Sparta top Eredivisie after Saito puts Heerenveen to the sword

Koki Saito (l) scored twice as Sparta grabbed the points in Friesland. Photo: ANP/ Gerrit van Keulen

Sparta grabbed the chance to go top of the Eredivisie by beating Heerenveen on a weekend when most of the main contenders were missing because of European commitments.

Heerenveen started much brighter, but their best chances were foiled by the post and Sparta goalkeeper Nick Olij, before the visitors went ahead after 33 minutes when Andries Noppert parried a Koki Saito shot out to Tobias Lauretsen, who hooked in the rebound.

Saito doubled the lead early in the second half after Noppert spilled a shot by Arno Verscheuren, and the Japanese forward added a third with a low drive inside Noppert’s near post after 61 minutes. Pawel Bochniewicz pulled one back for the Frisian side 10 minutes later, but it was no more than a consolation.

Feyenoord shook off their poor start to the season to deliver a 6-1 hammering of newcomers Almere City.

The champions were 2-0 up after 10 minutes as Santiago Gimenez put away Quinten Timber’s pass before Calvin Stengs delivered a low cross for Igor Paixão slid into the net.

Lutsharel Geertruida put the match beyond Almere’s reach after 18 minutes and Feyenoord added three more in the second half through Mats Wieffer, Gimenez with a penalty and Timber.

A late goal by Jochem Ritmeester van de Kamp ensured Almere kept up their record of scoring in every game, but the Flevoland club are still looking for their first point.

PEC Zwolle bagged their first points as a penalty by Ferdy Druijf proved the difference against Utrecht, who are yet to score after three matches. Utrecht also confirmed the departure of last season’s top scorer in the league, Greek Anastasios Douvikas, to Celta Vigo for a reported club record fee of €12 million.

NEC got off the mark with a comfortable 3-0 win at home to RKC, with Magnus Mattson scoring twice before setting up the third for Robér González.

Excelsior and Fortuna Sittard both had the chance to go top of the league for the first time in their history on Saturday, but ended up sharing the points as Fortuna twice came back from a goal down, the second time through substitute Mouhamed Belkheir.



NEC Nijmegen 3-0 RKC Waalwijk

Excelsior 2-2 Fortuna Sittard


Feyenoord 6-1 Almere City

Heerenveen 1-3 Sparta Rotterdam

PEC Zwolle 1-0 Utrecht

Postponed to September 27

Ajax v Volendam

PSV v Go Ahead Eagles

Twente Enschede v Vitesse Arnhem

Postponed to September 28

AZ Alkmaar v Heracles Almelo

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