank before making a great run and finishing low past the keeper. Willem had little to offer in terms of attacking in the first game of Match Week 32, and there was no goal in the second half. Heerenveen will be pleased with the win as they are in a pretty good position to fight for European football as the season starts to die down.
NEC Nijmegen 0-1 Excelsior
NEC couldn’t prevent themselves from losing their 7th straight Eredivisie game against Excelsior on Sunday. It was a relatively drab match as Mike van Duinen’s headed goal on 60 minutes was the only shot on target for either club. Defender Khalid Karami sent in a beautiful lofted cross for Excelsior’s striker to latch onto and head over the keeper. Excelsior’s back line did a great job of preventing NEC from creating much of anything following the goal, which secured a solid win for a club that is very close to securing mathematical safety from relegation.
PEC Zwolle 1-2 Heracles
Samuel Armenteros continued his fine form with a brace to give Heracles the win over slumping Zwolle. In the second half, winger Kristoffer Peterson finished a beautiful dribbling move by crossing into the box, where Armenteros gladly obliged by sliding the ball past the keeper. Following a save from Bram Castro, Heracles went on the counterattack. Brahim Darri’s through ball found an unmarked Armenteros, who was played onside by an unknowing Zwolle fullback, and he finished low to double his team’s lead. With about five minutes left, defender Ted van de Pavert scored a header from a corner only seconds after being subbed on. It wasn’t enough for the home side, however, and Zwolle prolong their winless run and find themselves close to the relegation playoffs.
AZ Alkmaar 2-1 Twente
AZ continued to cement their place in the top of the table with a win over Twente on Saturday. Joachim Andersen certainly made it difficult for AZ though, as his header from Mateusz Klich’s cross put the away side up midway through the second half. Andersen’s centre-back partner, Peet Bijen, was the one who conceded the equalising goal in the 81st minute when he headed a free-kick into his own net. Five minutes later, Andersen himself received his second yellow card: a yellow card that would cost Twente come added time. With 91 minutes having been played, Freddy Friday ran at a 10-man Twente, juked a defender, and fired low to complete AZ’s comeback. It was a tough loss for Twente, and it means they are pretty close to being dropped from a European spot. AZ put themselves in a great position to leap over Vitesse if they lost to Feyenoord the following day.
Go Ahead Eagles 2-3 Groningen
Go Ahead Eagles all but ensured their relegation to the Jupiler League with a home loss to Groningen. Mimoun Mahi continued his fine goal scoring form late in the first half with good control of a through ball and low finish. Both teams continued on with good chances at goal, but the second goal didn’t come until Sam Hendriks’s 74th minute equalising strike. Jesper Drost reclaimed Groningen’s lead on 80 minutes, but Darren Maatsen’s 89th-minute goal drew things square once more. Just as the Eagles thought they’d claimed a crucial point, Groningen cleared a corner to start a counterattack. Mimoun Mahi was left all alone racing towards goal; he rounded the keeper and finished off any hopes the home side had of salvaging their Eredivisie lives. Go Ahead Eagles are now five points below the relegation playoffs and 7 points below automatic safety. Groningen still sit in 10th after Heracles also won.
Utrecht 1-0 Roda JC
The home side expectedly dominated Roda in Sunday’s opening match, but weren’t able to breakthrough until very late on. Zakaria Labyad’s stunning 87th-minute free-kick found the back of the net, sinking the hearts of Roda fans who knew a draw would’ve been crucial. Utrecht largely bossed the game, and it would’ve been 2-0 save for Daryl Werker’s goal line clearance for the away side. Roda can be proud of holding the 4th-placed side to one goal, and with later results going their way, the club from Kerkrade actually climbed out of the relegation zone.
Sparta Rotterdam 0-1 ADO Den Haag
ADO Den Haag are mathematically safe while Sparta drop to the relegation zone after a closely contested match between the two. Den Haag midfielder Abdenasser El Khayati scored a superb long shot inside ten minutes to start the match off with a bang. It really couldn’t have been more well-placed: top corner, off the post and in. Sparta controlled a lot of the possession and had better passing throughout the match, but ADO’s defence should be credited with never really letting them have a clear-cut chance at goal. Sparta haven’t picked up points in quite some time, but Den Haag couldn’t be happier with their recent Eredivisie form.
Vitesse 0-2 Feyenoord
Feyenoord looked to increase the gap between them and Ajax at the top on Sunday; star striker Nicolai Jørgensen gladly took the crown as the man responsible for doing just that. The Danish striker tapped home a deflected cross in the 10th minute before he linked up with Jens Toornstra in the 28th minute, who crossed it in for Jørgensen to volley home. Vitesse, somewhat surprisingly, offered quite little in terms of attacking threat, which allowed Feyenoord to easily claim another three points in the title race.
PSV Eindhoven 1-0 AFC Ajax
Ajax faltered against De Topper rivals PSV, dropping a crucial three points in the title race. Jürgen Locadia’s first half free kick stunned Ajax fans and sent the Philips Stadion into a cauldron of joy. The striker has been superb for the 3rd-placed side after his return from injury. Ajax really didn’t have too much success in getting good chances against the solid defence of PSV, and this will almost certainly cost them as they are now four points behind Feyenoord with only two matches left. Luckily for Ajax fans, there is at least a Europa League semi-final against former PSV star Memphis Depay and his Olympique Lyonnais to look forward to.
All-in-all there was some quality skill on display this weekend in The Netherlands, but unfortunately for viewers, it was mostly on the defensive end of the pitch. Feyenoord now look like there’s nothing stopping them from winning the title, and with Excelsior and Heracles being their final two opponents you wouldn’t bet against tRotterdammersers winning the title. Ajax will be disappointed with the loss at PSV, but if the team didn’t drop so many points against lowly Dutch clubs earlier, they wouldn’t have to worry about needing three against one of the strongest. Be sure to check BFTGT for the next Eredivisie roundup, as there’s only two weeks of football left to be played!