Eredivisie Round 31 Results: Ajax slip up while Feyenoord and PSV win
Vitesse's chances of finishing in second place took a massive blow when they lost to Feyenoord and Willem II picked up three crucial points as they beat Roda 2-1
By Peter McVitie
AJAX 1-1 HEERENVEEN
Alfred Finnbogason delayed Ajax’s title party after his second-half strike earned a point for Heerenveen in the Amsterdam ArenA on Friday night.
Ajax started the game the brighter of the two sides and came close to taking an early lead through Viktor Fischer, but the 18-year-old Denmark international failed to hit the target.
Fischer later recovered from his miss to put the Amsterdam side in the lead after 26 minutes, heading past Kristoffer Nordfeldt with ease upon meeting Ricardo van Rhijn’s cross with his head.
Van Rhijn should have made it 2-0 later in the half when he slipped in behind the defence to collect a pass, but his shot flew across the face of goal. Then, shortly after the break, a fantastic passing move ended in the ball being dropped for Fischer but he couldn’t connect with it and it went wide.
Heerenveen started to see more of the ball as the game wore on and increased the pressure on the Ajax goal. Finnbogason managed to pull his side level eight minutes into the second-half when he forced his way in front of Niklas Moisander to tap Sven Kums’ low cross past Jasper Cillessen.
Both sides had opportunities to net the winning goal but found no joy as the game ended all square.
GRONINGEN 2-1 ADO
Groningen made sure they are still holding onto the final Europa League play-off spot by beating ADO 2-1 in a match in which two players were sent off.
The sides approached this game in very different form, with Groningen having won their previous four matches and ADO having lost each of the preceding four games. That difference in form was evident throughout the match as the home side always looked too strong for their opponents.
Genero Zeefuik opened the scoring after 38 minutes with his first goal since February, heading in an Andraz Kirm cross. The move was replicated just four minutes later, this time it was David Texeira who was on the receiving end of Kirm’s ball, ending in the same result.
Groningen were reduced to ten men after 64 minutes when Virgil van Dijk saw red for a tackle on the edge of the box.
ADO benefited from the man advantage as they halved the deficit through Kevin Jansen before the goalscorer himself was dismissed in the closing stages after picking up his second yellow card.
HERACLES 4-0 RKC
Heracles are still in with a chance of finishing in the Europa League play-off places this season after beating RKC 4-0 in the Polman Stadion.
RKC got off to a bright start, putting early pressure on the Heracles back line but failed to take their chances.
Heracles punished the visitors for their sloppy finishing, taking the lead through Kwame Quansah who opened the scoring from a penalty after Fragan Paljic was brought down by Guy Ramos on the 18-yard line.
Marko Vejinovic made it 2-0 20 minutes after the restart when Everton played it out wide to Thomas Bruns who then moved it onto the midfielder to put it in first time.
Everton put Heracles further ahead, scooping into the top of the net after Vejinovic cut back from the right side.
Vejinovic combined with Everton once again, sending a fantastic pass to the forward who then cut in with his first touch before curling it into the top corner from outside the box.
WILLEM II 2-1 RODA
Willem II made sure they are still clinging on to life in the Eredivisie with a 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Roda.
Willem II showed their attacking intent from the opening stages of the match as they went looking for an early goal. But it was Roda who had the first real opportunity of the game as Mitchell Donald found himself clear on goal but he was denied by David Meul.
The deadlock was broken five minutes into the second-half when Philipp Haastrup headed Willem II into a deserved lead. Aurelien Joachim doubled the Tilburg side’s advantage 10 minutes later when he converted a penalty.
Sanharib Malki ensured a nervy end to the game for both sides when he made it 2-1 after 88 minutes but the hosts were able to hold onto their lead and secure the three points.
They now find themselves just two points behind VVV in the relegation playoff places with three games remaining
AZ 1-3 PSV
PSV closed the gap on league leaders Ajax with a deserved 3-1 win over AZ in the AFAS Stadion.
The visitors were, as expected, the more dangerous side from the beginning of the game. They took a deserved lead after 36 minutes when Mark van Bommel blasted a free kick straight into the top corner, sending it hurling past AZ goalkeeper Esteban at a speed of 102km/h.
Dick Advocaat’s side’s dominance increased as the game went on and they went 2-0 up just before the hour mark after Dries Mertens tapped in for goal number 14 after Kevin Strootman squared to him on the edge of the box.
