• Sunday, 8 August 2010

    Champions held: Eredivisie reviews

    Roda JC 0-0 Twente
    NEC 1-0 VVV Venlo
    De Graafschap 3-0 Excelsior
    Heracles 3-0 Willem II
    Heerenveen 1-3 PSV
    Groningen 2-2 Ajax
    Feyenoord 3-1 Utrecht
    Vitesse 3-1 ADO
    NAC 1-1 AZ

    Twente utterly dominated the opening game of the season in Kerkrade, but were unable to find a killer touch. Bryan Ruiz had a couple of opportunities in the first half, but resolute defending from Roda kept them at bay. The best chance fell to Mads Junker whose looping header came crashing back off the top side of the crossbar, but Roda were grateful to goalkeeper Premyslav Tyton for securing a point with an outstanding save from a curling Nacer Chadli effort nine minutes from time which looked set for the top corner until a strong arm from the Polish keeper pushed it away. PSV were being held goalless by Heerenveen at half-time, but Ola Toivonen got their challenge up and running six minutes after the break. He won the ball with a strong challenge midway inside his own half and set off upfield. He passed wide for Stanislav Manolev, but continued his run, arriving in the box just in time to meet Manolev's return to slam home the opener. Heerenveen were level soon after with a powerful header, but late goals wrapped it up for the Eindhoveners, Toivonen with an absolute screamer from all of 35 yards in the 82nd minute and Orlando Engelaar added gloss with a firm left foot drive from 20 yards in stoppage time.

    Feyenoord won 3-1, coming from behind against Utrecht. Ricky van Wolfswinkel put the visitors ahead after a free-kick was parried into his path by Erwin Mulder, but it was rather against the run of play though Utrecht did enjoy a strong spell afterwards. Feyenoord were back into it early in the second half with a comedy own goal, Alje Schut sliding in at the back post to prod it past his own keeper. Quite a finish which turned the game. A Luigi Bruins thunderbolt made it two just after the hour and Leroy Fer wrapped it up, heading in a free-kick with quarter of an hour to go. A double on his Ajax debut from Mounir El Hamdaoui wasn't enough for the Amsterdammers to see off Groningen who came back at them. His and Ajax's first came five minutes into the second half; very much route one stuff, but with a deft finish off the outside of the boot. He's paid for all the boot, so the outside is as good as any other part and it was the same patch of leather that saw him curl a second past the hapless Luciano (archetypal South American flap-merchant) in the Groningen goal on the hour. That should have been that, but Groningen finally came to life and dominated the last 20 minutes, a brief one-man pitch invasion notwithstanding. They laid siege to the Ajax goal and a neat lay-off saw Tim Matavz blaze through a crowd scene to pull one back. The equaliser arrived four minutes from time from a corner, disputed for an obvious foul of Demy de Zeeuw in the build-up. Maarten Stekelenburg could only parry the first effort and Nicklas Pedersen was on hand to bundle it in. Erik Falkenburg gave AZ the lead in Breda, played in by a neat through ball by a NAC defender, but the home side earned a draw late on when Matthew Amoah tapped home from close range as the AZ defence went AWOL.

    Vitesse were another side to come from behind as they saw off ADO to sit unusually high on the league ladder at this very early stage. Lex Immers turned in a low cross for the opener for Den Haag, but they were pegged back on the stroke of half-time as Wiljan Pluim demonstrated that good touch for a big man, rolling his marker and slotting the ball past the keeper. Two second half penalties from Lasse Nilsson sealed the win, one for handball, one for a foul. The first was allowed to stand despite some laughably obvious encroachment, but the second was pulled back for a retake for the same reason, despite the offence being no less subtle. All three kicks were confidently placed to the keeper's right. He wasn't getting anywhere near any of them. Ramon Zomer got the only goal for NEC as they beat VVV Venlo. A free-kick looked to have been dealt with, but the VVV defence was pulled this way and that before Rens van Eijden stood a cross up to the back post where Zomer powered in a header. Concerns over Excelsior's defence took just eight minutes to be realised as they allowed Rydell Poepon to head home from six yards and they were missing in action for another two De Graafschap goals in the second half. Muslu Nalbantoglu fired in from a tight-ish angle and Steve de Ridder's long range shot took a slight nick on it's way through a forest of legs. Excelsior look really poor as do Willem II, given a lesson in support and passing by Heracles. Marko Vejinovic got the first goal of the Eredivisie season just three minutes in as Heracles broke with pace and Willie Overtoom's shot was parried into the path of of the young striker. Glynor Plet made the game safe with a late brace, the first a free header at the back post, the second a delightful drive into the roof of the net after showing off some ball juggling skills and it's De Graafschap and Heracles that top the table.

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