ADO v NAC Breda
This week it has been announced by UEFA that due to three Dutch teams reaching the last sixteen in the Europa League, they are rewarding the KNVB (The Dutch Football Association) with an extra spot in that tournament. This means the team in sixth position at the end of the season will qualify for European football. This is great news for ADO Den Haag as they are currently in fifth place.
After losing their 100% start to the 2011 fixtures last weekend, ADO were keen not to slip up away at the financially struggling NAC Breda. ADO made three changes to their preferred starting eleven. Kubik and Radosavljevic out through injury and Pique who was left on the bench. Into the side came Visser, Kum and Vicento. On paper they still had the stronger team.
A miserable damp night in which to watch and play football in the Rat Verlegh Stadion, yet despite the conditions an almost sell out crowd turned out to watch what proved to be a very exciting match.
From the start it was NAC who looked to take the game to the visitors. The instant pressure got its reward in the third minute when NAC were awarded a free kick wide on the right hand side of the field. Robert Schilder floated the ball into the penalty area and nobody reacted. Robert Penders stretched out a leg and although no contact was made, it distracted Coutinho and the ball just went straight into the net untouched, great start for the home side and disastrous defending by ADO, 1-0.
Bulykin was getting a tough ride from the NAC defence and midfield players, constantly fouled, NAC obviously knowing who the ADO danger is. After yet another foul on the Russian in the fourteenth minute, a free kick was played deep into the box where Derijck flung himself at the ball and made good contact, only a great diving save from Jelle Ten Rouwelaar prevented a goal.
In the twenty-third minute Verhoek chased a ball down the left side of the pitch. Two NAC defenders were in attendance but they both stood off him, allowing him time to get the ball onto his right foot to make a cross into the danger area. The ball was struck firmly enough but there seemed no harm in it, yet as with the first goal of the game, nobody reacted and the ball some how squeezed just inside the far post. Verhoek’s celebration was one of shock more than delight, 1-1.
Ten minutes later ADO increasingly get the upper hand in the match; constantly driving forward causing NAC to defend deep in their own half. Verhoek dinks the ball into the area where it is cleared; yet again the ball comes out to Verhoek who this time skips passed a defender before crossing the ball across the box. With Bulykin lurking at the far post, the unfortunate Gabor Horvath mistimed his interception and puts the ball into the back of his own net, 1-2.
Almost straight from the kick off NAC went charging forward. Matthew Amoah hit a long hard drive from distance and only a wonderful low diving save by Coutinho prevented an instant equaliser from the home side.
At half-time ADO must have been the happier of the two teams: A half with three bizarre goals; goals that in any other game would never ever have happened.
NAC caught ADO cold straight from the restart, a fast move down the right saw Csabe Feher and Donny Gorter combine well. Feher got the ball back and crossed it in from the left goal-line. The ball directed to the penalty spot as Schilder went racing in to hit it first time, bang, into the net, no hope for Coutinho, Great move, great finish; 2-2.
ADO began to apply pressure on the NAC defence, gaining several free kicks and corners. In the fifty-first minute a corner on the right was met with a powerful solid header by Kum, only a super reflex save from Rouwelaar prevented ADO taking the lead. ADO apply more pressure from the resulting corner kick. The ball is headed out only to be lobbed back into the box. As the ball comes down, Kum who had been booked earlier for reasons known only to him, just hipped barged a clear space for himself. The referee blew for a foul, it was a nothing challenge, not one to warrant a yellow card. However the referee decided it was worth a second yellow and then showed the red. The ADO team and bench went ballistic over the decision, but the official turned a deaf ear to all the protestations.
After Kum had left the field of play, it seemed to me that the whole ADO team lost their heads. Some of the aggressive tackles were uncalled for and at one point I was expecting to see another red card brandished by the referee. The ADO players were riled and it showed as their passing dropped a level or two, running arguments between rival players and the constant bickering to the match officials took ADO out of their stride and this allowed NAC to break forward on an ever increasing basis.
In the sixty-first minute NAC scored what proved to be the winning goal; and another oddball goal it was too. A hopeful ball was played into the ADO box and Derijck headed the ball calmly away to Leeuwin; as Leeuwin turned to smash the ball far up field, Feher chased him down and as Leeuwin connected with the ball, it cannoned off Feher’s leg and like a rocket went straight into the back of the ADO goal, amazing scenes around the stadium as the home team celebrated the freaky goal, 3-2.
Four minutes later and Leeuwin almost got a goal back. A corner on the left comes over the penalty avoiding everybody. Leeuwin at the back post stretches out a foot and only a headed intervention by Anthony Lurling on the line deprived him of an equalizing goal.
Eighty minutes played when NAC should have really killed ADO off. Amoah broke the ADO defence and had only Coutinho to beat, but he hit his shot wrong and the slice sent the ball crashing onto the upright. His face told the story.
ADO tried hard to grab their share of the points, but it wasn’t to be. The NAC defence stood up well to a final onslaught. ADO pressed right up until the referee blew his whistle in the ninety third minute. The stadium was rocking as the ADO management team remonstrated with the match officials, clearly upset by some decisions that went against them. So ADO lose their first game of 2011, yet despite this result, they now still stand in a Europa League qualifying spot!
ADO man of the match: Verhoek; the guy lives and breaths ADO football club, and again his performance showed off his never say die attitude.