Feyenoord stumbled again, if not as much as we all hoped for near the end of their match. Alkmaar and PSV got back to winning ways decisively. We’ll talk about all that and more as AjaxDaily keeps up with the competition.
The main story of this article is quite obvious, but let’s save it up for the grand finale, shall we? Instead, let’s begin in Nijmegen with the hometown boys welcoming FC Twente. The visitors knew that in victory, they would move level on points with Heerenveen, who lost narrowly to Ajax the following day. But things certainly didn’t go according to plan. The just 18 year old Jay-Roy Grot, who started for Nijmegen for the first time in a month, scored a brace and set the halftime score at 2-0. The visitors pulled one back six minutes after the restart, through who else than Enes Unal, but before the 60th minute mark, Dumic put the hosts 2 goals in front again. Twente saw a glimpse of hope thanks to an own goal by Mikael Dyrestam, but failed to capitalize and equalize the game, losing 2-3. Thanks to this win, Nijmegen moved all the way up to 12th, just 3 points behind Utrecht in the final Europa League play-off spot, but also just 2 points ahead of the relegation zone.
One team who didn’t stumble though was AZ Alkmaar. After draws with Ajax and Roda, AZ needed a win and got it at home against Heracles in a dominant fashion. Two goals by Muhren and one by Weghorst put the home team 3-0 up in less than half an hour. Wout Weghorst could have added another before the break and move to joint first place in the goalscorers table with his ninth strike, but failed to convert a penalty. Heracles’ Samuel Armenteros didn’t make the same mistake and scored from the spot in the 52nd minute, but that was a little consolation, as AZ managed to add two more goals and win 5-1, after enjoying 65 percent of possession and 25 shots compared to Heracles’ 9. Alkmaar sit 4th with 4 points, moving a point ahead of Heerenveen and looking up at PSV.
Last year’s champions are 4 points ahead of AZ after a decisive win of their own against Den Haag. Pereiro opened the scoring after just 12 minutes thanks to a penalty, but all the other important events happened in the second half. Just 5 minutes after the restart, Tom Beugelsdijk unluckily put the ball into his own net, and further 5 minutes later Luuk de Jong made it 3-0. The only stumble of PSV came in the 57th minute, when Beugelsdijk of all people converted the second penalty of the match, setting the score at 3-1 which is precisely how the game ended. Much like Alkmaar, PSV also got a win after two league draws, and enjoyed a whopping 74 percent possession.
And now, we can only top this week’s Keeping Up with Feyenoord who visited Utrecht on Sunday. The game was off to a rapid start to say the least as Sebastian Haller put the hosts in front just 2 minutes in, only for Dirk Kuyt to equalize further 2 minutes later. Utrecht looked to take the steering wheel in the second half, as Troupee put them in front again in the 52nd minute and Haller added his second in the 84th. It looked like Ajax were going to take over the top spot in the table, one point ahead of Feyenoord, but the team from Rotterdam managed to pull off an absolute highway robbery. In the 90th minute, Jorgensen scored his 9th goal this season, and in the injury time which laster incredible 10 minutes, Michiel Kramer scored to win his team an absolute golden point. In the 99th minute. After 6 minutes on the pitch.
A big blow to Utrecht was certainly the injury to Robbin Ruiter. Their goalkeeper was stretchered off the pitch after 75 minutes because of a collision with Jorgensen that left the Dutch goalie knocked out cold. Dane David Jensen, former of FC Nordsjælland, took his place and will most likely have to do so in the upcoming fixture as well. While creating more chances, Utrecht suffered because of Feyenoord’s effectivity in their fairly minimalistic offense in this game. The visitors fired just 3 shots on goal compared to the hosts’ 7, but managed to turn all of them into goals, meaning neither Ruiter nor Jensen had a save to their name.
Feyenoord still sit first after a quite incredible finish, but are ahead of Ajax only because of goal difference. The teams share the same record (10-3-3), but Ajax are certainly in better form, winning 3 and drawing 2 out of their past 5 league games, compared to Feyenoord’s 3 draws, 1 loss and only 1 win. PSV sit 3rd with a four point margin between them and the leading duo, but also a five point advantage ahead Alkmaar and a further point ahead Heerenveen.