Ajax closed the gap between themselves and pole position as they beat Groningen 2-0 and NAC managed to hold Feyenoord to a draw, while Heerenveen were involved in another goal glut
HERACLES 1-1 UTRECHT
Heracles and Utrecht played out a 1-1 draw on Friday night as the visitors lost ground on the top Eredivisie sides.
The game started like all of this weekend’s fixtures, with a minute silence preceding the match to pay respect to Richard Nieuwenhuizen, the linesman who was killed in an attack following an amateur game last week.
Heracles were the brighter team from the first whistle and came close to taking an early lead through Willie Overtoom’s audacious shot from distance which came back off the bar.
Lerin Duarte got the first goal inside the opening 20 minutes when he nudged Everton’s shot to put it past Robbin Ruiter.
But Utrecht equalised through Christian Dorda's spectacular effort from the byeline which flew into the net past Remko Pasveer.
Heracles thought they had netted the winner when Geoffrey Castillion’s shot ricocheted off the bar and post before bouncing off the line. The striker ran away celebrating but the referee ruled that it had not crossed the line and the game finished 1-1.
RKC 2-0 NEC
RKC move up to eighth place in the Eredivisie with a 2-0 win over NEC on Saturday evening.
The home team were by far the better side throughout the game and were worthy of the win.
Teddy Chevalier had the first chance of the match when his shot from the 18 yard line was tipped over the bar by Gabor Babos on seven minutes.
Right-back Cuco Martina scored the first goal of the game when he received a pass from Florian Jozefzoon and blasted it in with the help of a deflection.
Chevalier almost doubled RKC’s lead when he ran onto Jeroen Zoet’s long ball and fired goalwards, but his effort sailed over the bar.
Zoet then nearly put the ball in his own net when he went down to grab a routine Soren Rieks cross, but the RKC goalkeeper only diverted it towards his own goal before it was cleared off the line by one of his defenders.
The game was killed off after 80 minutes as Jozefzoon capped off a wonderful team move which ended with him tapping Nourdin Boukhari’s low cross into the net from close range.
AZ 0-0 WILLEM II
Willem II picked up a valuable point as they held Gertjan Verbeek’s AZ to a 0-0 draw.
The Alkmaar side were left to rue their missed opportunities as they failed to take advantage of any of the chances they created against a Willem II side who had just one shot on target in the entire game.
Jozy Altidore missed a clear chance to put AZ ahead when a cross came in from the left wing and flew straight at the American striker, but he slipped and could not divert the ball towards goal before the danger was cleared.
Adam Maher came close when he went for goal after a through ball found him in the box, but his shot rolled across the face of goal and out of play.
Maher was involved in the thick of the action once again when his overhead-kick fell to Altidore, who prodded it towards the target and was foiled by David Meul.
Erik Falkenburg, Maher and Altidore all had chances in front of goal but were left frustrated as Willem II held out for the point.
ADO 1-1 ZWOLLE
Jens Toornstra’s goal cancelled out Rochdi Achenteh’s first-half strike as ADO Den Haag and Zwolle drew 1-1.
Despite ADO being the better team for the first 20 minutes, it was Zwolle who drew first blood when Achenteh’s free kick evaded everyone in the box and flew straight into the net.
Mike van Duinen should have equalised when he went on a fantastic run but his shot missed the target.
Toornstra thought he had levelled the score as he brought down a Aaron Meijers ball into the box and volleyed home, but it was disallowed as the linesman had ruled him offside.
But the equaliser eventually came with Van Duinen squaring to Toornstra in the box and the striker hit it first time past Zwolle goalkeeper Diederik Boer.
Joost Broerse came close to restoring Zwolle’s lead but his header flew wide of the target. With 15 minutes left, Danny Holla fired a shot towards goal but it was deflected behind.
Stanley Elbers was unlucky not to find the net with an overhead-kick, with Boer tipping it over the bar to ensure his side left with a point.
AJAX 2-0 GRONINGEN
Reigning Eredivisie champions Ajax picked up all three points as they beat Groningen 2-0 at the Amsterdam ArenA.
It was a slow start from Frank de Boer’s side who were returning to league action following their 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League.
The Amsterdam giants were awarded a penalty inside the first 15 minutes when Virgil van Dijk was adjudged to have brought down Derk Boerrigter inside the box and Siem de Jong stepped up to take it but was kept out by Luciano Da Silva.
Ajax took the lead after 42 minutes when Danny Hoesen laid the ball to Derk Boerrigter inside the box, with the winger turning and blasting the ball into the bottom corner.
Shortly after the restart, Ricardo van Rhijn smacked the bar with a shot from distance and De Jong latched onto the loose ball and was pulled back by Kees Kwakman, giving the referee no option but to point to the spot. This time it was Lasse Schone who stepped up to take the penalty and the Dane made no mistake in burying the spot-kick.
