NEC Nijmegen will play in the Eerste Divisie next season after they were defeated 4-1 on aggregate by Sparta Rotterdam in the Eerste Divisie playoff second round.

  • By Michael Bell
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nec relAnton Janssen’s side rescued themselves from automatic relegation on the final day of the Eredivisie with a shock 2-2 draw against champions Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena.

However NEC have now joined Roda JC as Eredivisie casualties this season after a 4-1 aggregate defeat to Sparta Rotterdam condemns them to the Eerste Divisie for the first time since 1994.

NEC lost the first leg of their tie with Sparta 1-0 on Friday in Rotterdam, with many still feeling the Eredivisie side would progress to the play-off final against the side that finished 15th in the 2nd tier.

Sparta had other ideas though and swept NEC aside in front of their own fans at the Goffertstadion, winning the tie on Saturday evening 3-1. Goals from Roald van Hout, Mimoun Mahi and Steef Nieuwendaal gave Sparta an unbelievable 3-0 lead at half time, and although Ryan Koolwijk pulled a goal back in the second half, it was too little too late for NEC.

The full time whistle was met by shock around the stadium, as a number of NEC players where shown in flood’s of tears, just eight days after those scenes of joy at the Amsterdam Arena. Angry fans showed their frustration by throwing chairs at the NEC players as they made their way of the pitch.

Huge credit has to be given to Sparta Rotterdam, who have now won three games in a row in the playoffs, and go on to meet Dordrecht for a place in the Eredivisie.

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