The Eredivisie rarely fails to enthrall and, apart from Friday’s goalless bore draw, the final round of games before the Dutch winter break was certainly no exception. While both Ajax and Feyenoord struggled to overcome opponents, a straightforward win leaves PSV Eindhoven as Dutch ‘autumn champions,’ writes Neil Adderley
Heerenveen 0 – 0 ADO Den Haag: Dire night at the Abe Lenstra stadion
The battle of the Eredivisie’s top scorers failed miserably to live up to the billing with chances at a premium for both Mark Uth and Michiel Kramer.
ADO, who came for a point and got it, will be the happier of the two teams after a forgettable night for all concerned.
Cambuur Leeuwarden 2 – 1 PEC Zwolle: Last minute penalty seals Cambuur comeback
Both sides came into this one in excellent form and neither team disappointed an expectant crowd at the Cambuur stadion.
PEC drew first blood on 19 minutes as Thomas Lam collected Jesper Drost’s layoff before leaving Cambuur keeper Leonard Nienhuis helpless with a clinical finish.
Cambuur replied on 57 minutes as Sander van de Streek slalomed through the Zwolle defence and slotted past Warner Hahn to level the score.
PEC’s in demand Czech striker Tomas Necid then had a goal controversially disallowed before Zwolle’s frustration was increased as Cambuur were awarded a last minute spot kick.
Erik Bakker converted the penalty to give Cambuur all three points after keeper Hahn was deemed to have fouled Martijn Barto.
FC Dordrecht 1 – 1 Groningen: Dordrecht stop the rot with first home point of the season
A deflected Robin Gosens shot gave Dordrecht a point and in turn put an end to an unwanted nine game losing streak at de Krommedijk.
The in form Michael de Leeuw had given Groningen a late first half lead, heading his ninth goal of the season beyond keeper Filip Kurto.
However, the visitors failed to capatalise on the lead and were made to pay as Gosens’ 83rd minute effort was deflected past Sergio Padt off the unfortunate Mimoun Mahi.
PSV 5 – 0 Go Ahead Eagles: ‘Autumn champions’ PSV leave Eagles grounded
After Wednesday’s exertions delivered a dramatic last minute 4-3 win over Feyenoord, PSV hardly had to get out of second gear to dispatch a poor Go Ahead at the Philips Stadium.
First half goals from Santiago Arias and Memphis Depay gave Cocu’s men a commanding lead going into the break, however, the home fans had to wait until the 79th minute for the killer third goal.
Depay finally put the game to bed by notching his second of the evening. The Dutch international tapping in Adam Maher’s cross after a decisive counter attack.
Now well beaten, Go Ahead’s capitulation was complete as Florian Jozefzoon and Jurgen Locadia added a fourth and fifth in the final two minutes.
PSV enter the winter stop as leaders of the Eredivisie with closest rivals Ajax four points behind in second place.
AZ Alkmaar 0 – 3 Utrecht: Impressive Utrecht halt AZ’s climb up the table
Utrecht put an end to AZ’s seven game unbeaten run with an impressive first half display at the AFAS stadion.
The away team quickly took control with the stand out Edouard Duplan scoring the first of his two goals on 11 minutes.
The Frenchman doubled Utrecht’s lead after half an hour, turning neatly before beating Esteban in the AZ goal.
The game was settled just seven minutes later as a superb long range strike from Utrecht midfielder Mark Diemers found Esteban’s top corner.
Vitesse Arnhem 3 – 0 Heracles Almelo: Vitesse build on cup win to end year on a high
On the back of a tremendous 4-0 cup victory over Ajax, Vitesse only needed 45 minutes to dispatch Heracles at the Gelredome.
As he was on Thursday night in the Amsterdam ArenA, Bertrand Traore was outstanding for Peter Bosz’s side.
The on-loan Chelsea striker put Vitesse in the driving seat with a fine left footed effort on 24 minutes before the home team doubled their advantage from close range through Zakaria Labyad just six minutes later.
Heracles will feel aggrieved not to have taken at least a point from a game they at times dominated, but while Vitesse were clinical, the visitors were wasteful.
That Vitesse keeper Eloy Room was named man-of-the-match, tells the real story of a game Heracles deserved more from.
Nonetheless, Traore was in an unforgiving mood and, latching on to a Davy Propper through ball, he kept his cool to beat Heracles keeper Dennis Telgenkamp and secure all three points before the break.
Excelsior 0 – 2 Ajax: Late changes save stuttering Ajax
Excelsior wasted several chances to heap yet more festive misery on a lethargic Ajax.
Frank de Boer’s team came into the game on the back of a 4-0 cup reverse to Vitesse, and the manager had Jasper Cillessen to thank for keeping the Rotterdammers at bay.
The Ajax No.1 had to be on his toes to deny both Ninos Gouriye and Jeff Stans as Excelsior dominated the early stages at stadion Woudestein.
Ajax eventually responded through Ricardo van Rhijn, whose long range shot bounced back off the Excelsior bar.
However, the second half was far from comfortable for Ajax until late in the game as de Boer deployed unlikely hero Mike van der Hoorn as an emergency centre forward.
The defender, who replaced Lucas Anderson, took advantage of a weak Coutinho clearance to finish into an empty net on 83 minutes.
Ajax nerves were finally settled as youngster Richairo Zivkovic, netting his first Eredivisie goal from close range, secured the victory to leave Ajax four points adrift of leaders PSV going into the winter break.
NAC Breda 0 – 1 Feyenoord: Colin Kazim Richards fires Feyenoord into third place
Feyenoord claimed the spoils of a hard fought battle in Breda and climbed above PEC Zwolle to end 2014 in third place in the Eredivisie.
Fred Rutten’s team knew nothing but a win would keep them within sight of their nearest rivals at the top of the division, and it would take a Kazim Richards first half strike to separate the sides at full time.
The deadlock was broken on 32 minutes as Luke Wilshere found Kazim Richards, and the striker beat Jelle ten Rouwelaar with a strong finish from a narrow angle.
Keeping in with their season so far, NAC rarely threatened and yet another defeat leaves Eric Hellemons’ struggling side second bottom of the table going into the new year.
FC Twente 3 – 2 Willem II: Late, late show gives ten man Twente unlikeliest of victories
Twente broke Willem II hearts in a frenzied finish that saw the Tukkers steal all three points to move up to fifth in the Eredivisie.
Down to ten men and with Willem II seemingly cruising to a surprise victory, Twente scored two injury time goals to overturn a 2-1 deficit.
In control from the first whistle, it took the home side just 13 minutes to break Willem II’s resistance as Youness Mokhtar collected Kamohelo Mokotjo’s pass before firing into the far corner.
Willem II had struggled to find a foothold in the game, but that would change on the half hour mark as Ali Messaoud brought the sides level with a beautiful curling finish.
Mokhtar, with an open goal gaping, somehow failed to restore Twente’s lead, and with 20 minutes left to play Twente paid the price when Robbie Haemhouts finished smartly with his left foot from the edge of the penalty area.
And when Twente defender Renato Tapia was harshly shown a straight red card for a challenge from behind on Samuel Armenteros, it appeared Willem II would be leaving Enschede with all the points.
However, going down to ten men seemed to galvanise Alfred Schreuder’s men, and in the second minute of injury time, defender Andreas Bjelland drew Twente level after a melee in the Willem II goalmouth.
Incredibly, and with the last kick of the game, the hosts snatched the unlikeliest of wins as Norwegian striker Torgeir Borven smashed the ball past the despairing Kostas Lamprou.
Eredivisie action resumes on the weekend beginning Friday 16 January.
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