AZ hattrick hero Vincent Janssen back to haunt Feyenoord, Ajax and PSV take advantage, while in form Utrecht move into the top five, writes Neil Adderley in this weekend’s football round up.
Groningen 0 v 0 NEC Nijmegen: Dour draw at the Euroborg
It was a rain soaked night in Groningen and the fare on offer did little to lighten the mood at the Euroborg.
The in form visitors, taking advantage of the home team’s glaring lack of confidence, dominated the first half.
Leaving Groningen thankful to keeper Sergio Padt on a number of occasions.
While the second period managed to provide some entertainment for the hardy supporters, neither team managed to break the deadlock on a night to forget in the north east of the Netherlands.
Heracles Almelo 2 v 1 De Graafschap: Heracles hold onto fortunate win
Bottom club De Graafschap left Almelo rueing a host of missed chances as Heracles claimed a somewhat fortunate victory.
Goals in each half, from Brahim Darri and Thomas Bruns, sealed the win for the home team, but not before Karim Tarfi and Bryan Smeets had both been denied by the woodwork for De Graafschap.
Defender Andrew Driver eventually pulled a late goal back for the visitors, but Heracles held on to claim the spoils and remain fourth in the table.
Excelsior 0 v 1 Roda JC: Roda claim first win since August
An 83rd minute Hicham Faik free kick ended the stalemate in Rotterdam to give Roda a first win since the opening month of the season.
Excelsior, themselves on a run of four defeats, dominated possession yet were unable to break the resistance of a determined Roda back line.
And with the game seemingly petering out to a scoreless draw, Faik curled in a free kick that deceived the Excelsior defence and keeper Tom Muyters.
A first win in almost five months sees Roda leapfrogging Excelsior and into fourteenth in the table.
Ajax 1 v 0 Vitesse: Bazoer delivers three points for league leaders
Riechedly Bazoer fired home the quickest goal ever scored in the Amsterdam ArenA to secure all three points for Frank de Boer and Ajax.
Bazoer struck with only 27 seconds on the clock, after Vitesse keeper Eloy Room had fumbled a Mitchell Dijks cross.
Despite having 90 minutes to set things right, Vitesse failed to recover from the early setback, leaving Ajax keeper Jasper Cillessen untroubled, and the league leaders seeing out a comfortable victory.
Heerenveen 3 v 1 Willem II: A tale of two halves at the Abe Lenstra stadium
Heerenveen, without a point in three games, recovered from a woeful first half display to eventually secure what seemed like an unlikely victory.
Nick van der Velden opened the scoring for Willem II, calmly firing home from the spot on 19 minutes, after being brought down in the box by Stefan Marzo.
The visitors were in almost total command and missed a host of chances to put the game out of the reach of Foppe de Haan’s men.
However, de Haan made two changes at the break, and as the momentum swung in favour of the home team, a wonderful 71st minute strike from Arber Zeneli brought the sides level.
And Heerenveen claimed the lead within five minutes as substitute Kenny Otigba powered home a Sam Larsson corner.
With Willem II shell shocked, the hosts secured victory on 85 minutes, as Larsson fired home a stunning 25 yard free kick.
AZ Alkmaar 4 v 2 Feyenoord: Hattrick hero Janssen comes back to haunt Feyenoord
Former Feyenoord youth product Vincent Janssen hit a stunning hattrick to further dent the visitors fading championship hopes.
Janssen, who arrived in Alkmaar via second tier Almere City, after being released as a teenager by the Rotterdammers, fired AZ to a deserved victory in an entertaining game at the AFAS stadium.
The afternoon started brightly for the visitors as Michiel Kramer scrambled home the opening goal on 11 minutes.
However, seemingly fragile from last weekend’s defeat at home to PSV, the Feyenoord defence failed to handle the strength and pace of AZ.
And they were duly punished by Markus Henriksen on 23 minutes, before Janssen hit the first of his three goals to give AZ a deserved lead at the break.
The 21year old striker doubled his personal tally with a stunning curled effort after 52 minutes. Three minutes later, after Dabney Dos Santos ghosted past the Feyenoord defence, Janssen was left with a simple tapin to claim the match ball.
Despite an outrageous consolation strike from Tonny Vilhena, AZ comfortably saw out a game young striker Vincent Janssen will not be forgetting in a hurry.
PSV 4 v 2 Twente: Guardado shines as PSV prove too strong for Twente
Mexican international midfielder Andres Guardado put on a star showing as champions PSV eventually ran out comfortable winners at the Philips Stadium.
Despite struggling Twente taking a shock 8th minute lead through Jari Oosterwijk, PSV remained controlled, and Guardado, at the heart of some excellent play throughout, found countryman Hector Moreno to level matters on 20 minutes.
The Mexican’s combined again just two minutes later with Moreno again heading home, this time from a Guardado corner.
PSV extended the lead on 35 minutes as Luciano Narsingh broke clear, before sliding home to give the home side a comfortable advantage going into the break.
The second half got under way with PSV wasteful in front of goal, and Twente taking advantage, as Chinedu Ede pulled one back for the visitors on 70 minutes.
The game was finally settled when substitute Florian Jozefzoon marked his return from injury with late finish to leave PSV firmly in the hunt to retain the Eredivisie title.
Utrecht 1 v 0 PEC Zwolle: In form Utrecht move into top five
After a subdued start to the season Utrecht have hit a hot streak of form, and Rene Hake’s side built on an excellent 41 victory at Groningen by seeing off PEC.
Utrecht, with young midfielders Yassin Ayoub and Bart Ramselaar outstanding, started brightly as PEC keeper
Mickey van der Haart was called into action by Sebastian Haller and Ayoub.
PEC came to soak up the pressure and hit the home side on the break, and the tactic almost paid off with both Stef Nijland and Lars Veldwijk denied an opening goal.
With the outcome of a tight game in the balance, Utrecht claimed the winner, as an 87th minute Ayoub free kick was headed home by substitute Ruud Boymans
ADO Den Haag 2 v 1 Cambuur Leeuwarden: Havenaar the hero as brace beats Cambuur
ADO striker Mike Havenaar was the difference between the teams in a tight affair at the Kyocera stadium.
The big striker, brought in by manager Henk Frazer to replace the Feyenoord bound Michiel Kramer, fired home a double to complete a vital comeback for the hosts.
ADO had fallen behind on 15 minutes when Sander van de Streek and Bartholomew Ogbeche combined, before van de Streek finished smartly to give Cambuur a first half lead.
However, ADO responded in the second period, as Havenaar headed home a 53rd minute equaliser, before the exVitesse target man completed his brace minutes later, after Edouard Duplan had hit a post.
Cambuur remain firmly in a relegation dogfight, while the victory for ADO moves them up to a very respectable eleventh in the Eredivisie table.
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