Football round-up: Easy pickings for top three, ‘derby of the North’ all square

EREDIVISIE GRONINGEN - HEERENVEENThere were no shocks at the top this weekend as PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord all cruised to victory. However, the Eredivisie wouldn’t be the Eredivisie without throwing up a surprise or two.

Keeping us on our toes in this round of fixtures were priceless away victories for both NAC Breda and Heracles Almelo.

AZ Alkmaar 2 v 0 Go Ahead Eagles: Four in a row for AZ

Goals in each half at the AFAS stadium gave AZ a fourth win in as many games to lift John van den Brom’s team up to fourth place.

Go Ahead can feel hard done by after causing AZ enough problems to have taken something from the game.

Starting brightly, the Eagles’ should have taken an early lead but Jules Reimerink missed a golden opportunity to put the Deventenaren in front.

Aron Johannsson made Go Ahead pay on 27 minutes before 18 year-old Dabney Dos Santos, with his debut Eredivisie goal, secured all three points for AZ.

Excelsior 2 v 5 Feyenoord: Gift wrapped win keeps Feyenoord in the hunt

Excelsior handed three points on a plate to their city rivals as a comedy of defensive errors kept Feyenoord hot on the heels of Ajax and PSV.

Luigi Bruins set the tone for Excelsior after just six minutes as the Ex-Feyenoorder was caught in possession to leave Colin Kazim-Richards to fire Feyenoord in front.

Things only got worse for the home side as another individual error, this time from captain Sander Fischer, allowed Jean Paul Boetius a free run on goal on 17 minutes.

Excelsior’s defence were yet again nowhere to be seen as Lex Immers, latching on to a hopeful long ball, volleyed past Coutinho to all but wrap up the Rotterdam derby  before the break.

Excelsior’s Jeff Stans pulled one back but Feyenoord responded immediately as Jens Toornstra curled in from the edge of the penalty area.

Immers then made it 5-1 before a Sven van Beek own goal gave Excelsior a late, but not very consoling, consolation.

Cambuur Leeuwarden 0 v 1 NAC Breda: NAC bounce back with first win since September

Not many would have given NAC a hope of coming away from Cambuur with anything but another defeat, however, a solitary strike was enough to secure a first win for coach Eric Hallemons.

Cambuur huffed and puffed but NAC stood strong to gain a vital three points.

A Breda win has been a long time coming and, with the odds stacked against them in Leeuwarden, Erik Falkenburg’s winner on 29 minutes will certainly be one to savour for the long suffering NAC supporters.

Ajax 5 v 0 Willem II: Ajax back on track as Willem II surrender at the ArenA

A fluid Ajax performance saw Willem II brushed aside as Frank de Boer’s team kept the pressure on PSV at the summit of the Eredivisie.

An early Willem II shot against the post from Ben Sahar was as good as it got for the Tilburgers as Ajax turned on the style at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, who would be stretchered off with an ankle injury, put de Boer’s men in front with a smart finish before his replacement, Arkadiusz Milik, doubled the Amsterdammers lead.

After defender Joel Veltman strode forward to finish with aplomb, Milik doubled his tally before going on to provide Davy Klaassen with a tap in to make it 5-0 on the hour.

With half an hour to play Willem II must have been fearing the worst but, perhaps with an eye on Wednesday’s vital Champions League encounter, the home team took the foot of the gas to cruise home on a comfortable night in the capital.

FC Dordrecht 1 v 3 PSV Eindhoven: PSV come from behind to retain top spot

Goals from Luuk de Jong and a brace for Georginio Wijnaldum conserved PSV’s one point lead at the top of the table, but not before Dordrecht had taken a shock lead on five minutes.

Without a goal in five games, and a win in 14, Dordrecht’s Mart Lieder gave the home team and its supporters a glimmer of hope in a so far desperate season.

However, normality was quickly resumed as Wijnaldum was given the freedom of De Krommedijk to head home.

Memphis Depay then wasted a penalty, chipping against the bar, before de Jong eventually gave the leaders the advantage before the break.

Dordrecht were unfortunate to be reduced to ten men as Haddad received a second caution for handball, but not before Wijnaldum had sealed a PSV victory on the hour mark.

PEC Zwolle 3 v 1 ADO Den Haag: In form PEC dispatch disappointing ADO

A dominant PEC Zwolle moved up to fifth in the Eredivisie as Ron Jans’ team put in another eye catching performance to see off ADO Den Haag.

Tomas Necid rifled home a penalty to give Zwolle a deserved half-time lead before the Czech, who is on loan from CSKA Moscow, teed up midfielder Jesper Drost to double PEC’s lea

Necid made it 3-0 to secure all three points for PEC before Michiel Kramer took his tally to 11 for the season with a consolation for a disjointed and disappointing ADO Den Haag.

FC Utrecht 2 v 4 Heracles Almelo: Stunning win has Heracles looking up the table

Heracles Almelo continued their impressive run of form by stunning Utrecht at the Galgenwaard, and in turn gaining a third win in a row.

In an entertaining and open game, it was Heracles who had taken an early lead, only for Utrecht’s Kristoffer Peterson to cancel out Thomas Bruns’ eight minute opener.

Utrecht squandered the opportunity to go in front as Dennis Telgenkamp stopped Yassine Ayoub’s spot kick

Ayoub’s miss would go on to prove very costly for the home team as goals from Mark jan Fledderus, Wout Weghorst and Illias Bel Hassani, moved Heracles above ADO Den Haag in the table.

While Heracles remain in danger, after having lost the first seven games of the season, it has been a dramatic turnaround for the club and young coach John Stegeman.

Groningen 1 v 1 Heerenveen: Honours even in the ‘derby of the North’

Groningen and Heerenveen played out a hard fought draw in the much anticipated ‘derby of the North.’

The Green and White army got off to a flying start as the in form Michael De Leeuw controlled and turned in the box before finishing smartly past Kristoffer Nordfeldt.

Heerenveen, now without a win in nine games, got back into the game when striker Mark Uth deflected a Luciano Slagveer shot beyond Groningen keeper Sergio Padt.

Dire conditions, combined with a lack of real quality, led to a frantic, if forgettable second half as both teams left the Euroborg with their pride intact and a point apiece.

Vitesse Arnhem 2 v 2 FC Twente: Ten man Vitesse hold Twente

For the second week running, Twente keeper Nick Marsman was left embarrassed as Marko Vejinovic found the net directly from a corner.

Marsman, who gifted FC Groningen a second goal in a 2-1 defeat, complained in vain to the referee but the goal stood as Vitesse dominated early on.

Jesus Corona brought the sides level on the half hour only for Arie van der Heijden to restore Vitesse’s lead within the minute.

The game looked to have turned in the Tukkers favour as Davy Propper saw red for upending Youness Mokhtar in the penalty area.

Hakim Ziyech duly equalised from the spot, but despite the numerical advantage, it was Vitesse who came closest to taking all three points.

Vejinovic’s free kick looked to be heading towards the back of the net until, Marsman, going some way to make up for his earlier blunder, saved to secure Twente a share of the spoils.

With just a solitary point from two games, FC Twente slip down into 6th place behind PEC Zwolle.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation