The weekend’s Eredivisie spotlight fell on the battle for survival as crucial victories for NAC Breda and Heracles Almelo left Dordrecht’s top flight dreams in tatters, writes Neil Adderley
Vitesse Arnhem 3 – 1 AZ Alkmaar: Vitesse hot streak continues
Vitesse secured a seventh win in eight games as Peter Bosz’ men saw off AZ at the Gelredome. Chelsea loanee Bertrand Traore opened the scoring on six minutes, lifting the ball over keeper Esteban before heading home on the line.
AZ, who last weekend had suffered an embarrassing 6-2 reverse at Utrecht, replied almost immediately when Steven Berghuis pounced to rifle home a parried Simon Poulson drive.
Vitesse reclaimed the lead through the impressive Marko Vejivovic. The Serbian midfielder making no mistake from 12 yards after Rochdi Achenteh was adjudged to have handled in the box.
The three points were secured when Valeri Qazaishvili finished off a sweeping counter-attack to lift Vitesse above PEC Zwolle and into fifth place in the table.
FC Twente 2 – 0 PEC Zwolle: Twente finally do their talking on the pitch
Goals from Renato Tapia and Hakim Ziyech ensured a first win in six games for troubled Twente. The two late strikes, Tapia heading the opener from a corner on 78 minutes before Ziyech fired home four minutes later, halted a dismal run of form overshadowed by the Tukkers headline making financial woes.
The win was no more than Twente deserved and it would have been a more comfortable one, had it not been for the in form Warner Hahn.
The PEC keeper put on an outstanding display before eventually succumbing to the home teams relentless pressure.
Cambuur Leeuwarden 3 – 1 FC Utrecht: Cambuur bounce back to secure Eredivisie football
Cambuur manager Henk de Jong celebrated a deserved win by declaring the team from Leeuwarden safe from relegation. An 18th minute penalty from Erik Bakker and further goals from Sander van de Streek and Mikhail Rosheuvel leave Cambuur on an impressive 36 points.
This is a total Henk de Jong believes guarantees his team another year in the Dutch top flight with seven games still to play.
Utrecht, who ultimately were unable to carry any momentum from their stunning 6-2 victory over AZ, were given hope after Edouard Duplan brought the sides level.
However, once van de Streek restored Cambuur’s lead just two minutes later, the home side were in control and could have gone further ahead before Rosheuvel sealed victory in injury time.
NAC Breda 1 – 0 Go Ahead Eagles: Priceless injury time winner for battling NAC
Adnane Tighadouini was the toast of Breda after his 91st minute goal gave NAC a crucial win in the fight against the drop.
With only four points separating NAC and fellow strugglers Go Ahead going into the relegation showdown, there was no surprise both teams started very cagily.
NAC came closest to breaking the first half deadlock but an unmarked Erik Falkenburg could only direct a weak header harmlessly wide.
The second half began with NAC on the front foot but both Demy de Zeeuw and Tighadouini found Eagles keeper Mickey van der Hart in fine form. The visitors best chance fell for Alex Schalk who failed to find a way past NAC stopper Jelle ten Rouwelaar.
As Go Ahead pushed for a late winner, NAC countered, and the impressive Tighadouini cut in from the left to send a low, right footed drive beyond van der Hart to claim all three precious points.
The victory moves NAC just one point behind Go Ahead Eagles in a relegation battle destined to go all the way down to the wire.
Excelsior 2 – 3 Willem II: Dominant Willem II climb back into the top half
Robbie Haemhouts, Ali Messaoud and a late Ben Sahar strike gave Willem II a first win in four games at Excelsior. The visitors dominated throughout against an under par Excelsior.
And it took the Tilburgers just 19 minutes to earn a deserved lead as a powerful Haemhouts drive left Excelsior keeper Coutinho helpless.
Despite Tom van Weert equalizing against the run of play, Willem II remained in control and got their reward when Ali Messaoud broke clear to round Coutinho and finish into an empty net.
