ADO v AZ Alkmaar

ADO 0 v 2 AZ

Thanks to great work by the ADO ground staff and the many volunteers who on Saturday cleared the pitch of snow, the game was cleared to be played; at the final whistle, we were all wondering why they had bothered?

Before the kick off to remember one of ADO Den Haag’s greatest players Aad Mansveld, who passed away 19 years ago to the day, a one minutes applause was signalled and as this occurred torches of remembrance were ignited behind one of the goals, a truly fantastic gesture to a great man and stalwart of ADO Den Haag.

From the kick off this was not the ADO team I had been watching all season. They were disjointed, lacking in offensive ideas and struggled to put a move of three or passes together. Two players were badly missed, Verhoek and Derijck. Ricky v/d Bergh came in to the side and is normally a forward moving player, yet from the outset, every time he received the ball in the centre of the field, the first thing he did was turn and face his own goal. Maybe the lack of a first team pick was affecting his confidence, as in the first fifteen minutes he gave the ball away far too easily and the crowd were soon on his back. This certainly was not the v/d Bergh I am used to seeing play.

Toornstra and Kubik tried valiantly to break down the flanks, but AZ’s big, strong defenders kept that at bay with ease and dealt with any threat ADO could muster. The crowd did their best to get behind the team, but today it just was not happening for ADO in any areas of the pitch.

As the game progressed, the more boring and predictable it got. It was not until the thirty fifth minute that the games first good chance happened. A long ball from Coutinho was headed on by Bulykin, the ball falling to Toornstra who ran in at pace on goal. His shot was fierce but wild and his effort flew over the top of the bar, a wasted opportunity. ADO would soon rue that missed chance.

In the fortieth minute AZ got awarded a penalty kick after Bosschaart was judged to have fouled AZ’s Maarten Martens inside the penalty area. It looked clear cut to me despite the remonstrations by the ADO team. Rasmus Elm placed the ball on the spot, took a run and sent his shot just wide of the outstretched hands of Coutinho in the ADO goal. A well placed penalty giving the visitors the lead, 0-1.

The first half ended and to be honest, the crowd were pleased to see an end to it. ADO were lack lustre and showed no confidence in their ability. The mental approach to this game seemed totally wrong. The spirit and fight that ADO has been displaying all this season so far just was not there. Unfortunately for most of the second half, this was to be true again.

Fifty one minutes and AZ doubled their advantage. A quick break down the right wing saw Graziano Pelle eventually get a ball across to just inside the left corner of the ADO penalty box. The ball was met by the forward running Martens who in his stride struck the ball perfectly passed a stranded Coutinho; the ball resting in the bottom corner of the net, beautiful strike of the ball on the run, 0-2.

ADO thought they had found their way back in to the game in the fifty ninth minute. Immers had the ball wide on the right; his long flighted pass was weighted superbly for Kubik to control and volley the ball in to the back of the net. The celebrations were cut short as the linesman had raised his flag for off-side, a very tight decision in my opinion.

ADO almost went further behind in the sixty third minute when another fast attack by AZ saw Substitute Kolbeinn Sigthorsson play a defence splitting ball to Martens who yet again struck the ball beautifully, beating the reach of Coutinho for him only to his shot hit the post and out of danger.

It was not until the final ten minutes that ADO really began to apply any real pressure on the visitors. There were two penalty shouts by the home side. Firstly Immers went down as he ran in to the penalty area. I have seen these decisions given many times, actually more often than not, but the referee Bas Nijhuis waved the appeals away. The second penalty claim was by Bulykin. He was obviously looking for the spot kick to be awarded and fell too easily under little or no pressure from the AZ defence. A claim that even saw the AZ players smile and give Bulykin a pat on the head for his efforts. No one else really made a strong claim for the kick to be given.

In the final minutes Kubik kept harassing the AZ’s Niklas Moisander, so much so that the defender reacted to a nudge off the ball; both players received yellow cards for a stand off of a few pushes. It showed that AZ was now starting to worry about their lead, even though there was only a few minutes remaining.

The final whistle blew and the crows seemed to accept the defeat well. It was just one of those days for ADO. Nothing was going to go right for them and it seemed everybody in the stadium knew that. It could have been a bigger defeat, so 0-2 was a fair enough result as sad as that is to say.

ADO man of the match: Dmitry Bulykin; was wanting the ball so much that when ADO had no plan B, he was dropping back in to midfield to get the ball. Second half if he was supported by Verhoek, I am sure ADO would have got at least a point, as his one touch lay offs were superb, but no team mate was willing to take a risk. Bulykin outstanding, ADO, Not!

Attendance: 11,732

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