Dutch Clubs in Europe Review: The good, the sloppy and the powerless

March 11th, 2011 | By: joep | 7 Comments

europa-league-logoLast night, the three remaining Dutch participants in the Euroa League displayed a very wide range of performances. Let’s have a look.

PSV

When the line-ups were handed out before the game against Glasgow Rangers, few believed what they saw. Right there, behind that last line of four defenders, was another dot. A sweeper. Surprised looks were exchanged. Bewilderment was shared. But there he was, in the Glasgow line-up. An honest-to-god Ausputzer.

Glasgow fielded one very lonely striker up front and made it very clear what their intention was. They bunkered down, hoofed a couple of balls forward and that was it. They were dangerous exactly once, from a corner, but Isaksson saved.

On the other side, PSV created very little. Typical was the performance of Orlando Engelaar. The lanky distributor had by far the most possession, but held up play, gesturing his teammates to come into the ball.

PSV had two or three decent chances but Marcus Berg once again reminded everybody he is not the same striker who played for Groningen anymore. He was released, twice, by Ola Toivonen and was twice caught up by Bougherra, who has the figure of a tank. Berg is set to return to HSV at the end of the season, as PSV does not want to make his stay permanent.

Ajax

Ajax – Spartak Moscow were one of two simultaneous Dutch-Russian affairs. The Amsterdammers were again without troublemaker Mounir el Hamdaoui and were decidedly wasteful in front of the Russian goal. De Jong, playing instead of el Hamdaoui, did very well as centre forward and it looks as if de Boer has a viable option to replace the Moroccan.

Wingers Ebicilio and Sulejmani, as well as midfielder Demy de Zeeuw had plenty of chances but didn’t pull the trigger. De Jong too, while promising as an alternative number 9, didn’t show the scoring drift he did last year.

After about an hour, it was Spartak who scored. Captain Alex curled in a shot from outside of the box, leaving Ajax to do what they had been doing so unsuccessfully before the 0-1. De Zeeuw, Ebicilio and Erikssen got very close, but even a 1-1 draw would have suited Spartak just fine. Ajax will find it plenty difficult, especially without a striker like Suarez, to overturn a 0-1 deficit in Moscow.

FC Twente

There was, however, some good news to report from the Dutch fields and it came from Enschede, where FC Twente hosted Zenith St. Petersburg. In the previous round, Twente had taken care of Russian Rubin Kazan at home and in Kazan, but Zenith, it was expected, would provide more of a challenge.

It was the good form of Luuk de Jong that proved deciding. While his older brother was missing chance in Amsterdam for Ajax, the younger de Jong brother, more of a natural striker in the first place, had more success.

Zenith started out the more threatening side. Danny’s first attempt on goal was disallowed for offside. His second chance followed shortly but was aimed over the crossbar.

Twente’s opening goal came off a deflected cross by the much maligned right back Roberto Rosales. De Jong reacted quickly and headed In the 1-0.

The Venezuelan Rosales has been criticized for losing possession in unfortunate positions, but his defensive contribution showed when he cleared a certain Zenith equalizer off the line.

r0dc21o2f3vste5s7ezej9x3a10rp3wiwdv3ih0zl83zwt90yv8q1gnsygbolfPlay flowed from one end to the other throughout the game, but Twente goalkeeper Michaylov answered well when called upon. At that point, another goal could have fallen on either side of the field but it was Twente who expanded their lead through a volley from Denny Landzaat. The midfielder has a history in the UEFA league, reaching the semi finals with AZ in the middle of the last decade.

In the extra time, it was again de Jong who crept in front of a Russian defender (actually, Brazilian defender Bruno Alves) to head home from short range, after a hard-as-nails cross from Theo Janssen. An absolutely wonderful result for Twente, who will travel to St. Petersburg with a comfortable lead.

That concludes the Dutch performance in Europe this week. All three sides could have won, but only FC Twente did, proving again it is both the most creative and effective team among the Dutch contenders for the Europa League


 
March 10th, 2011

Today’s Europa League Preview

By: joep | Comments 5 Comments

europa-league-logoTonight, three Eredivisie clubs will play in the round of sixteen of the Europa League, Europe’s – let’s face it – second most important club tournament. The Dutch are elated by this. Read that sentence again. Dutch football is now officially satisfied – no, happy – to have three [...]


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March 2nd, 2011

Cup Football Resumes!

By: joep | Comments 1 Comment

KNVB-bekerAmidst all the action in the league we would almost forget there is still a cup to be won out there. Tonight, FC Twente, fresh off their bizarre loss against AZ, will host FC Utrecht. Utrecht started the year well, but its obvious their squad cannot handle the [...]


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February 28th, 2011

Shameless Sunday: Your Week 25 Eredivisie Review

By: joep | Comments 2 Comments

Eredivisie LogoSuper Sunday has come and gone and it wasn’t as Super as many expected. It was pretty much everything else, but it certainly wasn’t super. Let alone with a capital “s”. The members of the league’s fair play committee won’t be coming home for supper anytime [...]


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February 26th, 2011

Your Deadline-Beating Week 25 Eredivisie Preview

By: joep | Comments 1 Comment

Eredivisie LogoAfter a spectacular day for Eredivisie teams in the Europa League with Twente, Ajax and PSV advancing to the next round, we turn once more to the Eredivisie, which is about two fixtures this week. There are seven others, but pretty much two of them count. Big time. Yesterday, [...]


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February 22nd, 2011

The Prodigal Sons (might) Return (Possibly. Maybe.)

By: joep | Comments 5 Comments

Psv_logo(1)(23)In the mid-nineties, the return of Frank Rijkaard gave a very young and talented Ajax team the final push it needed to achieve greatness. Considering how Rijkaard had left, it was a bit of a surprise he came back at all. The 1995 final in Vienna against [...]


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February 20th, 2011

Week 24 Eredivisie Roundup: The Miss Seen Around the World

By: joep | Comments Add Comments

I don’t like to make predictions. I really don’t but even when previewing games, you tend to show your hand a little bit. For example, I suggested ADO would pretty much blow Feyenoord away. They did not. They rallied, sure, to get back two late goals from Inter-bound Luc Castaignos, but ADO got off lucky [...]


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February 19th, 2011

Your Week 24 Eredivisie Preview

By: joep | Comments Add Comments

Eredivisie LogoAfter a surprisingly good round of Europa League games (that is to say, the results were good. The games, not so much) The Eredivisie resumes this weekend for round 24. That round of course, actually started yesterday with a game between FC Utrecht and Heracles Almelo. To [...]


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February 16th, 2011

Dutch Clubs in Europe: Preview

By: joep | Comments 2 Comments

europa-league-logoAfter a long hiatus, European football resumes this week and there are still three Eredivisie teams active in the Europa League. Let’s have a look PSV PSV is one of the two lucky teams that won’t have to travel a preposterous distance to compete. They are unlucky, however, in [...]


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February 14th, 2011

The Polish Promise

By: joep | Comments 4 Comments

Roda-logo-t.b.v-webI’ve tried hard not to flash my fandom of Roda JC, but yesterday’s heroics by Roda goalie Tyton forced my hand.

Last Sunday against Ajax, The Parkstad Limburg Stadium was filled to capacity for the first Eredivisie game in its ten year existence. Twenty thousand and [...]


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