Dutch Cup Final Preview.

  • By Leo Walker
  • Follow @Eredivisie_UK

KNVB CThe final on Thursday between PSV and AZ Alkmaar can offer only a small consolation for either clubs who have both disappointed this season against expectations. As PSV led the Eredivisie title at the winter break it was hoped they could challenge for the title in their centenary year, however a case of déjà vu occurred when throwing their lead away to Ajax. AZ Alkmaar were expected to be challenging for the top four spots within the Eredivisie, however only up until round 32 they were still fighting for survival as they lied dangerously close to the relegation zone. AZ Alkmaar travel to Rotterdam in good form with three victories in their last four games where they have scored 15 goals; however the game that they did lose 3-1 was in the rehearsal of the final. PSV have scored 102 goals in the Eredivisie season and with AZ Alkmaar scoring for fun at the moment, the final promises to be a high goal scoring affair.

Journey to the De Kuip

PSV travelled to amateur side Achilles ’29 in the second round of the Dutch Cup in what was a difficult start to their cup campaign. PSV were given a shock wake up call after the hosts took a shock lead after just two minutes, before PSV scored three times before the break. Achilles ’29 rallied and responded early into the second half to reduce the visitors lead to one; however they were unable to get the equaliser. Dick Advocaat’s men made it difficult for themselves after they missed a penalty to restore their two goal lead however they held on to progress to the third round.

Amateur side EHC/Heuts were the opponents in the next round at the Phillips Stadion. The hosts fielded a weaker side, however this did not affect the result as they ran out comfortable 3-1 winners after Memphis Depay set them on their way. They then faced another amateur outfit in round four this time travelling to Rijnsburgse Boys. The result was never in doubt after PSV scored on the fourth minute through defender Stanislav Manolev. Two further goals were added before the break through Tim Matavz before Kevin Strootman wrapped up the game with a fourth.

The reward was a quarter final tie at home to Feyenoord in what was the tie of the round. In a tight first half the sides went in level after Graziano Pellé equalised for the visitors on 28 minutes after Dries Mertens opened the scoring. It was not until the 78th minute when the game would be decided as veteran Mark van Bommel restored the one goal lead for the hosts and set up a tough semi-final tie away at PEC Zwolle.

The hosts had reached the semi-final for the first time since runners up in the competition back in 1976/77 season, however the holders of the trophy proved to strong as PSV were 2-0 up at half time thanks to a brace from star youngster Jurgen Locadia who was only making his debut due to Tim Matavz having to pull out late. The 19 year old made an impressive impact to the starting line up when he wrapped up his hat-trick with four minutes to go and send PSV to their second final in succession looking for their tenth Dutch Cup success.

Last year’s beaten semi-finalist have managed to go one better this year and reach their fifth Dutch Cup final and potentially rescue a disappointing season. Their campaign started with their only home game of the competition to the now extinct SC Veendam in round two and the former Eerste Divisie side were comfortably beaten 4-1. New summer signing Viktor Elm scored his first three goals for the club with a 34 minute first half hat trick before Altidore made it four from the penalty spot. The visitors did manage to record a consolation however AZ Alkmaar’s progression was never in doubt.

They travelled to the amateur side VV SWZ Boso Sneek in the next round and no shock looked to be on the cards as winger Johann Gudmundsson scored in the third minute. The Icelandic youngster scored his second just minutes into the restart before the hosts got themselves briefly back into the game on the 52nd minute. However Jozy Altidore responded almost immediately with a  three minute brace to record their second 4-1 victory.

The next round saw AZ Alkmaar score a further four goals, this time FC Dordrecht were the victims. AZ Alkmaar were 3-0 up after just 29 minutes, however the home side battled gamely to get themselves back in the game after goals on the 62nd and 82nd minutes. IT was a nervous end for the visitors however Ruud Boyman’s scored his last goal for AZ before being rented to NEC Nijmegen to ensure they progressed to the quarter final. FC Den Bosch were their opponents in what potentially could have been a tough encounter however AZ recorded an emphatic 5-0 victory after goals by Viktor Elm, Johann Gudmundsson, Jozy Altidore and a brace for Adam Maher to set up a sem-final tie with Ajax.

The Eredivisie Champions were strong favourites to progress, however in a tense semi-final it was not until the 76th minute when the first game of the goal was scored. At the time, AZ Alkmaar’s future in the Eredivisie was still uncertain as they lied dangerously close to the relegation zone; however they ran out 3-0 winners to offer the fans something to celebrate after a brace by Jozy Altidore and a further Dutch Cup goal by Johann Gudmundsson and set up a date with PSV in the De Kuip.

Leo Walker (60 Posts)