ADO v FC Groningen

ADO 1-1 FC Groningen

Well they say bad things happen in threes. Two league defeats in a row by AZ and Ajax sandwiching a Beker (cup) knockout away to VVV Venlo Saw hope spring eternal for a good result from tonight’s match. Unfortunately weather conditions were awful, strong swirling winds inside the stadium making it difficult to watch the game, never mind play in it.

As the cliché goes, this was a game of two halves and ADO also did a good impression of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  For the first forty five minutes the Hyde’s had taken the field, from the kick off ADO looked half hearted in what they were doing. There seemed to be a lack of spirit amongst the players. Twice in the first two minutes Groningen surged forward unopposed towards goal. Unfortunately for the visitors, both opportunities were wasted with a lack of finesse in there shooting abilities. Danny Holla being the most culpable; firing over the bar from close range.

Six minutes in to the game and ADO have their first attack on goal. Pascal Bosschaart neatly intercepted a midfield passing move by Groningen. The ball is played wide to Soltani who cuts inside the defender and in to the penalty area. His shot is hard and low but direct at Brian van Loo in the Groningen goal.

Quarter of an hour played and the visitors are forced to make a substitution. Soltani and Ondrej Svejdik jump for the ball, there is hardly any contact between them, but Svejdik lands off balance and falls clutching his left ankle in agony. The game was held up for four minutes whilst he received treatment before being taken off by the mini ambulance to the sound of the ADO crowd singing the A-Team theme. He was replaced by Gibril Sankoh.

For the following fifteen minutes you may aswel have curled up and gone to sleep. This was dire football to watch. Not one player from either side was able to stamp their authority on the game. It was a matter of lose balls, weak challenges and practice style passing amongst each other. The only danger to the goals in this period was woodworm!

In the thirty first minute the match sparked back in to life. A long throw in from Buijs on the left from ADO deep in to the penalty area fell to invitingly for Verhoek to strike with his right foot. The keeper couldn’t hold the initial effort and was down quick at the feet of Milic to smother the ball to prevent the home side taking the lead. This action stirred Groningen in to an attack of their own. From inside their own penalty box, Groningen played five quick passes that tore right through the heart of the ADO team. Koen van de Laak got the ball wide on the right, the ball played inside to Goran Lovre whose quick knock on to the opposite side of the pitch where a totally unmarked Nicklas Pedersen swept the ball in to a gaping net; 0-1 to the visitors. The small contingent of away support went crackers, all 80 of them.

That was it for the rest of the half, another long period of nothing football. Couldn’t even blame the high winds for the lack of flair on show as there was no real long or high balls being played to be blown around.

One minute in to the second period, Groningen played some neat passes down the field, Sepp de Roover forward to van de Laak whose bal inside was waiting to be hit hard in to the ADO net; but a rush of blood to the head and Pedersen totally mistimed his shot and the ball flew high and wide of the right hand post when it seemed easier to score, a real let off for the home side.

Suddenly, on fifty five minutes, the Jekyll’s appeared for ADO. A new and better ADO were now fighting for the ball and working for each other. When a team starts to believe in themselves, things start to go their way. ADO was awarded a dubious free kick twenty two metres from goal for an alleged foul. The half time substitute van den Bergh lined up the shot. A short run up and he crashed the ball hard against the cross bar. The ball flew high in to the air and back in to play. A mad scramble saw bodies falling as eventually Loo in the Groningen goal finally managed to claim the ball bravely on the ground, but the whistle had already blown for one of the numerous fouls in the melee.

Fifty eight minutes played. A long kick from Ditewig was headed on by Milic in the middle of the Groningen half. The ball fell nicely to Immers who spotted Charlton Vicento on the right hand corner of the penalty box. He looked up saw the keeper of his line and sent a fierce curling shot toward the top left corner, great skill, only bettered by the magnificent diving outstretched save by Loo who managed to palm the shot away on to the upright. Great play by both players.

Sixty five minutes and from a speculative Immers shot, ADO were awarded a corner on the right hand side. Bosschaart send the ball in to a packed area, Loo forces his way through a crowd of players to punch the ball clear, doing so he also punched his own defender Andreas Granqvist in the head, basically knocking him out. As Immers gains possession the Groningen players are screaming at him to kick the ball out of play. No whistle from referee so Immers played a one two with Bosschaart and fires the ball across the area beating all apart from an unlucky Sankoh who swept the ball right footed in to his own net with nobody challenging him. The protestations by the Groningen players went on long and loud, but the goal stood, 1-1.

ADO was now dominating a tired looking Groningen. As the Haagse Kwartiertje chant was about to ring out from the supporters Immers collected the ball near the half way line and moved forward at leisure, no one closing him down. Then he shot from forty metres out surprising everybody, the goalkeeper included, who scrambled across his goal line to see the low shot bounce just wide of his left hand post.

Eighty one minutes and ADO are looking confident. Soltani hits a long ball in to the box from out wide on the left. Vicento controls it instantly and plays the ball back to Soltani who had continued his run in to the penalty area and sees his strike hit the base of the right hand post. The ball rebounded out to Milic who didn’t react quickly enough to beat the keeper with a second shot, Loo collecting the ball in to his chest.

In the first of four minutes of extra time ADO gained a corner on the right. A quick kick found Horvath standing tightly marked by two defenders on the penalty spot. Some how he turned tightly and in the same movement fired a shot millimeters over the cross bar. ADO almost snatched it, but it wasn’t to be.

Well ADO broke the three match losing streak. At times, especially in the first half, ADO looked as though they were on for another defeat. Yet in the last thirty minutes, ADO turned the whole game around. Equalizing, hitting the woodwork three times, felt sorry for the woodworms now. Plus other half chances. Luck wasn’t on their side. A point in the end was gained, should have and could have been three. I can’t imagine that the Groningen manager Ron Jans was happy with his teams display in the second half. Both teams showed both sides of their games tonight. Highs and lows from both.

   Attendance 10, 771

ADO man of the match; Immers; was at the centre of what made ADO tick in the last half hour of the game.

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