After weekends of points lost by our top competition, the tables have turned – Ajax were one of only two Top 7 teams, together with AZ, not to win their match. After the end of our unbeaten run, the top league contenders are now three points apart. Let’s look at the weekend as we keep up with the competition.
We begin in Utrecht, as the quite in form home team welcomed Heracles. The men from Almelo came to Utrecht with five at the back, but in the end, the hosts didn’t really have to break through it to get their first goal. Heracles’ te Wierik tried to clear a corner kick, but instead put Utrecht up front with an unfortunate own goal. The home team continued to control the match, but only added a cushion through a late penalty converted by Sebastian Haller. It is worth noting it was Mike te Wierik again who caused the trouble, taking Haller down in the penalty box. This match was Utrecht’s second 2-0 win in a row, as Sebastian Haller scored his ninth goal and is a joint 2nd best goalscorer alongside Unal, only topped by 12 goal Jorgensen.
Heerenveen welcomed Excelsior, a team that’s just a point clear off the relegation zone despite drawing in tough fixtures against Vitesse and Alkmaar lately. The visitors were looking for an upset once more as they led at half time thanks to Hasselbaink’s penalty. But after the restart, Heerenveen’s Sam Larsson took the responsibility to turn the match around. Less than three minutes into the second half, he received a pass from the right flank into the penalty area and volleyed the ball home to make it level. With little more than 10 minutes to go, he curled a cross into the penalty area from a free kick and it somehow went untouched into the net. One great goal, one very lucky, but altogether one great performance by Larsson who kept Heerenveen in the race with PSV, just 4 points behind them.
Speaking of PSV, the 3rd team in the division welcomed Go Ahead Eagles. It was a dominant performance from the Eindhoven team, which produced 23 shots as opposed to Eagles’ 5, and even hit the post early in the first half. They only turned one of those shots into goals, however, and it was former Ajax captain Siem de Jong to provide it. After a nice bit of passing play, the ball was served to him pretty much on a silver plate and he couldn’t miss the open net.
With Feyenoord facing goal-hungry Alkmaar, we all probably expected a western shootout. Sadly, only one team delivered their ammunition. Berghuis scored just 11 minutes in and van der Heijden doubled the lead just 8 minutes later. Jorgensen used a breakaway to make it 3-0 just before the half time with his 12th goal this season. Tonny Vilhena added a fourth with a powerful strike in the 69th minute. It was a scarily dominant performance by Feyenoord, who lead 25:4 on shots (13:1 shots on goal), and took back a three point cushion at the top of the league because of an unfortunate hiccup by Ajax.
Speaking of Ajax, our teams awaits an important fixture against PSV next week. Utrecht will face off against Roda, Heerenveen against Willem II, Alkmaar against Twente and Feyenoord will face off against Vitesse, who are looking to bounce back into Europa League spots.