Four of the top five Eredivisie sides drop points while NAC, Zwolle and Roda all boost their chances of surviving in the Dutch top flight
PSV 1-3 PEC ZWOLLE
Title challengers PSV got 2013 off to a poor start as they suffered a shock defeat to relegation battlers Zwolle.
PSV were the better team in the opening stages as they put a lot of pressure on Diederik Boer’s goal, but Zwolle soon settled into the game and pushed Dick Advocaat’s men back towards their own goal.
It was Art Langeler’s men who took the lead though, when Wiljan Pluim was tackled after bursting into the box, the loose ball fell to Fred Benson who reacted quickly and slid in to divert it past Boy Waterman.
Tim Matavz equalised for PSV four minutes before the break as he knocked Dries Mertens’ cross into the net. But Benson restored the away side’s lead early in the second period as Zwolle hit on the counter attack, stretching the PSV back line as they charged forward. Pluim’s header from a cross fell to the 28-year-old who tapped it over the line.
Then, with over 25 minutes left on the clock, Zwolle found themselves 3-1 up with a header from Pluim as he beat Marcelo to a Rochdi Achenteh corner and headed it in.
It got worse for PSV when Erik Pieters, making his first appearance since April, was sent off for a tackle on Fred Benson. On his way off, the left-back punched a glass door in the tunnel, smashing the window and cutting his hand so severely that he had to be taken to hospital.
HEERENVEEN 0-1 HERACLES
Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen dropped down to 14th after they lost 1-0 to Heracles on Saturday.
The deadlock was broken after just 46 seconds as Everton brought down Ben Rienstra’s superb long ball and slotted it into the bottom corner.
Heerenveen took control of the game after the goal as they pressed in search of an equaliser but they couldn’t take advantage of the chances they created, the absence of their injured top goalscorer, Alfred Finnbogason, being felt.
The second half was much brighter than the first as Filip Djuricic made life difficult for the Heracles defence throughout the second-half, but the Serbian attacker couldn’t beat Remko Pasveer who remained strong in the Heracles goal. Substitute Samuel Armenteros, joining Belgian side Anderlecht in the near future, had a late opportunity to double his side’s lead but the Swedish forward was kept out and Heracles settled for the 1-0 win.
TWENTE 0-0 RKC
Steve McClaren’s Twente passed up the opportunity to take a three-point lead over PSV at the top of the league as they were held by RKC.
Twente were by far the better team throughout the 90 minutes but failed to convert their possession into goals.
Despite Twente’s dominance, it was RKC who had the first goalscoring opportunity of the match as Florian Jozefzoon burst forward upon collecting a long pass but goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov saved his effort.
The hosts had their first chance shortly afterwards but Dusan Tadic chose to shoot himself instead of passing to Luc Castaignos who was in a better position and the former Groningen player missed the target.
From then on, Twente had several more chances to break the deadlock with Tadic, Castaignos and Dmitri Bulykin coming close but they failed to find the net and the game ended goalless.
NAC 1-0 VVV
Eric Botteghin’s late goal clinched three points for NAC as they beat fellow relegation battlers VVV.
It was a close encounter between two sides fighting for survival in the Dutch top flight.
VVV were awarded a penalty in the first-half when Kees Luijckx was caught in possession by Yuki Otsu who went through on goal before he was brought down by NAC goalkeeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar. Otsu stepped up to take the penalty but Ten Rouwelaar read it well and kept it out, making his second penalty save of the season.
NAC’s first clear chance came towards the end of the opening period as Jordy Buijs fired towards goal but Niki Maenpaa denied him.
The hosts were the better team for the most part of the second half but rarely threatened. The winning goal eventually came in stoppage time when Botteghin rose to meet Buijs’ crossed free kick and head past Maenpaa.
AZ 4-1 VITESSE
Vitesse carried their poor run of form into the new year as they succumbed to a Jozy Altidore inspired AZ, making it four league games in a row without a win for Fred Rutten’s side.
Gertjan Verbeek’s side were by far the better team throughout the match and should have gone in ahead at the break but Altidore, Roy Beerens and Johann Berg Gudmundsson all missed golden opportunities to put the home side in the lead.
AZ eventually hit the back of the net when Gudmundsson crossed to Altidore who headed in. The Icelandic winger set-up his side’s second with a fantastic cross to Beerens who slotted past Velthuizen minutes before Donny Gorter whipped it in from the same side for Altidore to make it 3-0 with a diving header.
Altidore completed his hat-trick with ease when a cross fell to him and he blasted it in from close range. Gael Kakuta netted a consolation goal for his side late on with a run through the middle and a fine finish, the only positive for his side in an otherwise abysmal performance.
GRONINGEN 0-2 UTRECHT
Utrecht pulled themselves closer to the top five with a 2-0 victory over Robert Maaskant’s Groningen.
After a goalless first half, Utrecht were awarded a penalty for a handball in the box and Alexander Gerndt stepped up to convert the penalty.
Groningen came close to levelling the score when Virgil van Dijk unleashed a shot from distance which was well saved by Robbin Ruiter.
Nana Asare had the chance to double Utrecht’s lead but his header was saved by Marco Bizot. The resultant corner lead to Utrecht’s second as Mike van der Hoorn knocked it over the line.
Tim Sparv almost halved the deficit but was kept out by Ruiter and the game ended 2-0 in Groningen’s favour.
WILLEM II 1-1 ADO
Bottom club Willem II picked up a valuable point as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with ADO.
The Den Haag side were by far the better time throughout the first-half and took the lead through Kevin Jansen when he headed a Tjaronn Chery corner into the net.
The Tilburg side almost levelled the score shortly afterwards when Aurelien Joachim headed a corner towards goal but Gino Coutinho palmed it out.
Coutinho was called into action in the second half when he kept out substitute Robbie Haemhouts.
The hosts grabbed a deserved equaliser with ten minutes left when captain Hans Mulder fired past Coutinho to earn a point for his side.
AJAX 3-0 FEYENOORD
Ajax boosted their title credentials and dented those of fierce rivals Feyenoord as they defeated Ronald Koeman’s side 3-0 in the Amsterdam ArenA on Sunday.
Frank de Boer’s side took the lead within seven minutes when Viktor Fischer ran onto a Niklas Moisander through ball and rounded Erwin Mulder before tapping into the empty net.
Lex Immers had the chance to pull Feyenoord level when he went one-on-one with Kenneth Vermeer but the Ajax shot-stopper denied the former ADO star.
Fischer soon doubled Ajax’s lead when he caught Joris Mathijsenin possession and knocked it past Mulder.
Christian Eriksen put the game beyond doubt in the second half with a free kick which evaded the Feyenoord defence and goalkeeper.
Things got tough Ajax, though, when Ricardo van Rhijn was booked for a tackle on Jean-Paul Boetius inside the box. The referee pointed to the spot and gave the young right-back his marching orders but Immers failed to convert the penalty and sent the rebound over the bar.
RODA 2-0 NEC
Roda widened the gap between themselves and bottom side Willem II as they defeated NEC 2-0.
The home side found themselves in the lead within the first 15 seconds of the game when Sanharib Malki headed past Khalid Sinouh who had come off of his line.
Melvin Platje had the chance to pull the Nijmegen club level but failed to beat NEC shot stopper Filip Kurto moments before Roly Bonevacia headed a Rens van Eijden effort off the line.
Soren Rieks could have levelled the score just before half-time when he combined with Platje but the Danish midfielder failed to find the net.
Roda put the game beyond doubt after 68 minutes when Mikolaj Lebedynski headed in his side’s second of the game.