Eredivisie Round 1: Ajax thrash Vitesse and Dordrecht shock Heerenveen

A new season, a new format. While we loved to tell what we didn’t learn next season it turned out that we actually learned quite a lot. So from this season on, we’ll keep you up to date with a few lines on every game so that you won’t miss any important Eredivisie action.


PEC Zwolle 2 – 0 FC Utrecht  – Zwollywood dazzles with the PEC attack
(Jeroen Drost 1-0 ’76, Soufian Moro 2-0 ’90)

Current Johan Cruijff Schaal holders, current Dutch Cup holders and for a brief moment, league leaders PEC Zwolle turned out to be too strong for a completely re-vamped FC Utrecht. Zwolle were without Kamohelo Mokotjo, who joined FC Twente, but even without their best player, PEC were pretty comfortable against a rather toothless FC Utrecht.

Utrecht manager Robbie Alflen was warned ahead of the game as only two of the eight Utrecht managers previous to him managed to get something out of their debut game, but instead of turning a corner he extended the poor run.

Jesper Drost became the first goalscorer of the Eredivisie 2014-15 season but Soufian Moro stole the headlines with a goal from his own half to make it 2-0 in injury time after FC Utrecht goalie Robbin Ruiter had joined his team in a desperate attempt to score from a corner. For a day at least, PEC Zwolle were top while their manager Ron Jans was the king of Dutch football.

Did Manchester United get themselves the wrong Dutch manager?


sc Heerenveen 1 – 2 FC Dordrecht – 10! 10! 10!
(Hakim Ziyech 1-0 ’14, Giovanni Korte 1-1 ’44, Joris van Overeem 1-2 ’81)

In 1995, FC Dordrecht managed the mean feat of being unbeaten in their last nine league games and still got relegated. Now, they’ve extended their run by beating sc Heerenveen. The last time the two teams were in the same competition and played each other, Heerenveen had never finished higher than 13th in the top tier of Dutch football. This time out, they were clear favourites and opened the score through their sole star player, given the others left, Hakim Ziyech. Ziyech’s goal caught everybody by surprise, as it was not a long range shot, but a header. A header! From that little man Ziyech!

In the end, the surprise paralyzed his teammates more than it did FC Dordrecht, who were mightily impressive. Giovanni ‘Shorty’ Korte levelled the score for Dordrecht just before half time and as the visitors continued doing the business after the break, sc Heerenveen looked disjointed.

Ten minutes before time, Joris van Overeem ensured the points went to Dordrecht, as they remained unbeaten for their tenth consecutive Eredivisie game. In flattering words, Dordrecht are now unbeaten in Eredivisie for over 19 years, which should give de Schaapkoppen the bragging rights in Zuid-Holland for years to come.

SC Cambuur Leeuwarden 1 – 1 FC Twente – Out-Tadiced Twente fail to show a lot of Promes
(Albert Rusnak 1-0 ’13, Youness Mokhtar 1-1 ’88)

Martijn van der Laan, Ramon Leeuwin, Marcel Ritzmaier, Jody Lukoki, Dusan Tadic, Quincy Promes. Just some names missing from last season’s edition of this fixture. It showed, even though the last game between the two was hardly a cracker.

SC Cambuur showed that they still have the steel of last season and put in one sturdy performance. Albert Rusnak opened the score with a wonderful free kick and for a long while, FC Twente looked toothless and without any form of imagination.

Luckily for the Twente side and Alfred Schreuder, who made his debut as permanent manager of FC Twente, Youness Mokhtar wasn’t so much about imagination but more about actually putting a ball in the net and it was the former PEC Zwolle attacker who gained his side a draw.

FC Twente have got a lot of work on their hands as they struggled to breach the side from the Frisian capital, while Cambuur seem to have recovered well from losing four starters.

NAC Breda 1 – 1 Excelsior – One minute of fame for Stans as Tighadouini keeps a point in Breda
(Jeff Stans 0-1 ’19, Adnane Tighadouini 1-1 ’20)

Are NAC Breda relegation contenders? Do Excelsior actually have a chance of staying up? Both questions went unanswered tonight but if we’d be pushed for one we’d put our eggs in the latter basket.

NAC looked shoddy and vulnerable against the newly-promoted side as Excelsior manager Marinus Dijkhuizen had organised his side in fine fashion. Dijkhuizen does have some work to do though and that is on how to keep your side calm after scoring, as the opener was undone within a minute by Adnane Tighadouini. The Excelsior goalkeeper was a bit too frivolous in his in-play celebration handing the ball to the NAC attacker, who found the net from around 30 metres. If Dijkhuizen can get his goalkeeper to celebrate goals in a different fashion they might just do alright this season, whereas NAC really need their attack to stop up.

Getting in a footballer named ‘Boateng’ from AC Milan might sound impressive, but the one that would improve this NAC side appeared to have left a year ago for Schalke ’04 whereas this one hardly showed in his first game that he is the striker NAC have been crying out for.

 Heracles Almelo 0 – 3 AZ – Almelo gets driven over by the Tank
(Steven Berghuis 0-1 ’56, Guus Hupperts ’63 0-2, Muamer Tankovic ’76 0-3)

Heracles are no longer the entertaining side they were two years ago under Peter Bosz, but Marco van Basten did enjoy his debut immensely as manager of AZ in the Polman Stadion.

Heracles’ performance was as unnatural as the grass they were playing on and it was AZ wonderboy Steven Berghuis who opened the score with a long range shot.

Guus Hupperts capped his debut with a fantastic goal and former Fulham player Tankovic avoided jealousy by scoring on his first performance for the club too.

