ADO v NEC Nijmegen

 ADO 3 v 1 NEC Nijmegen.

Well a great week for ADO so far. Last Sunday’s stunning victory at Utrecht, along with the other results of the teams around them in the basement of the Eredivisie put the Hague club out of the drop zone. If they could continue to perform as they had in the last two matches, surely it would be another welcome 3 points.

From the kick off NEC from Nijmegen looked the more up for it team. In the early skirmishes the looked stronger and looked the more hungry. In the third minute NEC earned a corner on the right after a brave block by Derijck. Jeffrey Sarpong hit his cross deep in to the ADO area. Totally unmarked and lurking at the back post, Patrick Pothuizen aimed a powerful header goalwards only to se an acrobatic Coutinho fingertip the ball over the bar.

As the game progressed, the more aggressive the tackling and challenges became, causing the referee Kevin Blom to issue several yellow cards in quick succession.

Sixteen minutes played and some sloppy ball control by NEC’s Mitchell Burgzorg gave ADO a throw in. Soltani raced quickly to take the throw. His throw to Immers in the penalty box was quick enough to defy the defenders who were standing and watching but seemingly taking no action. Immers turned a defender and laid the ball back in to the path of Soltani just outside the area. Soltani lazily swung his leg and the ball slid powerful wide. However luck was on his and ADO’s side. First the ball hit NEC’s Pothuizen and then cannoned in to the back of his own net by the unfortunate Bram Nuytinck; 1-0 ADO. The stadium erupted and the fans all around the stadium were chanting “We are staying up!”

The final thirty minutes of the half passed by pretty uneventfully; in fact the word boring would aptly describe the action. The half time whistle blew and the crowd stood to applaud the home players off.

The first seven minutes of the second half belonged to NEC. The visitors outpaced and out manoeuvred ADO with some speedy fast flowing football. Despite all their possession, they could not grab an equaliser. Twice they went close when only a reaction save by Coutinho prevented a certain goal from Rick ten Voorde, followed minutes later by a long range curling shot that just cleared the bar by Saidi Ntibazonkiza.

In the fifty forth minute ADO were awarded a throw in on the right close to the corner flag. Buijs hurled his throw into the penalty box. A weak defensive header by Lorenzo Davids fell to the waiting and unmarked Verhoek who smashed a right footed volley in to the back of the net, passed an unsighted Babos who was left stranded; 2-0. As at Utrecht last Sunday, the players again ran across to substitute v/d Bergh to make him feel part of the celebrations. The team seem to definitely want him to stay, and rightly so in my opinion.

Seventy eight minutes and NEC move again down the left. Saidi taking on and beating Ammi before whipping in a cross that only NEC’s ten Voorde reacted to with any urgency and got his head to the ball first to make it 2-1.

ADO then completely collapsed. They looked as though they had totally lost concentration. Firstly on eighty three minutes; NEC are awarded a free kick after a foul by v/d Berg on Davids. It is 30m out and central to the goal. The ball is tapped forward and John Goossens hits a ferocious low drive towards goal. The ball first strikes Soltani and then Kum before squeezing passed the lost Coutinho. The fight back by NEC was complete, 2-2.

Less than a minute later, Ammi makes a rash, unnecessary challenge on Saidi, leading to another free kick, this time around 40m out. Sarpong bends the ball in to the penalty area. Two strikers and three defenders race for the ball. The right foot of Pothuizen reaches the ball first and glides the ball in to the back of the ADO net. The silence was deafening as the home support looked on in disbelief. The small band of travelling support bounced around joyously, unable to comprehend what they were witnessing, as were the ADO fans, 2-3.

In five minutes, ADO had capitulated worse than I have ever seen any team do so. They looked lost and shell shocked. From a winnable position they threw it away and so waste a chance to make survival in the Eredivisie more realistic. The final few minutes was basically an ADO panic, long balls, wasted passes and a few stern words amongst team mates, but no real retort to the visitors.

The final whistle blew and the boos and jeers from ADO supporters was quite understandable. The players trudged off dejected and looked drained of all emotion. Thankfully for them and their support, other results had gone ADO’s way and they are still one place above relegation. So now with two games left to play, it is in their hands. Next is a home game on Sunday against the team bottom of the league. Not easy game but certainly winnable, followed by their last game away to Heracles Almelo, that is certainly a tough ask on the team, as Heracles have had a very good season, especially at home. So ADO are one solitary point above the drop zone. The only saving grace is the fact their goal difference is the better of the teams around them.

Now it is fingers and everything else crossed for ADO’s last two games!

ADO man of the match: Soltani. His effort in chasing lost causes was admirable.

Attendance: 11 324

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