Due to industrial action by police the 2015/16 Eredivisie season kicked off with a curtailed programme. Only four matches were played on the opening weekend, with the remaining first round fixtures re-scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday evening.
Yet, while the majority of Dutch supporters were left frustrated, the return to De Kuip of Dirk Kuijt left Feyenoord fans dreaming of a genuine Eredivisie title challenge, as Neil Adderley reports.
Roda JC 3 – 1 Heracles Almelo: New boys Roda back with a bang
Roda, returning to the Eredivisie after one season in the Eerste Divisie, put on a show for a packed Parkstad Limburg Stadion.
Despite falling behind to a Ilias Bel Hassani strike on 30 minutes, goals from man-of-the-match Edwin Gyasi, Tom van Hyfte and Hicham Faik sealed a triumphant Eredivisie return for the Kerkraders.
Heracles could not handle Gyasi’s pace and direct running. The former Heracles player brought the teams level with a stunning run and finish.
And when a Gyasi header came back off a post a minute after the break, Tom van Hyfte was on hand to give Roda a deserved lead.
Roda JC sealed all three points in the dying moments as Hicham Faik fired a crisp strike beyond the despairing Bram Castro.
Feyenoord 3 – 2 FC Utrecht: Prodigal son Dirk Kuijt produces the goods for Feyenoord
Dirk Kuijt crowned his return to Rotterdam with a goal and three points as ten man Feyenoord got off to a winning start at De Kuip.
Colin Kazim-Richards gave Feyenoord a deserved lead within the half hour, rising to meet debutant Marko Vejinovic’s cross.
However, with Feyenoord dominant and seemingly cruising, the game was suddenly turned upside-down when young right back Rick Karsdorp was harshly shown a red card for a challenge on Christian Kum.
With Feyenoord visibly shaken, Utrecht took full advantage of the extra man. And when Kenneth Vermeer was unable to deal with a 75th minute Yassin Ayoub shot, Sebastian Haller pounced to level the scores.
Haller’s goal should have been the foundation for a Utrecht win, but a catalogue of errors allowed the home side to regain the lead within two minutes.
Utrecht failed to deal with a hopeful cross field pass, before failing to close down Karim El Ahmadi, whose far post cross was tapped home by Tonny Vilhena.
The stage was then set for returning hero Kuijt, who sealed the points from 12 yards after Bilal Basacikoglu was judged to have been tripped in the box.
Haller grabbed his and Utrecht’s second with a 96th minute penalty but it was too little too late for the visitors.
AZ 0 – 3 Ajax: Ajax finish bad week on the front foot
Anwar El Ghazi shone for Ajax as Frank de Boer’s visitors shook off their Champions League hangover in Alkmaar.
After being dumped out of Europe’s elite club competition by Rapid Vienna in midweek, the short trip to AZ Alkmaar looked, on paper at least, a tricky opener for the Amsterdammers.
De Boer need not have worried as Ajax ran out comfortable 3 – 0 winners with young wideman Anwar El Ghazi the star of the show.
El Ghazi gave the visitors the lead on 14 minutes with a breathtaking strike that found the top corner of the net.
And the winger doubled his tally on the half hour mark as he rose highest to convert former AZ captain Nemanja Gudelj’s cross.
Gudelj then sealed the win for Ajax before the break, with a powerful drive that left AZ keeper Sergio Rochet helpless.
A much changed AZ failed to hurt Ajax, although manager John van der Brom will have been pleased with a promising performance from youngsters Joris van Overeem and Vincent Janssen.
With a raft of first team players having departed this summer, Van der Brom may well need something positive to cling on to as the 2015/16 campaign unfolds.
Willem II 1 – 1 Vitesse Arnhem: Oliynyk rescues point for Vitesse before seeing red
Willem II and Vitesse opened their Eredivisie accounts with a point apiece in Tilburg.
Erik Falkenburg looked to have won it for the home side when he converted from a corner midway through the second half.
Vitesse eventually scored the goal their play deserved as Denys Oliynyk, given far too much time and space in the Willem II box, beat Kostas Lamprou with a far post drive.
Oliynik would go from hero to villain as the Ukrainian striker was given his marching orders for an elbow on Willem II substitute Justin Mathieu.
However, despite going down to ten men, Vitesse held on comfortably enough to take a point back to Arnhem.
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