ADO thrashed, but safe.
This was not the game you would choose to play when you were desperate for survival points, yet footballing miracles do happen as ADO proved last season when they came away from the Philips Stadion with all three points. The fans and staff were hoping for a similar outcome. The good thing about this game was it could prove immaterial to ADO as Venlo, a team that could go above them had the even harder task of playing away at Ajax, a game the whole country expected the Amsterdammers to win; if they did, ADO would be safe no matter what, but shocks happen and ADO needed to go for the points.
The game started brightly for PSV, but ADO were coping well defensively and were even able to make the occasional counter attack; both Chery and Vicento were working hard trying to pull the midfield together and stem the tide of PSV pressure by surging forward at every possible opportunity.
ADO eventually succumbed to the PSV attacks and on another day Ola Toivonen could have got him self a hat-trick in the first twenty minutes. PSV got their break through in the twenty second minute when Dries Mertens took two attempts to cross the ball into the penalty box, when he did, the ball fell to Jeremain Lens who twisted N’Toko inside and out before beating Coutinho by his near post, 1-0.
In the thirty eighth minute Toivonen got the goal he had been working for, a cross in from the right by Atiba Hutchinson saw the forward stoop down to head the ball into the back of the net, 2-0.
Half-time arrived and not a moment too soon, as PSV had begun to overwhelm the ADO midfield and they certainly were not able to deal with Lens, who was proving to be a real hand full.
Four minutes into the second half, the referee decided to take the players of the pitch due to heavy torrential rain that was accompanied by thunder and lightning and may put the players in danger. The fifteen minutes passed quickly as the crowd amused themselves with a Mexican wave and singing some rain related songs, all good fun.
When the teams returned to the pitch ADO had lost any sense of urgency and purpose, it hurts to say that, but ADO just completely folded in front of the PSV midfield and forwards. .
Sixty two minutes played and PSV extended their lead. Lens raced down the right wing before crossing the ball into an empty penalty box were Toivonen arrived totally unmarked to slot the ball home passed Coutinho, 3-0.
Three minutes later and again Lens was ADO’s chief tormentor, he received the ball on the right hand side of the penalty area and clipped the ball to the far side where Zakaria Labyad was waiting, unmarked by a non-existent ADO defence. Labyad had time to look up and pick his spot, curling the ball high into the far corner over Coutinho’s head, 4-0.
With two minutes remaining ADO defence went AWOL again. And again they were punished. From a corner the ball eventually found Mertens who was allowed to turn and strike a rocket of a shot low into the far corner, 5-0.
During all the goals, Coutinho also managed to pull off a string of fine saves that prevented the score line becoming embarrassing.
Could it get any worse? Oh yes it could. In the ninetieth minutes Visser slid into a tackle on Mertens, it did not look too bad. It has to be pointed out that Mertens and other PSV players pleaded with the referee not to do anything about the tackle, but the referee ignored this and showed Visser a straight red card. Two minutes later and the game was over.
There is however some good news! Ajax beat VVV Venlo which meant that even after a poor performance like tonight, ADO Den Haag could celebrate staying in the top division for another season.
ADO is definitely ending the season with a whimper and not a bang. Performances have been lack lustred and full of apathy from most of the players. There looks to be no harmony in the camp right now, thankfully there is only match remaining and after that I believe Maurice Steijn is going to have to really sit down with his team and find out who exactly wants to play for ADO Den Haag, as some have been looking like they do not want to be there.
Attendance: 33, 000
ADO Man of the Match: Gino Coutinho, without his strong performance, it could have been double figures for PSV.