Jeremain Lens killed the game off just four minutes later when AZ defender Etienne Reijnen could only knock the Netherlands international’s pass back into his path. Lens then took the ball forward before switching onto his left foot to evade his marker and firing low into Esteban’s net.
Adam Maher looked to be AZ’s only chance of creating anything throughout the match and he was limited to shots from distance. The 19-year-old played a key part in his side’s consolation goal as Aron Johannsson passed to him on the edge of the box and the teenager sent it wide to Johann Berg Gudmundsson who knocked it across the face of goal for Johannsson to round off the attack with a neat finish.
VVV 2-2 TWENTE
Second-half goals from Rasmus Bengtsson and Luc Castaignos rescued a point for Twente as they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with relegation candidates VVV.
VVV put Twente under a lot of pressure and made it difficult for them to build any momentum from the first whistle before taking the lead inside 20 minutes. It was Nils Roseler who put VVV ahead, diverting Bryan Linssen’s free kick past Nikolay Mihaylov with a well placed header.
Uche Nwofor inflicted further damage upon Twente when his shot from outside the box bounced awkwardly to evade the hands of Mihaylov and bounce into the back of the net to put VVV 2-0 up.
Twente did well to fight back, increasing the pressure on VVV immediately after the restart. Their comeback was sparked into life from Bengtsson who headed in a Dusan Tadic cross. The score was levelled just one minute later when Tim Holscher fired across the face of goal for Luc Castaignos to nudge over the line.
NEC 1-3 ZWOLLE
Zwolle now sit nine points above the relegation playoff spots after they beat NEC 3-1 in Nijmegen.
Youness Mokhtar scored first for the visitors after pouncing on a poor Rens van Eijden pass and charging forward to smash past Gabor Babos.
Five minutes later, Babos failed to deal with a corner and Fred Benson was there to chest it over the line.
NEC pulled one back early in the second- half when Leroy George struck one in from close range.
Alex Pastoor’s men then began to press forward as they looked to draw level with the visitors but they struggled to threaten the Zwolle goal. The game was eventually killed off when Mateusz Klich latched onto a Mokhtar pass and brought it onto his right foot before sending it past Babos.
The result puts Zwolle just one point behind NEC, who are now five points behind the relegation play-off places.
UTRECHT 3-0 NAC
Utrecht picked up a relatively easy three points on Sunday as they beat NAC 3-0.
Utrecht were on top throughout the match and took an early lead through Mike van der Hoorn. The defender beat Jelle ten Rouwelaar with a header from a Jens Toornstra free kick to put Utrecht a goal to the good inside 15 minutes.
Minutes later, Nana Asare found Mark van der Maarel out on the right wing and the full-back sent a dangerous ball into the box for Toornstra to knock it in at the front post.
NAC broke forward on occasion and got the ball into the box but they were lacking targets in the danger zone. But, with Utrecht sitting comfortably in the lead, NAC were afforded more time on the ball and attacked with more intent in the second half than they did in the first. However, they rarely threatened Robbin Ruiter’s goal.
Edouard Duplan soon killed the game off with Utrecht’s third goal with 15 minutes remaining. The striker was perfectly placed to put the ball into the net after Romano van der Stoep put it on a plate for him with a low cross.
FEYENOORD 2-0 VITESSE
Feyenoord picked up all three points in the biggest game of the weekend in the Dutch top flight, beating Vitesse 2-0 to pull level on points with second-placed PSV.
Feyenoord were by far the better team throughout the match as they dominated possession against a Vitesse side which was without the injured Wilfried Bony as well as midfielder Marco van Ginkel.
The Rotterdam side took the lead in controversial circumstances, as Tomas Kalas’ hands were raised as he closed down Graziano Pelle’s shot, but the ball hit his face instead, yet the referee pointed to the spot anyway. Pelle then stepped up and slammed in the opener for goal number 23 in the league this season for the Italian.
Vitesse had no reply, however, as they failed to build any momentum and threaten Erwin Mulder’s goal.
Ronald Koeman’s side went 2-0 up five minutes after the restart, as they hit their opponents with a fantastic counterattack. Pelle received the ball in the middle of the park and sent it out wide to Ruben Schaken. The winger cut in past Patrick van Aanholt and fired a shot towards goal which was blocked and the rebound fell kindly in front of Lex Immers who fired in from close range.
Following the goal, Feyenoord sat back and let Vitesse see more of the ball, but the Arnhem side still couldn’t get into the final third and find a way back into the match and it finished 2-0.
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