ADO just miss out on a play-off spot
Sunday afternoon saw ADO Den Haag travel to PEC Zwolle for the final match of the season. A win for the visitors and results in other games involving Heerenveen and FC Groningen going there way could see ADO in the Europa league play-off games. A win was vital to have any chance, and after the performance last weekend against Feyenoord there was no reason to see why ADO could not fulfil their part of the equation.
The truth was that they were destined not to grab that play-off spot despite the teams around them losing. A mixture of bad refereeing decisions, rushes of blood to the head condemned ADO to miss out at the last hurdle.
Around two hundred and fifty ADO fans travelled to the stadium and sang their heads off for the entire game, even when things were looking gloomy for them They backed the team and it was nice to hear them chanting the managers name, something this season he has surely deserved.
The first half saw chances from both sides going close; Santi Kolk being ADO’s main threat, his best performance for ADO yet. It was in the twentieth minute when the hosts took the lead. One moment it looked as though ADO should have had a penalty, but the please were ignored by the referee. The ball moved up field and after Coutinho made a good save from Mustafa Saymak the rebound fell nicely for Fred Benson to slot the ball home, 1-0.
The game remained open with plenty of space for both sides to move into, again there were more chances but at the break the score remained 1-0. New was coming in that the two clubs ADO needed to lose were indeed losing and if they could get two second half goals and win, a play-off spot beckoned.
Ten minutes into the second half and Benson grabbed his and Zwolle’s second goal. He had plenty of space inside the area when the ball was played into him, allowing him time to pick his spot and beat Coutinho with ease, 2-0.
On the hour ADO’s dream of a play-off position took a hammer blow when the red mist descended onto the shoulders of Charlton Vicento who just ploughed through the back of Rochdi Achenteh, leaving him in a heap, the referee, Vink immediately produced a red card, leaving ADO with ten men and a mountain to climb.
Unbelievably once down to ten men, ADO picked up and pulled a goal back thanks to some neat woth by Kolk inside the box after a free kick, hope returned and the noise all around the stadium increased in volume, 2-1.
The goal was soon forgotten as just ninety seconds later PEC made it 3-1: Another simple move allowing Saymak to put the ball into the back of the net.
The eighty fifth minute saw ADO’s hopes rise again as the much maligned striker Poepon managed to find the back of the net for only the third time this season, 3-2.
This time the lead lasted even shorter, from the kick-off Zwolle just moved up a gear, went through ADO until it was left to Youness Mokhtar to finish the game off well and truly, 4-2.
At the final whistle the ADO fans were still cheering the players and having their own little party in the corner of the stadium, the players and manager went over to acknowledge the great support, not only from that game but for the whole season. In the press conference directly after the game Maurice Steijn simply said “I am proud of this club.” And from the tone in his voice you could tell that the sentiment had come from his heart.
So the season is now over and ADO finished in ninth place, a position they would have snatched your hand off for at the start of the campaign: Now to move on and prepare for season 2013-2014, sure to be another roller coaster ride at ADO Den Haag.
Man of the Match: Gino Coutinho, without his skills it could have been easily 7 or 8-0.