It was left to substitute Ben Sahar, latching on to an exquisite Charlton Vicento through ball, to make the game safe for the visitors in injury time, before Jeff Stans pulled one back for Excelsior with the final kick of the game.
ADO Den Haag 1 – 3 Heracles Almelo: First away win of the season moves Heracles out of bottom three
Heracles triumphed in another of the weekend’s relegation six pointers as goals from Wout Weghorst, Denni Avdic and Bel Hassani closed the gap between the two teams to just three points.
ADO’s Mike van Duinen levelled the scores on 41 minutes after Weghorst’s early opener had shocked the home side.
And while it was ADO who pushed for a second half lead, Heracles regained the initiative when a stunning long range effort from Brahim Darri rattled the bar, before falling perfectly for Avdic to roll the ball into an empty net on 55 minutes.
Incredibly, it was another Darri piledriver that again came back off the frame of the goal and leave Bel Hassani the easiest of headers to seal a first away win of the season for Heracles.
Heerenveen 1 – 4 Ajax: Clinical Ajax cruise to victory
Ajax showed no sign of a Europa League hangover with goals from Davy Klaassen, Joel Veltman and an Arkaduisz Milik double giving the Amsterdammers a comfortable win in Friesland.
Frank de Boer’s side came out sharply and found themselves two up within 12 minutes as a sluggish Heerenveen failed to deal with the visitors storming start.
Milik’s clinical low finish was quickly added to when Davy Klaassen headed past Kristoffer Nordfeldt from an 11th minute corner.
Leading scorer Mark Uth halved the deficit on 34 minutes after sliding home a Sam Larsson cross, but the home supporters hope of a comeback was short lived as Veltman quickly restored Ajax’ two goal advantage.
Uth should have done better after a woeful Klaassen back pass but the German’s effort was cleared from his goalline by Veltman.
And the game was wrapped up on 66 minutes when Milik volleyed home a pinpoint Anwar El Ghazi cross.
PSV Eindhoven 2 – 1 FC Groningen: Stuttering PSV scrape past unfortunate Groningen
PSV have one hand on the Eredivisie trophy and it showed as FC Groningen failed to punish a lackluster display from the champions elect.
The visitors missed three glorious openings in the first ten minutes and were made to pay as Georginio Wijnaldum played a one-two with Luuk de Jong before curling home from the edge of the penalty area.
Groningen remained undeterred and Nick van der Velden should have levelled matters with a free header before a bizarre penalty incident involving PSV’s Luuk de Jong and Memphis Depay.
Groningen keeper Sergio Padt parried de Jong’s weak spot kick into the path of Depay, who had inexplicably found himself beyond the penalty taker before the ball had been struck.
Depay finished the rebound from eight yards but the goal was rightly disallowed for encroachment.
And on the stroke of halftime Groningen finally gained the reward their play deserved. Brazilian defender Eric Botteghin losing his marker before heading home from an Albert Rusnak corner.
Groningen continued to threaten the league leaders but when slack marking from a Depay corner allowed Nicolas Isimat Marin to turn and fire PSV into the lead, the visitors had no answer.
The scrappy win leaves PSV eleven points clear of second placed Ajax with just seven games to play.
FC Dordrecht – Feyenoord: Eredivisie dream all but over for Dordrecht
With results in Breda and The Hague going against rock bottom Dordrecht, goals from Elvis Manu and a last minute winner from Anass Achabar have all but sealed their fate.
Despite a bright start, some shocking defending from the home team allowed Feyenoord striker Manu the freedom of the penalty area to head past goalkeeper Filip Kurto on 19 minutes.
Dordrecht continued to take the fight to Feyenoord and only an excellent stop from Kenneth Vermeer prevented Giovanni Korte bringing the sides level before the break.
Feyenoord missed numerous chances to kill the game early in the second half and the home team eventually levelled the scores when Jeffrey Fortes headed past Vermeer on 62 minutes.
Just as Dordrecht believed they had secured a point, yet more woeful defending, deep into injury time, left Achabar a simple header to give Feyenoord the spoils and break the hearts of the home supporters.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
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