Feyenoord close in on title as Groningen and Cambuur go down
Feyenoord can win the Eredivisie next weekend at home to Go Ahead Eagles after breaking down city rivals Excelsior in a hard-fought encounter.
Santiago Giménez opened the scoring after just 10 minutes with a perfectly placed header, and the Mexican was on target again 15 minutes from the end with a low shot to convert Quinten Timber’s through-ball.
Coach Arie Slot criticised Excelsior’s decision to leave their artificial pitch unwatered, which he said had slowed the pace of the game and hampered his team.
‘I’ve got nothing against artificial turf, but when you don’t water the pitch on the warmest day of the year it puts us at a serious disadvantage,’ he said.
Feyenoord knew before kick-off that they would have to wait a week to clinch the title, following PSV’s 1-0 win at the other Rotterdam team, Sparta, on Saturday.
PSV pressed forward but had to wait until the 74th minute to force the breakthrough. Fabio Silva won a wrestling match on the right-hand flag and played in a cross which Nick Olij could only palm into the path of Anwar El Ghazi.
Northern duo relegated
PSV strengthened their hold on second place after their closest rivals, Ajax and AZ, drew 0-0 in the Johan Cruyff Arena. The defending champions are now five points behind PSV, while AZ remain two points further adrift.
The two most northerly teams, Cambuur Leeuwarden and Groningen, were both relegated after failing to get the wins they needed against Utrecht and Go Ahead Eagles.
Groningen were briefly given hope when Ricardo Pepi scored his 12th goal of the season after five minutes, but an equaliser by Icelandic midfielder Willum Thor Willumson after half an hour condemned the green and whites to their first season in the Eerste Divisie for 23 years.
Cambuur went down more emphatically with a 3-0 home defeat to Utrecht. Sander van der Streek, who spent three years with the Leeuwarden club, set the ball rolling with a looping header after 36 minutes, before Anastasios Douvikas scored twice to take his season’s tally to 16 and boost his hopes of finishing top scorer.
A blunder by NEC goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen handed Heerenveen all three points in a match between two teams vying for the final European play-off spot. NEC were leading 2-1 with eight minutes to go, but after Sydney van Hooijdonk equalised from close range with his 16th of the season, Cillessen allowed Antoine Colassin’s skewed shot to creep past him at the near post.
Twente increased Emmen’s relegation fears with three goals in the last 20 minutes, including a double for Michel Vlap. Only goal difference keeps the Drenthe side above the play-off place currently occupied by Excelsior.
Fortuna Sittard took a major step towards securing their place in the top-flight as second-half goals by Paul Gladon and Úmaro Embaló were enough to see off Vitesse, who could still be sucked back into the danger zone.
Volendam remain one place below them, two points ahead of Emmen and Excelsior, after going down 4-1 to RKC Waalwijk, a result that keeps the Brabant side just ahead of Heerenveen on goal difference in the Conference League play-off positions.
RKC Waalwijk 4-1 Volendam
Ajax 0-0 AZ Alkmaar
Cambuur Leeuwarden 0-3 Utrecht
NEC Nijmegen 2-3 Heerenveen
Sparta Rotterdam 0-1 PSV Eindhoven
Emmen 0-3 Twente Enschede
Excelsior 0-2 Feyenoord
Fortuna Sittard 2-0 Vitesse Arnhem
Go Ahead Eagles 1-1 Groningen
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