AZ were able to cope well without their top striker Aron Johannsson and the loss of Roy Beerens was hardly felt. All in all a good performance by the Alkmaar side while Heracles have got a lot of work on their hands. AZ go into next week’s derby with Ajax full of confidence.


ADO Den Haag 0-1 Feyenoord – Unfancied Te Vrede to the rescue

(Te Vrede 0-1, 90+1)

Feyenoord ended the week on a high when they beat ADO Den Haag in their first league game of the season. A few days after being eliminated from the Champions League qualifiers by Besiktas, Fred Rutten’s team stuttered and staggered their way through the 90 minutes against the hosts and looked certain to play out a goalless draw. However, as the clock struck 90, substitute Mitchell te Vrede popped up to divert a header past goalkeeper Martin Hansen.

The goal brought an end to a rather feisty and interesting affair. ADO were unlucky to go down to 10 men in the first half when Mitchell Schet was sent off with a second yellow card, although Terence Kongolo appeared to go down very easy under minimal contact. The attacker’s two yellow cards added were added to by 11 others.

ADO came painfully close to taking the lead earlier in the game, with Vito Wormgoor heading off the bar in the first half before Dino Malone smacked it with an astounding shot from distance.

Last season’s Eredivisie runners-up really struggled to dominate the game and were saved in the dying minutes by a forward who is not highly rated by fans and pundits. The opening game exposed the weakness within Feyenoord that was clear even before a ball was kicked – they really need a striker.

Ajax 4-1 Vitesse – Champions demolish challengers on the scoreboard, but not on the pitch
(Viergever 1-0 40′, Lasse Schone 2-0 48′, 4-1 87′, Mike van der Hoorn 3-0 62′, Marko Vejinovic 3-1 84′)

Looking at the scoreboard, you would think Ajax completely dismantled the side who are looking to cement themselves as a giant of Dutch football and challenge them to titles. However, despite the 4-1 scoreline, the match between these two sides was very close.

Zakaria Labyad, Valeri Qazaishvili and Bertrand Traore all had great opportunities to put Vitesse in the lead but were undone by an in-form Kenneth Vermeer who showed that he is more than capable of playing at a top club in the Dutch top flight.

Ajax took the lead five minutes before the break when centre-back-turned-midfielder Nick Viergever charged in to meet a pin-point Ruben Ligeon cross and score with his first shot in the league for his new club.

Vitesse goalkeeper Piet Velthuizen made it easy for the reigning champions to extend their lead as he failed to keep out a blistering Lasse Schone free kick from distance, even though it came down the middle of the goal.

The result was put beyond doubt when Mike van der Hoorn rose to head in a third for the hosts but the centre-back was at fault for Vitesse pulling one back. Marko Vejinovic was able to shake him off far too easily as he dribbled down the left side of the box before easily slotting past Vermeer.

Schone added an extra goal for Ajax at the end of the game when he met a cross from the highly-rated youngster Anwar El Ghazi and knocked it beyond Velthuizen.

Go Ahead Eagles 2 – 3 FC Groningen – One of the Eagles’ lost wings comes boomeranging back to haunt them
(Alex Schalk 1-0 ’18, Lesley de Sa 2-0 ’50, Tjaronn Chery 2-1 ’58, Michael de Leeuw 2-2 ’75, Jarchinio Antonia 2-3 ’87)

Just as last season, Go Ahead Eagles – FC Groningen was a thrilling affair, ending 3-3. In the end, this year’s edition of the fixture was equally thrilling and it was the one player that was in the red and yellow of the Eagles last season who made the difference for the green and white of Groningen.

After a marvelous backheel deflection by Alex Schalk for a first and Lesley de Sa turning Yoell van Nieff inside out to make it a second, the Go Ahead were looking comfortable to wrap up their first league win of the season.

However, pacy winger Jarchinio Antonia, who made the switch from GAE to FCG in the summer, proved to be the home side’s downfall as he first set up Tjaronn Chery to score the all important 2-1. Antonia continued his quest to sink his former employer by laying on a second for Michael de Leeuw, a magnificent chip from the edge of the box teed it up for the attacker to nod in at the back post.

Antonia then ensured a victory for Groningen, scoring from a Tom Hiariej cross. With winger Filip Kostic sold to VfB Stuttgart, the Groningen club already got themselves a new favourite, as Antonia didn’t hold back in his celebration, stating that ‘with all respect for Go Ahead, I am now working for FC Groningen and when I score, I can be happy with that’.

Willem II 1-3 PSV – Depay at the double for Cocu’s men
(Jurgen Locadia 1-0 7′, Memphis Depay 2-0 10′, 3-1 (p) 76′, Bruno Andrade 2-1 40′)

Memphis Depay was the star of the show for PSV as they picked up all three points against a poor newly-promoted Willem II.

The Eredivisie’s answer to West Brom, the perennial yo-yo club of the Netherlands were sluggish, fragile and somewhat suicidal against the Eindhoven giants.

Goalkeeper Kostas Lamprou had a horrific league debut for the club, giving away a goal, a penalty and getting sent off in front of his home crowd.

The 22-year-old failed to control a pass and easily surrendered it to Jurgen Locadia who slotted in the opener in just seven minutes. Robbie Haemhouts was to blame for PSV’s second goal just three minutes later when his horrendous backpass fell to Depay who charged towards goal and fired in the second. The highly sought after youngster should have scored again in the first half when faced with an open goal but he sent it wide.

Bruno Andrade pulled one back for Willem II with an excellent turn and shot past Jeroen Zoet. In the second half, the home side piled the pressure on Phillip Cocu’s men but their good work was undone by Lamprou when he brought down Georginio Wijnaldum in the box. Depay stepped up to coolly slot home the spot-kick to put the game beyond doubt.

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