• Monday, 8 March 2010

    First loss in a year for PSV sees it swing back to Twente: Eredivisie reviews

    AZ 4-1 Heerenveen
    Den Haag 1-1 Vitesse
    Heracles 3-2 Willem II
    NAC 2-1 PSV
    Roda 2-4 Feyenoord
    Sparta 0-3 Ajax
    Groningen 1-0 VVV Venlo
    Utrecht 1-0 NEC
    Waalwijk 0-1 Twente

    The Eredivisie must be one of the most static in Europe, if not the world. Only two sides ended up in a different league position at the end of the round compared to before. Crucially, however, those two sides are the top two. It was March 15 2009 when PSV last lost a league match, Leroy Fer with the only goal for Feyenoord at De Kuip. That time, Feyenoord were live title contenders, but this week, mid-table Roda finally made a sloppy PSV pay for their profligacy. An upset looked unlikely when Orlando Engelaar finished a superb solo move in the 18th minute and NAC keeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar denied Ola Toivonen at the back post, just tipping Ibrahim Afellay's cross away as the Swede lurked. Interplay between Donny Gorter and Edwin de Graaf saw the former chip Andreas Isaksson after receiving a return ball from the latter. Ten Rouwelaar kept out a Balazs Dzsudzsak free-kick to keep NAC in it, and a quickly taken free-kick at the other end fifteen minutes from time saw Tommie van der Leegte found Robbert Schilder who finished in style. Dzsudzsak curled a late free-kick wide, but NAC were worthy winners.

    That handed a superb opportunity to FC Twente who were playing rock bottom Waalwijk on Sunday. They were strangely subdued without talismanic skipper Blaise N'Kufo. They did have the ball in the net twice, Douglas and Bryan Ruiz both heading in from offside positions. They almost paid for their sloppiness when Derk Boerrigter had an effort cleared off the line, but Twente were in front almost immediately after as Ruiz crossed for Kenneth Perez to head home and send Steve McClaren's side back to the top of the standings. Ajax remain a threat as the top two have dropped points recently and they stuck another three away this weekend, Siem de Jong again the star as Sparta were brushed aside. Gregory van der Wiel continues to impress as well and those two gave Ajax a half-time lead, de Jong curling a beauty inside the far post and van der Wiel blasting one home on the half hour. In the absence of Luis Suarez, Christian Eriksen was given a chance to impress and he did, whipping in a pacy, curling cross for Dennis Rommedahl to volley home.

    Feyenoord remain fourth - there's a phrase that will continue to crop up as they're going nowhere - after an entertaining game against Roda. Sekou Cissé put the Rotterdammers on a quarter hour before Ruud Vormer was sent off, reducing Roda to ten. They held out for 40 minutes before Cissé made it two, but Jeanvion Yulu-Matondo pulled one back quickly. Luigi Bruins and Roy Makaay made the game safe before Darley was sent off five minutes from time and Boldiszar Bodor grabbed a consolation from the resulting free-kick. Late drama at Utrecht as well where a poor game was heading for 0-0 until Bram Nuytinck got himself sent off and Ricky van Wolfswinkel made NEC pay by nabbing a late winner. Heracles stay in European contention after beating Willem II for whom Gerson Sheotahul scored twice. Everton's 50th minute strike ended up the winner. AZ look back to something like form after all the trials that this season has thrown up. They came from behind to see off Heerenveen for whom Filip Djuricic put them ahead on 20 minutes. The lead lasted just 2 minutes though, Maarten Martens with the equaliser and Mounir El Hamdaoui had them in front by half-time. Jeremain Lens made it three early in the second half and it was wrapped up in the last minute by Brett Holman. Tim Matavz got the only goal as Groningen beat VVV Venlo and in the big game down at the bottom, Den Haag drew with Vitesse, Christian Kum pegging back Lasse Nilsson's opener.

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