VAR frenzy dominates Eredivisie as PSV and Ajax pull further ahead

Dick Advocaat, manager of FC Utrecht, gets agitated during his team's 4-3 defeat by PEC Zwolle in the Eredivisie on February 3 2019

Dick Advocaat was not amused by VAR decisions. Photo: VI/ Cor Lasker via HH

PSV and Ajax both won by handsome margins to maintain a five-point gap at the top of the Eredivisie table at the weekend, while Feyenoord are starting to look over their shoulders in the wake of a shock defeat to local rivals Excelsior.

A hat-trick by Luuk de Jong helped PSV ease past Fortuna Sittard 5-0, after the Limburg side’s resistance was broken by the dismissal of Clint Essers in the first half. De Jong’s opening goal, a header, was his 100th in a PSV shirt.

Ajax got back on track after their 6-2 defeat to Feyenoord with a 6-0 rout of VVV Venlo, though it took 35 minutes for Hakim Ziyech to break the deadlock and three of the goals came in the last five minutes.




Feyenoord, meanwhile, lost for the second time since Christmas as Robin van der Meer sealed a comeback victory for Excelsior with a Van Basten-style volley. Giovanni van Bronkhorst’s side are now just five points ahead of AZ Alkmaar, whose 5-0 drubbing of Emmen was their sixth league win in seven matches.

Emmen dropped back into 16th place ahead of De Graafschap, who won the relegation battle against NAC Breda by a 3-0 margin. Groningen also overtook their northern rivals with a 2-1 win in Tilburg thanks to first-half goals from Django Warmerdam and Kaj Sierhuis.

VAR controversy

PEC Zwolle won the most eventful contest of the weekend as they overturned a 3-1 deficit to beat FC Utrecht, whose manager Dick Advocaat was left fuming by two VAR decisions. First Urby Emanuelson was sent off for a tackle that referee Björn Kuipers had missed, before Mike van Duinen equalised for Zwolle from a penalty awarded on the advice of the video panel. Van Duinen then rubbed salt in the wound by bagging the winner three minutes into injury time.

However, the biggest VAR talking point came at the end of the match between Vitesse Arnhem and Heerenveen, where the visitors seemed to have sealed a 3-1 win through Martin Ødegaard’s late strike. However, referee Martin van den Kerkhof called play back when the VAR team alerted him to a foul by a Heerenveen defender area 20 seconds earlier and awarded Vitesse a penalty, which Sam Lammers converted to make the final score 2-2.

ADO Den Haag moved closer to safety with a 2-0 win over the plummeting Heracles, who have now lost eight of their last 10 league games.

Results

Friday

De Graafschap 3-0 NAC Breda

Saturday

Ajax 6-0 VVV Venlo

AZ Alkmaar 5-0 Emmen

Vitesse Arnhem 2-2 Heerenveen

Willem II Tilburg 1-2 Groningen

Sunday

ADO Den Haag 2-0 Heracles Almelo

Excelsior 2-1 Feyenoord

PEC Zwolle 4-3 Utrecht

PSV Eindhoven 5-0 Fortuna Sittard


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