ADO Den Haag 1 – 2 NAC Breda
The players were welcomed by a noisy crowd and wonderful warm summer heat as both teams waited to begin the challenge of a new football season. After the last two pre season games, ADO supporters must have been worrying what they were about to witness. They needn’t have worried.
From the first whistle the game moved at a pace belying the temperature in the stadium. NAC were the first team to really settle and get control of the ball. Due to the pitch being watered just before kick off, passing was crisp, accurate and easily controllable when played in to feet.
NAC were up for the fight and several rash tackles finally resulted in a yellow card for Kees Kwakman in the thirteenth minute after a tackle on Immers. The referee, Braamhaar had held his patience long enough and his leniency towards the rough tackling finally gave in. The effect was almost instant and the tackles got a bit more sensible.
Sixteen minutes and Van den Bergh has a wicked curling free kick well saved by the NAC keeper Ten Rouwelaar. The keeper was to become an ever growing obstacle to ADO as the game progressed.
NAC began to turn the screw tightly as the first half continued. On twenty one minutes Joonas Kolkka, the former ADO players got in on Coutinho the ADO keeper and tried to beat him with a clever lobbed shot, luckily for ADO the shot did not match the idea. 4 minutes later NAC were awarded a free kick. The shot was taken fiercely by Matthew Amoah, only to be thwarted by a good save by Coutinho; who was starting to show what a good keeper he is after the last two friendlies in which he looked a nervous wreck. It looks like the pressure of a real competitive match boosts his ability and confidence.
In the forty second minute of the game the dead lock was broken. Tim Gilissen played a ball to the lone standing Anthony Lurling, who takes aim and fires a beautiful curling shot passed the outstretched Coutinho, who had no chance, 0-1.
Two minutes in to injury time and Soltani comes in from the left and wastes the halves last chance by firing in to the side netting. AS both teams left the field of play they were applauded by both sets of supporters. If only the second half could match this level of entertainment.
The second half indeed matched the first half. Both teams were at full throttle in their attacks. Both keepers were called on regularly to pull off a fine string of saves. Only a moment of genius by NAC’s Robbert Schilder in the sixty seventh minute saw NAC increase their lead. He beat four ADO players before sliding the ball to Amoah who kept his cool in front of goal to make it 0-2 to the visitors.
After seventy four minutes, Coutinho makes another great save from Lurling who had escaped the ADO defence, who were now at times looking a little frail as their minds were looking more towards their attacking options than their defensive duties. Then from a free kick by Coutinho, NAC defenders Patrick Zwaanswijk and Tyrone Loran misjudged the ball allowing it to reach ADO’s Horvath to collect it a dispatch the shot passed the visiting keeper to make it 1-2. Haagse Kwartiertje!!!
How close, should have been 2-2 after eighty minutes. Van den Bergh slips the ball and himself through NAC’s defence as they lost concentration. Looked to be an easy chance, but he fluffed his effort to the exasperation of the home support. ADO’s pressure continued as they fought to save a point. In the eighty seventh minute, Immers set up Ignacio who took his chance well only to be foiled by an outstanding save by Rouwelaar.
In the ninety fourth minute the last chance of the game fell to ADO’s Van den Bergh. Managed to work some free space for him self to get a good shot on target, only to be thwarted by the immovable wall of Rouwelaar. That was the last action of the match.
It was a superb afternoon’s entertainment. ADO was unlucky not to have salvaged a point from this game, a point they truly deserved. A point I think NAC would acknowledge they did deserve if they were honest.
It was a positive performance all around by the ADO team. Highlight had to be the performance of Coutinho in goal. After a shocking start in pre season, he showed his worth today. If he keeps performing this way, Zwinkels and Waterman will have to work hard to gain a starting place in the first eleven!
Man of the Match: Coutinho just edged it today. There were many other candidates for this title.