The game kicked off at a strange time today, ADO Den Haag took on Vitesse Arnhem in the Kyocera at 15.30. Why? The reason was because the Dutch football association, the KNVB decided that this was the only reasonable time to play ADO’s postponed match from two weeks ago due to a waterlogged pitch. Because the game was on the same day as a Champions League day, UEFA rules state that any other games played on CL days must finish at least two hours before any CL kick-off.
The pitch that had been the centre of much criticism of late again looked the worse for wear, looking like a ploughed field. A lot of the players were having difficulty in keeping their feet and pushing off from a standing start, causing a few errors that could have proved costly.
ADO were a different team than the one who left the pitch in Rotterdam last Sunday. They gave a performance that was full of pride, spirit and fight. The players worked for each other, there was a cohesion that has not been seen before this season from ADO.
ADO took a well deserved lead in the seventh minute. Mathias Gerht played the ball down the right to Malone who had a lot of space to exploit. His cross into the box found Michiel Kramer with space and he stuck out his right foot to turn the ball into the net, 1-0.
In the twenty first minute Vitesse almost got back level, a shot from Mike Havenaar beats Coutinho but hits the post, Dion Malone was first to react and clear the ball away to safety.
ADO had more of the ball and used it well, for once not so many wasted balls in the midfield. The introduction of Gehrt, Ninos Gouriye and Kramer into the starting line-up proved a wise move by Maurice Steijn. These players were hungry and drove the home side forward.
In the thirty third minute Gino Coutinho pulled off a great save to prevent Davy Pröpper scoring, the rebound fell to Lucas Piazón who could only put the ball wide.
ADO went in at half-time with the loud applause and cheers from their fans ringing in their ears. At kick=off the crowd was small, by the break that crowd had doubled inside as workers made their way to the stadium.
ADO were again the stronger of the two sides in the opening twenty minutes of the second half. Mike van Duinen, Roland Alberg and Kramer causing many problems from the visitors from Arnhem.
In the sixty fifth minute and against the run of play Vitesse drew level. ADO could not deal with a ball dropped into the area, a weak clearance did not help and when the ball fell to Pröpper, he smashed his half-volley fiercely into the back of the net from inside the D, giving Coutinho no chance, 1-1.
ADO were back in front soon after, in the seventy first minute, a free-kick by Gianni Zuiverloon was headed back by Kramer to the waiting Gehrt. There was no hesitation as he rifled home a looping effort from twenty five meters out, leaving Piet Velthuizen in the Vitesse goal clutching at thin air, an amazing strike, 2-1.
.During the closing stages Vitesse pressed for an equalizer, but it wasn’t to be. The chances they had were mostly from long range and wide, nothing of note to really trouble Coutinho. The final whistle blew and the fans were really happy with the performance, and from seeing Steijn’s reaction, he was more than satisfied too. Great to see some smiling faces i the Kyocera stadium.
ADO man of the match: Mathias Gehrt