ADO v FC Groningen

ADO demolish FC Groningen in Play-off final 1st leg.

The major news for the ADO team was that Bulykin would be missing after last Thursdays sending off. The other bad news was that Charlton Vicento would now not be available for either of the final games due to sustaining a hamstring injury in training. This final run-in to European football is not been at all lucky to ADO. Well it is a squad game, so it will show just how strong the depth of the ADO team is.

For any extra encouragement to play their hearts out, ADO players just have to go back a few weeks when FC Groningen out played a very inept ADO team in the final home league game of the season, beating ADO 2-4. So to clear that memory from their minds and to have a golden opportunity to play Europa League football next season, ADO needed to be on top of their game.

The following ninety minutes were absolutely unbelievable if you were an ADO supporter. The home side totally demolished what looked to be a very strong FC Groningen team. The opening period saw ADO go close within a few minutes, only then to see FC Groningen start to get the upper hand. The visitors looked sharper and stronger and more up for a battle. They forced ADO on to the back foot and looked as though they were just going to pressurize that ADO midfield into submission.

Luckily for ADO and unluckily for Groningen, heavy rain began to pour down and the sky blackened and yet the floodlights were not on. Just after the ninth minute, the referee, Pieter Vink blew his whistle and took the players off the pitch until the technical problems with the lights were sorted. The game was held up for almost ten minutes and when it restarted, ADO looked a completely different team. Whatever John van den Brom had said in the dressing room during the enforced break changed the way ADO approached the game. The break was a true blessing in disguise for ADO!

It was in the twentieth minute that ADO got the break through. ADO moved through the centre of the Groningen midfield with some precise passing, the final ball from Radosavljevic to Toornstra had to be the pass of the season in Dutch football, it sliced open the Groningen defence and found Toornstra with enough time to pick his spot and to place the ball calmly lift the ball over Luciano Da Silva into the back of the net, 1-0.

The rest of the half ADO was the dominant side and in the treacherous weather conditions managed to keep their feet better and play some good controlled football. FC Groningen were a shadow of the side that easily beat ADO just a few weeks earlier.

The second half began brightly for Groningen; in the second minute of the period they almost claimed an equalizer. Leandro Bacuna worked himself some space inside the ADO penalty area and saw a fierce shot rebound of the right hand post.

This early threat in the half motivated ADO into a more attacking force and they began to pile on the pressure harder and harder. The team ethic was magnificent, as the game progressed, the more ADO gelled as a solid force on the attack. Every player was bursting a lung to fight for every lose ball, they were winning nearly all of the 50/50 balls all over the pitch. The tackles were going in hard, yet clean, ADO was really clicking as a unit. The crowd loved it and the noise increased by the minute.

In the fifty second minute ADO got the breathing space in the tie that they were looking for. Good work from Kubik saw him deliver a pass to Immers. Immers shot hard from distance forcing the keeper into a good save, but instead of pushing the ball away to the side, the ball was pushed forward, the only player to react with pace was Toornstra who ran in and buried the ball into the net for his and ADO’s second, 2-0.

Just after the hour mark a sense of déjà vu hit the stadium. FC Groningen pulled a goal back. From a corner on the right, Jonas Ivens rose easily above the ADO defence and planted his header firmly into the ADO goal; Coutinho stood no chance from the perfectly executed effort, 2-1.

People minds went back to a week earlier when ADO ended up conceding two away goals and again it looked like ADO were about to self-destruct for a moment. However, tis time conceding the goal gave ADO a huge boost and then put on an attacking display the likes of which I have not seen for many years. Groningen just could live with the force and repetitive attacks that were thrown at them

Sixty seven minutes played and ADO got back their two goal advantage. Immers collecting the ball on the edge of the area and doing some nimble footwork to get some space for himself to fire in a shot that beat the keeper and nestled into the bottom corner of the net. The scenes of jubilation were amazing as Immers ran straight across the pitch into the arms of his manager; the Kyocera Stadion was now rocking, superb atmosphere, 3-1.

Toornstra then hit his hat-trick goal, a real poacher’s effort. A shot from Immers was parried by Da Silva and again it was Toornstra who was quickest to react, sliding in and forcing the ball into the goal, the stadium was now literally shaking, 4-1.

Everybody in the stadium I think was now expecting to see ADO just sit back and waste the final minutes of the game, but they were in such a rampant mood that they just kept on piling forward. This effort paid of again and put both players and fans into total dreamland. Eighty three minutes gone and Leeuwin had the ball some twenty five metres away from goal. The defence opened up and he sent in a speculative shot that was hit well enough but not with too much venom, yet Da Silva miss-judged the ball, maybe it swerved in the air, but poor Da Silva just saw the ball hit his arm and deflect right into the middle of his goal, his nightmare was now complete, 5-1.

The final whistle blew and the stadium went crazy, the entire ADO management team were dancing with joy, the fans hailed their team and the team responded diving face first into the water soaked pitch to accept their adulation. This truly was a great night for ADO, byu far the best I have ever seen them play.

Now it is on to one last game. This Sunday at 12.30, ADO travel to FC Groningen’s impressive Euroborg Stadion to try and finish the job off. Having a four goal advantage makes it sound like a simple job to do, but FC Groningen will be like a wounded animal and out for revenge after such a beating; should be a great game.

ADO man of the match: Very hard to pick one individual from the nights display, so the only option is to give it to the Ht-trick hero Jens Toornstra for obvious reasons.

Attendance; 12,564

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