As Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV pull further ahead, an uneviable winless run continues for hapless Cambuur, writes Neil Adderley, in his report on this weekend’s Dutch football action.
AZ Alkmaar 0 v 1 ADO Den Haag: ADO take advantage as AZ slump continues
A solitary Danny Bakker goal was enough to hand ADO all the points against a struggling AZ.
AZ boss John van den Brom’s patched up back four were troubled throughout the evening by ADO, and it was Bakker who took advantage with a low strike on ten minutes.
The hosts searched for an equaliser but failed to brake ADO’s resistance, and it was Henk Frazer’s side that came closest to adding to their lead in a deserved win.
Excelsior 1 v 1 FC Twente: Ziyech goal not enough for struggling Twente
Hakim Ziyech, the Twente captain and talisman, may have rescued a point for the visitors, however the Tukkers remain rooted in the bottom three.
Rene Hake saw his side start the brighter, with both Ziyech and Peet Bijen testing Excelsior keeper Tom Muyters.
But it was the hosts that grabbed the lead when Tom van Weert tapped home on 38 minutes.
With Twente facing a sixth straight defeat, it was once again left to the talented Ziyech to give the troubled club a lifeline.
The captain rounding Muyters before slotting the equaliser with fifteen minutes left on the clock.
Vitesse Arnhem 0 v 1 PSV Eindhoven: Champions smash and grab in Arnhem
A last minute winner from midfielder Jorrit Hendrix handed PSV all the points, but not before Vitesse had missed a host of chances at the Gelredome.
The champions, who began in assured style, were unfortunate not to be in front after exVitesse midfielder Davy Propper struck a fierce effort against the post.
The scare seemingly shook Vitesse out of a slumber, and the home side gradually took control but failed to capatalise on a dominant display.
Chances came and went before the break as Valeri Qazaishvili, Denys Oliinyk and Dominic Solanke all failed to beat PSV keeper Jeroen Zoet.
The pattern continued in a second half in which Vitesse somehow failed to find the back of the net.
And when Milot Rashica somehow fired wide of a gaping goal from just six yards out, things began to look ominous for Peter Bosz’ side.
Inevitably, and with just seconds left on the clock, a Luuk de Jong through ball found Jorrit Hendrix. The midfielder controlled, before sliding the ball past Eloy Room to claim all the spoils for PSV.
De Graafschap 0 v 1 FC Utrecht: Utrecht show gathering resolve in Doetinchem
Utrecht overcame being a man down for the second time in a week to clinch victory at rock bottom De Graafschap.
De Graafschap, on a high after a first win of the season, looked the more likely in the opening stages and should have been in front only for the excellent Robbin Ruiter to deny striker Cas Peters.
It was a miss that would prove to be costly when Utrecht’s Rico Strieder fired into the top corner after 34 minutes.
Utrecht striker Nacer Barazite failed to double the visitors lead in the second half, and when Mark van der Maarel was given his marching orders, the hero of last weekend’s memorable 42 victory, may have feared the worst.
However, the ten men dug in yet again to keep De Graafschap at arms length, and hold on to all three points.
Ajax 5 v 2 Heerenveen: Ajax hit the heights with five star showing
Ajax took their tally to 16 goals in the last three home games with a 52 hammering of Heerenveen.
Despite leading the Eredivisie pack since August, Frank de Boer’s side has been criticised for a lack of flair, but another big win will have sent a clear message to closest rivals Feyenoord and PSV.
Young striker Viktor Fischer opened the scoring on 11 minutes, after latching on to a Davy Klaassen through ball.
And Fischer became provider when finding Arkadiusz Milik ten minutes later, before Amin Younes tricked his way into the box to make it 30 on the half hour mark.
Heerenveen forward Mitchell Te Vrede muscled his way past defender Joel Veltman to reduce the deficit just after the break.
However, Ajax moved up another gear and Fischer rounded off a superb move, netting his second and Ajax’ fourth, before Milik lashed a penalty over the bar on 66 minutes.
The league leaders however were not to be denied a fifth goal as captain Klaassen fired home from a Milik pass on 70 minutes.
Te Vrede doubled his tally with a late consolation for Heerenveen, but it was no more than a small blot on a confident performance from the Amsterdammers.
Willem II 3 v 0 Cambuur Leeuwarden: More despair for winless Cambuur
Cambuur’s search for a first win of the season continues as Willem II prevailed in this early season six pointer.
The hosts were in front after 11 minutes after Guus Joppen headed home from a free kick.
Henk de Jong’s visitors eventually found some rhythm and were only denied a Bartholomew Ogbeche equaliser after fine work from keeper Kostas Lamprou.
But Frisian hopes of a comeback were dashed when Willem II top scorer Erik Falkenburg converted from a corner.
And another poor display from Cambuur was sealed by a late Stijn Wuytens free kick.
Feyenoord 3 v 0 Heracles Almelo: Rotterdammers eventually see off determined Heracles
A three goal advantage may have somewhat flattered Feyenoord but the Rotterdammers will not be complaining.
The win, eventually secured through goals from Eljero Elia, Dirk Kuijt and Michiel Kramer, keeps Feyenoord in second place, and within touching distance of fierce rivals Ajax.
Heracles refused to lie down and were unfortunate not to equalise as Iliass Bel Hassani, Oussama Tannane and Mike te Wierik all failed to beat Kenneth Vermeer.
However, the opportunity to take something from the game was ended when Ramon Zomer collected a second yellow for a foul on Kuijt, before the Feyenoord captain headed home the resulting free kick.
The tie was finally settled when Kramer finished sharply to leave Feyenoord well and truly in the title race.
NEC Nijmegen 2 v 2 PEC Zwolle: Limbombe strike crowns NEC fightback
A fighting second half comeback delivered NEC a share of the spoils in Nijmegen.
Visitors PEC had totally dominated the first half and were rewarded with goals from defender Trent Sainsbury and striker Lars Veldwijk.
Ron Jans’ side should have had the game sewn up before the break, but Queensy Menig, Veldwijk and Sainsbury all declined the opportunity.
And PEC were eventually made to pay as Janio Bikel halved the deficit from a corner, before a sublime strike from the talented young Belgian winger, Anthony Limbombe, levelled matters on 61 minutes.
Roda JC 0 v 0 Groningen: Visitors fail to claim fourth place after dour draw in Kerkrade
Roda and Groningen played out a dour scoreless draw in Kerkrade.
Groningen, who arrived in Limburg knowing a victory would allow them to leapfrog Heracles, and into fourth place in the table, will be the more disappointed of the teams.
The best, and only clear cut chances of the game, fell to the visitors, but a fierce Albert Rusnak volley was pushed over the crossbar by Benjamin van Leer. Before the Roda Keeper denied Hedwiges Maduro from the resulting corner.
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