Review of all the action from week 24 of the Eredivisie which saw the race against relegation intensify.

  • By Leo Walker
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higdon cAjax took a further step forward in their quest to win four Eredivisie titles in a row after they inflicted a comfortable 3-0 defeat on Marco van Basten’s SC Heerenveen side. The fixture was the farewell game for Christian Eriksen, however Lasse Schøne stole the show with a hat-trick. Two goals were dispatched from the spot whilst the third was an easy tap in which ensured a unhappy return for Ajax legend, Marco van Basten but a pleasing one for Christian Eriksen.

The result leaves Ajax four points ahead of FC Twente who lie in second following their 2-0 victory over title rivals Vitesse on Saturday evening. The defeat for Vitesse has extended their winless run to five games now, a run which has ruled them out of the title race. The club from Arnhem have failed to score in the past three games also, whilst their defeat on Saturday was made worse when Patrick van Aanholt was dismissed for a straight red and will now miss upcoming games. FC Twente are now surely the only club who can challenge Ajax for the title, a repeat of the 2010/11 season when the two went head to head for Eredivisie shield.

Feyenoord slipped up on the road away to mid table NAC Breda on Sunday despite a bright start which saw Daryl Janmaat score his first goal of the season to put Ronald Koemans side one up. The side from Rotterdam we dealt a harsh blow when Miguel Nelom was penalised for handball when turning his back and Poepon despatched to level the score. The remainder of the game saw Feyenoord failing to put away their chances in a game where Lex Immers and Graziano Pellè could have grabbed a brace each however a man of the match performance by NAC keeper Jelle Rouwelaar kept the Feyenoorders at bay.

As the race for the title becomes a much more clearer picture, the battle to avoid the relegation spot is a jigsaw puzzle. Just 8 points separate the bottom half from Roda in 18th on 22 points NAC Breda in 10th on 30.

On Saturday evening, in a crucial tie between Roda JC and ADO Den Haag with both sides in the relegation play-off zone, and ADO rock bottom, it was the side of ADO who would record a vital, narrow, 1-0 victory. The result ensured the side from The Hague they would leapfrog their opponents and succumb Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side into the automatic relegation spot, where they will be replaced by the Eerste Divisie Champions if they remain their at the end of the season. Despite going 1-0 down on the road at RKC Waalwijk, NEC Nijmegen whose form in 2014 has been strong with just one defeat, showed great character to overturn the one goal deficit and run out comfortable 3-1 victors. The Dutch Cup semi-finalists remain in the bottom three in 16th, joint on 24 points with ADO Den Haag, however in this form they will escape which considering their form prior to the winter break is a great recovery.

On Sunday, SC Cambuur entertained the in form PEC Zwolle at the Cambuur Stadion where a tough game was expected with the former league leaders, PEC Zwolle unbeaten in their last four games, a run which includes 3 victories. However the home form this season by SC Cambuur has been strong and they ran out comfortable 3-1 winners. From the outset the result was never in doubt as they look to remain in the Eredivisie for at least another season though they rely solely on the home form as they are yet to record a win away from home. Also hoping to remain in the Eredivisie is Go Ahead Eagles whose no fear approach has at times been a joy to watch and famous scalps have been claimed in there first since back in the top tier since 1994. However on Sunday, on the poor pitch at the Euroborg Stadion they went down 1-0 to FC Groningen. On a pitch that would not be out of place in the Rugby 6 Nations tournament, Tjaronn Chery scored the only goal of the game after 6 minutes to ensure FC Groingens first victory of 2014.

Struggling to get their first win of the calendar year, and without a win in 8 games are FC Utrecht who are now nervously watching over their shoulders at the progress of the teams below. Jan Wouter’s side now lie just above the bottom three zone on 26 pts, however they did gain a point at the weekend away at AZ Alkmaar when Jens Toornstra scored a stunning free kick to in what was arguably the goal of the game to cancel out Aron Johansson’s opener. The round initially got underway on Friday evening when PSV recorded their third victory in a row and they now have Feyenoord and Vitesse in their sights as they lie in 5th on 38pts. Although the performance was lacklustre by PSV it’s the result that matters with the eventual winning goal scored by Bryan Ruiz, his first since returning to play in the Eredivisie. Philip Cocu has some way to go before the fans forget the disappoints from earlier on in the season, though if they can rescue a high finish to the season that would be some consolation. European football next season is the minimum PSV fans should expect.

Leo Walker (36 Posts)