ADO 0-1 FC Utrecht
First thing of tonight from this game was the lack of atmosphere inside the stadium. This was due to the fact that no travelling supporters were allowed tickets for the game. There was no noise at all until ten minutes before the kick off. I am sure the players do not like it either, makes for an eerie environment in which to play a game of passion.
ADO kicked off and immediately it looked as though they were going to continue on from last weekends stunning performance of AZ. The team looked fired up and went straight for goal. This week however, Utrecht was reading from a different script. They got hold of the ball in the second minute and launched it forward. The ball falls nicely and is controlled well by Dries Mertens who from twenty meters out his a thunderous shot towards goal. Thankfully for Ditewig it was aimed directly at him and rebounded off his chest and away to safety.
From a throw in on the right on four minutes, Milic sends a long ball in to the corner. Verhoek lobs the ball instantly to the edge of the penalty box. Soltani climbs well to head the ball down in to space as Buijs runs in to the opening left by Utrecht’s defenders. The shot is hit well but is wide of the upright and goes out for a corner kick.
From the opening exchanges of this game, it looked to me as though both managers had decided to throw caution to the wind and dismiss any ideas of tactical defensive play. This was shown again on eight minutes when a long ball from Gregoor van Dijk saw three ADO defenders ball watching. Utrecht’s giant forward Jacob Mulenga ran between them and had only the onrushing Ditewig to beat. It looked a simple opportunity to score, but he mistimed and mishit the lob making it easy for Ditewig to go low to the left to clear the danger.
Eighteen minutes and more lapses of concentration in the ADO team allow Utrecht to break away with the ball. Michael Silberbauer moved in to the ADO half and with a pin point diagonal ball found Mulenga on the right touchline. Mulenga moved towards the penalty area and looked up to see Ditewig coming of his line. A beautiful chip left Ditewig stranded and could only watch as the ball flew over his head goal wards. A great effort did not get its rewards as the ball skimmed the top of the bar. Utrecht were playing the better football and ADO were giving them ball to play with.
Utrecht almost took the lead in the thirty third minute after yet another ADO break down in the opponents half. A ball out to the left saw Silberbauer running at Ammi, Ammi was left in his wake as Silberbauer used quick feet to get by him with ease. A cross came in hard and low to be met with power by Mertens who was five meters out. He still managed some how to hit the ball high over the bar.
On thirty eight minutes someone lit the fuse to ignite Kai van Hese in to action. He started to link up well with Soltani and Buijs. These three players combined down the left leaving Hese with a run in on goal. Michel Vorm in the Utrecht goal was out quick to smother any cross or shot. The ball ricocheted of his body, Hese reacted quickly preventing a corner and played a ball inside the box to Soltani, he had the time to place it but hit the ball high and wide, a great chance.
ADO attacking as a whole unit in the forty first minute, Great interplay on the left by Immers, Buijs, Hese and Milic took the ball deep in to the Utrecht half. With defenders not closing down quickly ADO made a quick and incisive move. Buijs hits a ball up over the defence, Immers took the ball on his chest and in one movement stretched out a leg to hit the ball past Vorm and saw the shot smash against the bar; a great effort and very unlucky.
The first half ended. An odd forty five minutes. At times bad defensive play by both teams lead to attacking possibilities. Yet for long periods, it was a tough, dour midfield battle which at times was boring to all watching.
ADO almost struck early in the second half. From the kick off ADO got control of the ball and played it out wide to Verhoek on the right wing. His quickness of feet and skill totally bamboozled the poor Utrecht defender Jacob Lensky. Verhoek made some space for a cross deep in to the area. The head of Soltani rose highest and met the ball firmly. This time the ball was over the bar by centimeters.
For the following twenty five minutes the game died a death. Commitment and energy levels dropped to dangerously low tolerance levels. The game was in dire need of a goal. On seventy minutes the game got the jolt it needed to bring it back to life. From an ADO throw in, Milic loses the ball and it rolls to Silberbauer who puts head down and runs direct towards the ADO goal. He looked up once and played a ball forward to Mertens who took the ball in his stride with the left foot, then on to his right, two swivels of his hips lost the ADO defenders near him. This gave him enough time to pick his spot and place the ball wide of Ditewig in to the back corner of the net, a real cool finish, 0-1.
There was no real response from ADO after going a goal down in the game. It was not until the eighty eighth minute that they almost got back to level terms. A long hopeful ball was hit forward. Milic managed to get his head to it and force it out wide to Soltani. He puts the defender on the back foot and turns him inside out. A cross is floated in and Horvath gets his head highest to head the ball downward towards the goal. The keeper is beaten and as the ball bounces up it hits the upright, chance missed.
In the final minutes Utrecht keeps possession just running the clock down to the final whistle. Final seconds and Mulenga decides to go for a run. He out runs all around him; no defenders are near him. Has time to stand still, look up and see what is available. He played the ball to the edge of the box where Silberbauer came in totally unmarked. Unfortunately for him, he got a little over excited at the sight of an easy goal and blasted the ball high and wide when he had so much time to control the ball and place it.
The final whistle blew and it was met by a small section of cat calls from the home crowd. The result was a fair one. ADO had a weak point today; they couldn’t defend on the left hand side. Utrecht attacked that weakness throughout and could have benefitted from it more.
Now back to my first point about the missing away support. I believe that this does disadvantage both the home and away team. Today when Utrecht took the lead, there would have been wild celebrations and noise behind the goal. This of course in turn gets the ADO supporters to react and scream for their team to get back in to the game. This today did not happen, the crowd was mostly quiet. I totally understand why at times visiting supporters are not allowed to attend due to the behaviour of a minority. I believe it cost ADO the game, as players do react extremely well to the boisterous backing of their support. It lifts them; it is what certainly helped ADO get through the last five minutes of last weeks match.
ADO man of the match; Hese. Great linking Defence to attack and some great wing play.