• Monday, 27 April 2009

    Does anyone want second?: Eredivisie reviews

    Sparta 0-0 De Graafschap
    NEC 2-3 NAC
    Roda 1-1 Volendam
    Heerenveen 1-1 Twente
    Heracles 0-2 PSV
    Den Haag 2-3 Feyenoord
    Vitesse 6-1 Utrecht
    Groningen 0-0 Willem II
    Ajax 1-1 AZ

    A win for Steve McClaren's Twente would have put all the pressure on Ajax to respond. Indeed, had they won and Ajax lost, they'd have sewn it up now. They didn't. Indeed, it took a late, late Theo Janssen goal to snatch a draw at the Abe Lenstra on Saturday in a rehearsal for the Cup final. Paolo Henriques gave Heerenveen a lead 13 from time, but Janssen's 30-yarder deep into stoppage time maintained Twente in second. Ajax and AZ produced the same scoreline the following day to leave it very much as you were. Sadly, the game was overshadowed by a nasty injury to AZ keeper Joey Didulica. Only just back after almost two years out with a serious head injury, he took a knock to the head from Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan trying to get to a rebound after Didulica had saved his penalty. The game was held up for 14 minutes as the Croatian received treatment, but he looks to be OK. That penalty save came with AZ a goal up through Jeremain Lens before Suarez beat sub keeper Sergio Romero - himself only just back after smashing his own hand up in a punched-a-locker incident - from the penalty spot three minutes from time. Ajax struck the woodwork three times in the mammoth amount of stoppage time but couldn't force a winner. Next week, AZ go to Enschede while Ajax are at Sparta while the final week sees... Ajax v Twente. This is going all the way.

    De Graafschap, Roda and Volendam both picked up a point, making it very interesting down at the bottom. Roda and Volendam earned their points in a 1-1 draw between each other, Melvin Platje rescuing a point for Volendam with a late goal, responding to Blodiszar Bodor's opener. De Graafschap were held 0-0 by Sparta in a dour game and remain a point adrift of Roda, themselves a point behind Volendam and Den Haag. Sparta and Heracles are just three above those. ADO were beaten by Feyenoord in a game which came to life late on. Tim Derijck put ADO ahead on the hour only for Jon Dahl Tomasson to put Feyenoord 2-1 up. Richard Knopper levelled it, but Roy Makaay broke them with a late winner that puts the Rotterdammers into the Europa League play-offs. Heracles were seen off comfortably by PSV who have now won five on the spin, Balazs Dszudzsak and Ola Toivonen with the goals.

    NAC and NEC lie just outside the play-offs for Europe despite NAC's win over Mario Been's Nijmegeners. Lasse Schon's double wasn't enough for NEC as Kees Kwakman - what a name - Nourdin Boukhari and Anthony Lurling - in stoppage time - gave Breda the win. Groningen remain safe in the play-offs following their goalless draw with Willem II at the Euroborg despite Gibril Sankoh's late dismissal. Utrecht occupy the final play-off place despite copping a tubbing from Vitesse. They were 4-0 down before Hans Somers got one back. Nicky Hofs opened the scoring right at the end of the first half, but three in three minutes killed Utrecht around the hour. Claudemir hit two and Paul Verhaegh got the other before Utrecht responded, but Vitesse had time to add two late ones through Alex Buttner and Frank van der Struijk to complete the rout.

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