Debutant Lucas Andersen almost made it 3-0 to Ajax late in the game but he was denied by the post.
HEERENVEEN 4-4 RODA
Heerenveen and Roda shared the spoils in an eight-goal thriller on Sunday.
The home side dominated the game straight from kick-off and moved the ball around well, taking the lead in the first-half when Filip Djuricic charged forward from the halfway line. The Serbian international unleashed a shot from the edge of the box and it evaded Roda goalkeeper Filip Kurto and hit the back of the net.
After the opener Roda began to threaten more as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser and it was Sanharib Malki who levelled the score after 36 minutes as he headed in a fantastic Mark-Jan Fledderus free kick.
Heerenveen restored their lead just before the break in superb style. The move began with Marco van Basten’s side defending a free kick and running forward as the ball was struck in an attempt to play the offside trap. Kristoffer Nordfeldt caught the delivery and launched it forward as Heerenveen attacked while the Roda defenders scrambled to get back. Rajiv Van La Parra collected the ball outside the box and chipped it over Kurto to make it 2-1 at half-time.
It was the hosts who next found the net when Alfred Finnbogason latched onto a Djuricic through ball and fired home.
The scoring was far from over though and Roda pulled one back through Bart Biemans as the defender headed in a superb cross from Mitchell Donald. But four minutes later, Van La Parra restored the home side’s two-goal lead, tapping in the loose ball after Kurto saved a Finnbogason shot.
Malki was afforded a free header inside the box as he nodded a Guus Hupperts cross home to reduce the deficit to one, before Hupperts himself equalised with a last minute wonder-strike from the edge of the box to clinch the point for his side.
NAC 2-2 FEYENOORD
Feyenoord were held to a 2-2 draw with NAC Breda on Sunday in a match which included two red cards.
Graziano Pelle was at the right place at the right time as he scored the opening goal. Ruben Schaken cut the ball back to Wesley Verhoek, whose shot was blocked by the defender and it flew straight to the striker to fire home at the back post.
A Kees Luijckx header from a magnificent Danny Verbeek corner then beat Kostas Lamprou and hit the back of the net to make it 1-1 after 23 minutes.
Feyenoord were forced to play the last hour of the match with 10 men as Daryl Janmaat was dismissed for two yellow cards within the space of two minutes.
NAC’s numerical advantage did not last, though, as they found themselves a man down when Eric Botteghin received his second yellow for bringing down Pelle in the box, allowing Feyenoord to go back in front as Lex Immers converted from the spot.
Two minutes later, however, Nemanja Gudelj levelled the score when Verbeek sent another great corner into the box and it was the coach’s son who headed it past Lamprou this time.
VVV 3-1 VITESSE
Vitesse passed up the opportunity to go top of the league as they lost 3-1 to VVV.
Fred Rutten’s side enjoyed the majority of possession throughout the game and attacked from the early stages, taking the lead after 10 minutes when Marco van Ginkel unleashed a shot from distance which sailed straight into the top corner.
Substitute Yuki Otso pulled VVV level five minutes before half-time when a Piet Velthuizen save landed perfectly for the Japanese forward to divert into the net.
Vitesse struggled to build any momentum in the second-half as they continually wasted possession and were punished after 55 minutes when Bryan Linssen received a Barry Maguire pass and smashed it home from 20 yards out.
The visitors began to press forward more in search of a way back into the game as they looked to rescue at least a point, but VVV managed to kill the game off with 10 minutes left through Robert Cullen as VVV collected only their third win of the season. Vitesse remain second.
PSV 3-0 TWENTE
PSV returned to the top of the Eredivisie with a 3-0 win over Twente at the Philips Stadion.
Dick Advocaat’s side attacked straight from kick-off and had many opportunities to take the lead in the early stages, but failed to find the net with Georginio Wijnaldum and Luciano Narsingh both coming close.
PSV managed to capitalise on their dominance as Wijnaldum opened the scoring after 38 minutes. Luciano Narsingh collected the ball on the right flank and squared to the young midfielder who tapped it in at the far post.
Both sides had chances after the restart as Tadic saw a shot sail over the bar, before Jeremain Lens’s powerful shot from 25 yards was kept out by Sander Boschker.
Wijnaldum had two great opportunities in the space of 30 seconds to make it 2-0 but could not find the net on either occasion. Firstly the ball bounced to him inside the box and his shot flew wide and then when Lens drove down the wing and cut the ball back his effort was cleared off the line by Roberto Rosales.
It was Matavz who found the net next as he took a fantastic Kevin Strootman through ball in his stride and chipped it over the Twente goalkeeper. Two minutes later Narsingh made it 3-0 to the Eindhoven side when he combined with Matavz in the box and fired it home to send PSV back to the top.