• Monday, 20 September 2010

    Klassieker joy for Ajax: Eredivisie reviews

    De Graafschap 3-2 Heerenveen
    Groningen 2-0 Excelsior
    Vitesse 0-0 NAC
    Willem II 2-4 ADO
    Feyenoord 1-2 Ajax
    Utrecht 3-2 VVV Venlo
    NEC 0-1 AZ
    Roda JC 0-0 PSV
    Heracles 0-0 Twente

    Sunday turned out quite excellently for Ajax. A win over their deadliest rivals from down the road in Rotterdam and blanks drawn by their principle title rivals sees them take control of the Eredivisie table. They dominated all bar the last ten minutes of the game at De Kuip early on Sunday. The frame of the goal took a pounding before Siem de Jong put Ajax ahead. A free-kick was inadvertently flicked into de Jong's path by Stefan de Vrij and the international midfielder had a simple header for the opening goal. Feyenoord's cause wasn't helped moments later when Ron Vlaar came off second best in a collision with Maarten Stekelenburg and had to go off with a sore hip. Come the second half and the Feyenoord bar took a battering once more before Mounir El Hamdaoui finally got the goal his performance deserved, a beautiful reverse pass from Luis Suarez playing the Moroccan in. That was ten minutes in to the second half and it looked like game over. Ajax continued to create chances, but their inability to convert them always gave Feyenoord a sniff. With ten minutes left, André Bahia powered a header past Stekelenburg which set up an increasingly testy finish. Ajax retained the (marginally) cooler heads and closed it out.

    PSV and Twente were both held to goalless draws, PSV by Roda JC and Twente to ten-man local rivals Heracles. Mark Jan Fledderus picked up two yellows in the last three minutes of the first half in Almelo to leave Heracles a man short, but Twente couldn't take advantage. That means Groningen were the big winners and were even top for a short while having played the previous day to the other top sides. They were too big and too strong for Excelsior, but had to wait until shortly after the break for the breakthrough. An initial good save was picked up by Groningen and a pull-back found Nicklas Pedersen who lashed it home. Tim Matavz made it safe on the counter-attack with quarter of an hour remaining.

    At the bottom, Willem II still await their first points even though they were in front against ADO inside five minutes when Maceo Rigters volleyed in as ADO failed to clear. Aleksander Radosavljevic equalised before the break and ADO were in front shortly after it as the Willem II defence played musical statues and the keeper flapped to allow Frantisek Kubik to prod in. The Tilburgers were level within moments, a deep cross finding Evgeniy Levchenko's forehead, but Kubik got a second ten minutes from time, a neat angled finish though again largely thanks to the generosity of the Willem II rearguard. And it was four in the last minute, Dmitry Bulykin allowed to jog along the bye-line and poke it past the keeper. Awful, awful defending. AZ pulled themselves away from immediate trouble with a scratchy win over NEC, Jonathas with the only goal of the game late in a first half which NEC had the better of. Mind, it was a nice finish from a tight angle. VVV Venlo slip to second bottom after defeat to Utrecht despite leading twice. Ruud Boymans put VVV ahead for the first time after quarter of an hour with a lovely volley on the spin, but a wrestling match in the VVV penalty area ten minutes later gave Ricky van Wolfswinkel the opportunity to level which he took. Boymans restored the lead completely against the run of play, reacting quickest after his initial shot was blocked. It lasted six minutes this time, van Wolfswinkel from close range after a long range shot came back off the post. A deserved victory was completed with six minutes left when Jacob Mulenga took it to the line and squared it for Nana Asare to tap in. Finally, Rydell Poepon struck twice for De Graafschap as they recorded their second win of the season. Christian Grindheim had Heerenveen in front midway through the first half with a thunderous drive that came off the underside of the bar, but it was level at the break, Muslu Nalbantoglu with an equally impressive strike. Poepon's first three minutes after the break came on the end of a dizzying passing move and a nutmeg of the last defender, but Heerenveen were level through Oussama Aissadi - slightly more route one this time. Poepon won it with moments remaining, heading it in from a corner. Already, De Graafschap are six points clear of bottom place and it looks like a big gap.

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