ADO bow out of Europe.
ADO Den Haag had it all to do as they walked out on to the pitch. They knew nothing less than a win by four clear goals would get them through this round of the Europa League. Another way forward would be a 3-0 win after the ninety minutes which would see extra-time and maybe penalties, something ADO have fond memories of after last season’s play-off final against FC Groningen.
ADO was able to field what Maurice Steijn believes is his strongest starting eleven. Alas these players could not pull off the task asked of them. It was not for the want of trying. ADO completely dominated the attacking possession throughout the entire game. All that ADO was missing was the vital European experience that their opponents had gained over recent years.
The Cypriot team knew exactly how to waste time from the first kick of the game. They took everything at a slow pace, argued over every decision and if any ADO player went in with any kind of tackle they went down as though they had been hit with a sledge hammer. You can not blame the players for that tactic, as it is used by all teams in two-legged competition knock out games.
If ADO only had that extra bit of European footballing nous they would have been better able to cope with Omonia’s tactics. In the first half ADO went close as first Verhoek scuffed an easy opening that seemed easier to score than miss. Later Toornstra hit a rocket of a long range shot, which beat the opposing keeper with ease but unfortunately for ADO the effort smashed against the bar.
The second half was similar to the first, ADO in control of the midfield as Omonia packed their defensive ranks. I the fifty forth minute Derijck headed the home side into a richly deserved lead. The ball nodded across the line, some how avoiding the goalkeepers and defenders efforts to block it.
The volume of noise in the stadium grew ever louder as the game progressed. Omonia’s players getting worse with their time wasting which infuriated the crowd and was then also getting to the ADO players. The football began to lose shape as the minutes counted down. ADO was playing panic football as they knew two more goals were needed just to force extra time. Passing became disjointed and the normally ever so reliable Verhoek out on the wing was just sending in hopeful crosses into the penalty box when nobody was there to get onto the cross.
Opportunities were created, but not great clear cut chances, Immers and Vicento going close, the latter with an extraordinary use of his neck muscles to get his head to the ball which sent a header just wide from distance.
The final whistle blew and the home support cheered loudly, the European adventure may now be over, but the fans loved the experience and showed their gratitude with a great ovation for the players and staff.
Now that Europe is a memory, what now for ADO and their star players who are wanted by other so-called bigger clubs? I hope I am wrong but I think Verhoek and Immers will now leave, which would be a huge loss to the club. I also believe that if this happens, the money gained would fund the return of Dmitry Bulykin, who once again was at the match sitting in the stands. He is one player ADO desperately requires, an out and out goal scorer!
ADO man of the Match; Timothy Derijck, goal scorer and a real motivational performance
Other news from inside the ADO camp; Yesterday they have announced their new main sponsor. They are “HealthCity” the largest fitness group in Europe and in the Netherlands have two divisions; HealthCity and Basic-Fit.
The new black ADO Den Hag away shirt has sold out yet again within hours of going on sale. Looks the money is rolling into our local club, things off the field looking great.